It comes at no surprise to anyone that knows me (and my passion for dentistry) that I make sure my dog has good oral care and dental hygiene. Having a dog (or any pet) with bad breath is not only gross (hello, kisses!) and a result of bad dental hygiene but it can also indicate other important problems with your pet’s health. Hiding pain and illness are survival instincts animals in the wild have and your pet is no different no matter how domesticated they may be! I always keep an eye on Freddy’s eating habits and behaviors and have learned how to recognize the difference between normal changes in mood and red flags. All pet owners should learn this as it is not always easy to determine —  when you think your pet is just persistently grumpy, they may actually just be in pain. If you notice new irritability, shying away from being touched (especially on the face or around the mouth/throat), lethargy, loss of appetite or difficulty eating, know that these are all behavioral signs which may indicate illness.

Furthermore, if you notice any of these physical changes, call your vet:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums, especially when eating or when having teeth brushed
  • Swelling around the mouth
  • Oral abscesses
  • Abnormal chewing
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Discolored teeth
  • Crusted build up at the edge of the gums
  • Persistent bad or fetid breath
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weight loss

I highly recommend brushing your dogs teeth with the little finger rubber piece (pictured above and linked below) when your dog is just a pup. Basically, just let your dog lick the toothpaste off of it and just let them get used to having something in their mouth administered by you!

I still let Freddy lick the toothpaste off the brush when we start (as a treat) before I reload and brush all his pearls. We finish with him getting another lick of the paste with no brushing. Once a month, I actually scale his teeth to remove plaque and tartar above the gum line. This is something your vet can do for you! I happen to know how to properly do this because I worked as a dental assistant for 7 years. 

I’ve linked up to the products I use for Freddy: His favorite paste flavors are poultry and beef.


Please make an appointment with your vet to take care of oral hygiene for your pet if you do not know how to. Ask them to teach you how to properly perform at home oral care too.  Just remember, preventing oral infections and disease will help your pet live a longer, healthier life. It may be rare, but dental issues that keep progressing can become larger internal issues, such as dysfunction or disease in the heart, kidneys, liver, or lungs. True for humans too SO make your dog an oral hygiene appointment and make yourself one too! Take care of those gums.

Freddy was even apart of a world record attempt for the most dogs getting their teeth brushed in one place. Here is an article about it that mentions me and Fred 🙂

I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions! Thanks for reading 🙂

1 comment on “Why (& how) I brush my dog’s teeth”

  1. Hi ya!

    Is it okay if I use one of those toddler tooth brush?
    I’ve been told that those are actually the ones I should be using but at the same time, not sure how well they will perform.
    What is Freddy’s breed? He’s such a cutie 😍

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