If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that dogs will chew on just about everything; furniture, food, and just about anything they find outdoors. This is especially true of puppies. When dogs are young, they're incredibly curious little beasts, which makes sense. After all, they're learning all about the world around them. With all that chewing, it's essential to look after their teeth. They can suffer from painful problems like tooth loss and infections in later life. And just like people, you can brush puppy teeth too! If you're wondering how to get started, here's our guide on how to brush puppy teeth.
Prepare your puppy
Unfortunately, you can't just explain to a puppy why you're sticking a toothbrush in their mouth. Start small, and build-up to the brush. Start by touching your puppy's mouth, around the muzzle. Then, try putting something tasty on your finger, like meaty soup or broth, and letting them lick it off. Gently touch your puppy's gums and teeth while they're lapping up the treat. In fact, if they start to associate you touching their teeth with treat time, it puts you in good stead for a teeth-brushing future!
In fact, throughout this entire process, from prep to brush, make sure the experience is a happy one for your puppy. A positive atmosphere will do wonders for their attitude and mood towards brushing, now and throughout their life. Praise them and reward them. We're sure you're doing that anyway, but be extra positive when getting your puppy used to something new.
Get them used to the feel of brushing
Now that your puppy is happy with having things in their mouth, you need to get them used to the texture of a brush, as it's considerably different to your finger! Get something course, but nothing that will cause discomfort or damage. A thin bandage or gauze will do the trick. Wrap it around your finger and, like earlier, dip it in a tasty treat. Then, gently massage their gums with your finger while they lick the treat off. Repeat this process a few times until you're happy that they're comfortable.
Now include the brush
The next step is to swap out your finger for a brush. There are different types of brushes you can try. To move more smoothly from using your finger, you could try a finger brush. They sit snuggly on your index finger and act as a brushing extension. They can be easier to use if your puppy isn't comfortable keeping their mouth open, and let you reach harder to reach areas with less hassle. Alternatively, you could try a standard brush that looks much like our toothbrushes. Or, if your pup is particularly fussy, there are brush ticks. These act like chew toys that release toothpaste when they chew down on them.
Either way, add the liquidy treat from before to your toothbrush of choice and let them lick it off. This way, they'll get used to the texture of the brush. You can then start to massage it against your puppy's teeth and gums. Next stop - toothpaste!
Find a toothpaste for your puppy
You might not know this, but human toothpaste isn't dog-friendly. They contain fluoride which, while beneficial for our teeth, can upset your puppies tummy. Instead, look for a dog-friendly toothpaste. They're usually meat-flavoured, which is perfect for them!
Try Denti-Care Toothpaste. It's suitable for dogs of all ages and sizes, and its all-natural blend of ingredients is perfect for healthy teeth and gums. It's delicious too. Well, at least for dogs. It's 100% edible and kind to their digestive system.
Give them a little taste to get used to it. Put some on your brush of choice and let them at it.
Brush your puppy's teeth
Now it's time to start brushing your puppy's teeth! Add some toothpaste to your brush, and start by gently brushing one or two of their upper front teeth. Then add a third, and eventually as many as the brush can touch at once. Slow and steady wins the race, and be gentle the entire time. Just like our teeth, being too hard will do damage to the teeth and gums, and be uncomfortable for your little pup too.
Don't forget the teeth at the back, either! They can be the toughest to reach, as they're the furthest away from the front. Hold your puppy's lips back to expose them, and brush away. These teeth tend to get the biggest build-up of nasty plaque, so you need to give them the attention they deserve.
And that's it; you're done! Congratulations, you're now a bonafide puppy toothbrushing extraordinaire! Now you know how to brush puppy teeth, however, you still need to book regular vet dental checkups. You can't always spot teeth-related issues yourself, and it's worth getting a professional opinion so you can keep track of their teeth and gum health.