Most pet owners don't take the time to clean their dog's teeth. The ones that do often think that it's fine to use human dental care products on their dogs. This is a big mistake! Learning how to pick the right dog toothbrush could be the difference between cleaning your dog's teeth and damaging his gums.
If you don't brush Fido's teeth, plaque and tartar will buildup. This will cause decay and could lead to severe pain for your pet. Not to mention, poor dental health will also make your dog's breath unbearably stinky!
Dental health won't just benefit the mouth; it benefits your dog's entire body. Learning how to pick the right dog toothbrush and using it regularly will help to keep your pooch in top physical health.
Do you know what the most common health condition found in adult dogs is? Periodontal disease! If you don't take care of your pet's dental hygiene, it could lead to serious health concerns, including:
- fistulas (holes leading from the oral cavity to the nasal passage)
- destruction to and loss of the gum tissue and bone around the teeth
- weakened jaw bone
- osteomyelitis (bone infection)
- bacteria entering the blood stream and damaging the heart, kidneys and liver
Once you learn how to pick the right dog toothbrush, you can check out the video at the bottom of this article that shows you how to brush a dog's teeth. For now, let's stick to the basics and learn how to choose the best tools for the job.
MORE VIDEO GUIDES: How-to Tips and Advice Videos for Dog Owners
How to Pick the Right Dog Toothbrush
There are two things you need to remember when learning how to pick the right dog toothbrush. (1) You need to select products made specifically for dogs, and (2) the size of your dog and your experience level will be the two factors that determine which dog toothbrush you should buy.
The right dog toothbrush will have an angled head. This is necessary to reach all the nooks and crannies in your pup's mouth. The shape of the jaw of a canine is much different than the shape of the jaw of a human.
If you try to use a toothbrush made for humans, it will leave plaque and tartar behind and may end up hurting your dog.
Toothbrushes that are made for dogs have very soft bristles that will be gentle on their teeth and gums. The bristles of a human brush may scratch your dog's gums causing pain and making him resent the act of brushing. This will only make it more difficult for you to brush his teeth on a regular basis.
Now you understand why it's important to choose a brush made for canines, but how do you know which one is the best option for your Fido? Well, this depends on your dog's size and your experience with brushing canine teeth.
If you're new to brushing, a finger brush is a great tool to begin with. These brushes, as you'll see in my video guide, slip right over your finger so you can easily see and feel what you're doing inside your pup's mouth. These are great for beginners, because you can get to know you dog's mouth and which areas may need extra attention.
You can also find traditional toothbrushes for dogs. These have a long shaft, like human toothbrushes, and a brush head on one or both ends.
Toothbrush for Small Dog Breeds
If you have a small breed dog, you can get away with purchasing a traditional toothbrush with just one head. Make sure that the head of the brush is appropriately sized for your dog's mouth. For example, a brush that would fit comfortably in the mouth of a Beagle wouldn't be very comfortable for a teacup Chihuahua.
Finger brushes also work well for small breeds, unless you have very large fingers. Regardless of which type of brush you pick, it needs to be small enough to get into every little crevice in your dog's mouth.
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Toothbrush for Large Dog Breeds
If you have a large dog, like my chocolate Labrador, you may need to buy more than one dog toothbrush. At the very least, you should purchase a double headed traditional brush. Like the one in my video guide, these will have a large head on one end and a smaller head on the other end.
The larger head can be used on the big teeth in the back of your dog's mouth, and you can use the smaller brush head on those little teeth in the front of his mouth. Again, it's important to pick a brush that is appropriately sized for your dog's mouth. There's a big difference between a brush that could work for a Collie and a brush that would be suitable for a St. Bernard.
You can also find traditional toothbrushes that have two brush heads on the same end. The brush heads face each other and wrap around the teeth so that you can brush both sides at once. These types of canine toothbrushes are best used by professionals that have a lot of experience. If you don't know what you're doing, you could miss a lot of the little nooks and crannies in the mouth when using a brush of this style.
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