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Dog Toothbrushing 101: What Supplies Do I Need?

Posted by Awesome Doggies

February is Pet Dental Health Month, and in honor of that fact, this article is the first in a series on doggie toothbrushing, a subject we feel strongly about at Awesome Doggies. Brushing your dog’s teeth shouldn't feel like a heavy burden or dreaded chore. Instead it should be viewed as bonding time you both look forward to. Although at first it may seem like a daunting task, you can be at ease knowing that with a little persistence on your part, your dog's mouth will be cleaner & healthier. But before getting started with this daily routine, you first need to gather a few teeth cleaning materials. This step is fairly simple: you need doggie toothpaste, and something to apply it with.

Toothpaste for Dogs

Although this may seem a little obvious, you'd be surprised how many people think it's okay to use human toothpaste on their dogs. It’s not. This can do major damage to your pup's stomach, so it’s important to use a toothpaste specially formulated for dogs. There are lots of choices out there. At this point, don’t stress about it, just find something that is intended for use on dogs, in a flavor that appeals to your pup.  

Alternately, if you'd prefer to make your own doggie toothpaste, it's simple and easy -- and oh, so economical. Just follow the instructions in this short video made by Dr. Katie Orr, an Indianapolis dentist who is clearly a pet lover:  


Dog Toothbrushes, Pads, and Sponges 

When it comes to getting the toothpaste on the dog’s teeth, there are more options than you might expect. When looking at the alternatives, take into consideration the specific needs of your dog, based on the dog's mouth size, the healthiness and sensitivity of your dog's gums and teeth, and your own ability to deal with this whole toothbrushing thing.  Applicators run the gamut from toothbrushes to sponges and pads, and come in a wide array of shapes, sizes, and styles. As Dr. Katie says, you can even use a towel or soft cloth -- you just need some kind of applicator to rub the toothpaste on your dog's teeth.


Toothbrushes that are made for dogs are somewhat smaller, softer, and have a unique shape to them, compared to what you  probably use on yourself. Some toothbrushes will be just big enough to wrap your finger around, or fit on a fingertip, which makes it easier to reach around inside the dog's mouth and give a more thorough clean. For dogs with smaller mouths or more sensitive teeth, consider dental sponges or pads, which allow for a greater flexibility. Dental sponges have small handles attached to the sponge, which are detachable and disposable.

Stay tuned for next week's post, when we cover how to approach the sometimes-daunting task of introducing your dog to the wonderful world of dental hygiene. You can do this!



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