Should I brush my dog’s teeth?

I do not brush my dog’s teeth. Does that make me a bad pet owner? I don’t know.

I am borderline obsessive about my dog, but I have never considered brushing his teeth until a few days ago when a friend of mine told me how bad her dog’s teeth had gotten.

I used to brush my old golden retriever’s teeth once a week or so, but I haven’t done the same with Ace. I figure his diet of raw food helps clean the plaque from his teeth. He also chews on various raw bones, and the only time he gets “human food” is if I give him healthy table scraps such as meat or veggies.

Some vets recommend dog owners brush their dogs’ teeth at least twice a week. My friend’s 4-year-old dog has receding gum lines and has to have her teeth cleaned by a vet so the condition won’t worsen. This procedure involves putting the dog under and is not cheap. Like Ace, this dog only eats dry dog food. My friend also does not brush her dog’s teeth, but she probably will now!

As for Ace, I plan on buying him a toothbrush and paste sometime soon. Brushing Ace’s teeth would be a good idea to keep his teeth healthy and to prevent gum disease and future expensive veterinarian bills. You can also try these alternatives to brushing.

If you are worried about your dog’s teeth, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your vet. Signs of trouble are if the dog has worse breath than normal or if she seems to have difficulty or pain while chewing. Make a habit of looking at your dog’s teeth and gums every now and then. Ace still has nice, white teeth. But he is only 2.

A vet can clean your dog’s teeth to prevent future problems. Some groomers will brush your dog’s teeth if you request it, but you can also brush the dog’s teeth yourself. Make sure to use a toothbrush and paste designed for dogs. The paste comes in flavors like beef and chicken and is nontoxic. The appealing flavor to the dog will make brushing her teeth a positive experience.

Check back soon for tips on brushing your dog’s teeth.

So how many of you actually brush your dogs’ teeth?

20 thoughts on “Should I brush my dog’s teeth?”

  1. I don’t brush my dogs’ teeth either. With six dogs, it’s hard enough to keep up with nail trimming. :p

    Also, a raw diet is actually better for teeth than kibble. Not only chewing the bones, but the enzymes in the raw meat clean the teeth quite well.

    In the end, a lot of it is genetics. Some of my dogs have never had their teeth cleaned. Some of them need a regular cleaning. The vet tells me it’s just how they are.

  2. The only person I have ever known to actually brush their dog’s teeth was a dental surgeon’s son. Personally, I give Gus bones and chews for that purpose but I definitely keep up with his oral health.

  3. Even though we have a toothbrush and paste for him, Biggie gets his teeth cleaned from his raw diet. We definitely notice a change when he’s eaten kibble in the past.

    We check his teeth often. If he didn’t eat raw, we’d brush.

  4. My obedience trainer recommended it and even did part of a class on desensitizing them to it and why its necessary. I haven’t tried actual brushing yet, just massaging her gums. Lucy’s only 6 months, so I figure it’ll be easier to start now than have the vet tell me we have to do it when she’s older.

  5. Pickles likes getting her teeth brushed. The little brush fits over my finger. I use a bit of baking soda or just plain water.

  6. I have never considered brushing Keeda’s teeth until now! She is also just over 2 years old and her teeth are still nice and white. Maybe I should invest in a toothbrush as well.

  7. We don’t brush our dogs teeth but they have access to bones a lot of the time which keeps their teeth in great condition. Our previous dog couldn’t get on with bones though and we never really thought about brushing his teeth, until it was too late. It cost a fortune for him to have some dental work. His breath got really bad.
    I would really recommend it for anyone who doesn’t give their dogs bones ona regular basis.

  8. I have a 3-yr old female labrador and only last week bought a mouthspray for her. (Dog-a-dent). it’s easy to use and takes care of the dogs teeth. It has oils etc in it that remove any plaque. Only need to use it once a week, and because of the strong flavour, the dog will continue licking its teeth afterwards for a thorough clean! (should have seen her face though, when I used it for the first time!! LOL)

  9. Yes, I asked my vet and she also said I should brush Amigo’s teeth twice a week. I bought a special brush and a toothpaste that tastes like chicken! I still haven’t made a habit of it and keep forgetting.

  10. I think you should brush pet’s teeth to keep them clean and healthy. And I also think that you should brush pet often to reduce their shedding. If you have a good pet brush or pet grooming supplies it will help a lot.

  11. I have 17 years experience at looking at all kinds of pups from tail to gums. My doctorly response to not brushing a dogs teeth is ” It’s okay sometimes it can be difficult to get them to open their mouth and stick a brush in there and I will not deny that it can be difficult to keep good terms with them if they think your mean. I’ve been biten before it is not fun. I had a lab come in a while back and his owner brushed his teeth twice a week and this lab was fed a raw meat diet.
    2 years later this lab had a very serious staff infection in it’s lower gums underneeth of his jaw bone. I took an Xray and it was a bone fragment from a meal. I had to remove it a course by sudation. You might think your dog likes it (Which they do most likely) but you wouldnt let your puppy run on a lake of ice so why would you let him chew on needles. I would say it’s okay to give them bones that are thicker but don’t give them anything with sharp bones in it. Try ribs or keel dont give them legs.
    Also milkbones and greenies work wonders for gums and teeth. Your really should try to brush them if you can though. Oh and you don’t NEED dog toothpaste, you can use any tooth paste that wount hurt them if they swallow it like childern toothpaste but they really go for the liver taste ;). Good luck

  12. Lindsay Stordahl

    Yes, you do have to be careful about small, sharp bones.

    As for toothpaste, the reason not to give dogs regular human toothpaste is because they will swallow it. The reason people and dogs should not swallow toothpaste is because of the fluoride. Children’s toothpaste is fine because it does not have fluoride in it.

  13. I brush my dogs teeth all the time. It honestly takes about one minute each. What I do is after supper I get them in the bathroom and brush their teeth and they love it. All of my other dogs have died because of dental problems and I intend to stop it this time. They also love chewing on nylabones and raw hides. Trust me, it is totally worth it to brush your dogs teeth. The bones cant get into every crevice that a tooth brush can. Also never give your dogs cooked bones(bones from ribs, steak, etc). Many people think these are good for dogs, but in fact they are awful. They can splinter and get stuck in your dogs gums, throwt, or even intestine and you will be making an emergency trip to the ER. Just avoid it all together. I highly recommend brushing your dogs teeth. I try do it ever day and ever dog I will have in my life is going to get its teeth brushed!

  14. Lindsay Stordahl

    Yeah I can’t argue with you that it is good to brush a dog’s teeth. And no one should give their dog cooked bones. Only raw bones are safe for dogs.

  15. I brush my labrador retriever’s teeth twice a week with doggie tooth paste and a brush that fits on my finger, he loves getting them brushed, he also has access to greenies and nylabones.

  16. You should bursh their teeth becaise they can get sick from Proper oral hygiene, American Veterinary Dental Society estimates over 80% of dogs over the age of 3 years old can devolpe Gum Disease. Lack of proper oral hygiene in dogs often leads to inflamed and infected gums, loose teeth, and even rotting tooth sockets. If you do end up brushing his teeth you really need to use Dog Toothpaste other wise when you use the type of toothpaste us human use they can’t just spit it out like us they will end up shallowing it and the ingredents in some toothpaste will end up hurting your pets kidneys.

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