Dog Breed Info

Brushing A Dog's Teeth

Tooth brushing is an important factor in canine dental health and should be part of a dog's every day hygiene routine. Regular brushing prevents plaque and tarter build-up which could result in periodontal disease. Tooth brushing also improves the dog's relationship with the family, as the dog will subsequently have fresh breath and teeth that look clean. Tooth brushing, however, does not whiten the teeth and remove tartar. The tooth brushing procedure can be a simple and fun way to interact with a dog while providing a great service. Start slowly, using patience and lots of praise. Most dogs love the taste of the canine-type of toothpaste. Tooth brushing should not be confused with teeth scaling and cleaning, which is a service offered by veterinarians. Most dogs require teeth cleaning every year, however if good hygiene has been practiced and periodontal disease prevented, this procedure may not be necessary on a yearly basis.

Brushing the dog's teeth helps to maintain good oral hygiene and fresh breath.

The toothbrushing procedure can be performed at the grooming and styling station or in the bathing station. Brushing the teeth in the bathing station allows for a quick clean up.

The toothbrushing procedure is performed on the grooming and styling station or in the bathing station. It is easier to conduct this task in the bathing station unless the client brings the dog to the salon for a tooth brushing between the groomings then the toothbrushing would be performed on the grooming and styling station.

The dog is placed on the grooming table or in the tub and safely secured. The mouth is then carefully examined and if the dog's mouth is healthy enough to receive a toothbrushing, then the professional completes this task. If not, the professional must make a note to notify the client that the tooth brushing procedure was not performed and the reason why.

Be Prepared for the Pet's Reaction
As a professional you must be prepared for the reaction of the pet when working near or around the head area and even more so when working in the mouth. The dog must be safely secured so that you are able to step back away from the dog and be in your safety zone if the dog reacts in a negative manner. Avoid putting your face to close to the dog's face by keeping your safety zone. Keep focused on the immediate task and do not allow yourself to be distracted by other activities going on in the salon. Monitor the actions of the dog at all times and watch for danger signs such as tightening of the muscles.

Pet position: Sitting or Standing
Groomer position:
Front or Front Side

  • Approach the dog from the side, placing one hand around the cheek and ear area to secure the dog and slowly move to the front of the dog.
  • Place both hands around the cheek and ear area and gently massage, praising the dog in soft tones.
  • Bring your hands forward slowly using a soft, massage-type motion.
  • Using both hands and talking to the dog in soft tones, lift the lips to evaluate the dog's response.
  • Using a finger brush, gently massage the teeth and gums until the dog becomes relaxed and comfortable with your touch.
  • If the dog begins to struggle, move your hands back to the cheek area and massage gently, talking to the dog using a soft tone and encouraging, praising words.
  • Apply a small amount of toothpaste to your finger brush and allow the dog to sniff and lick it.
  • Massage a little toothpaste onto the dog's teeth and gums. Dog toothpaste is enzymatic, which means it neutralizes the odors in the mouth.
  • Allow the dog to sniff the toothbrush.
  • Apply a ribbon of toothpaste to the brush and allow the dog to chew and lick it.
  • Apply another strip of toothpaste to the brush and place the bristles at a 45 degree angle to the gum line.
  • Gently brush the teeth from the gum line to the tip of the tooth beginning with the upper canines. Apply enough pressure to work the bristles in between the teeth. Remember, the toothbrush is an applicator, not an abrasive scrubber.
  • You want to apply the toothpaste on each tooth and let it set on the teeth to help soften plaque. The dog toothbrush is 3 times softer than a people soft bristle toothbrush.
  • Brush all of the upper and lower teeth on one side and work your way around to the other side. Pay special attention to the inside (tongue side) of the teeth, next to the gums and to the rear teeth. These areas tend to have more plaque build-up.
  • After completing the tooth brushing procedures, praise the dog for accepting the tooth brushing.

Safe & Gentle Handling
The professional must be prepared to react to the pet's reaction to keep both the pet and the professional safe in this procedure. This is a procedure that is very new to many pets. Caution, along with patience, must be taken during this procedure. Take the time to introduce this procedure and make it a wonderful experience for the pet. Praise the pet during the entire procedure with soft, reassuring words.

As a professional, you must make the decision to brush or not to brush the dog's teeth. You must be able to recognize periodontal disease and evaluate if the dog will allow you to brush his/her teeth. Dogs are very sensitive around the inside of their mouth. Take the time to introduce the dog to the tooth brushing procedure gradually. Use only canine products for this procedure.

Pets with Special Needs
Great care must be taken when working around the head area on breathing challenged dog. Do not move the head

Safety Policy
  • Do not brush the teeth on a dog that shows signs of aggressive behavior.
  • Do not brush the teeth if the dog has signs of teeth and gum disorders.
Remember to wash your hands after completing this task or before you work on another pet to prevent spreading germs. If the toothbrushing is performed in the bathing tub, the clean up and sanitation is much easier.

Time Management
There are no short cuts with the task of brushing the teeth, however, the professional can save time with this procedure by being prepared with the necessary products and tools to prevent wasting time looking for them.

Client Relations: Notification to the Pet Family
The professional must report all observations indicating a dental problem or any other problems detected during the examination to the pet family. Notify the pet family if you are not able to brush the teeth and the reason why.

Client Relations: Recommendation to the Pet Family
Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to have your dog's teeth checked and cleaned to prepare the teeth and gums for routine toothbrushings. Schedule a more frequent tooth brushing appointment to maintain your pet's teeth and gums.

Client Relations: Pet Family Education
With a good dental plan, your dog will maintain white teeth, healthy gums and fresh breath.
  • A proper diet with nutritionally balanced foods is the first step.
  • Always provide chew toys for your pet. Chewing stimulates a natural flossing action. Your pet can benefit from a variety of chews and toys, some with bacteria fighting enzymes to fight plaque and tartar.
  • Maintain a daily toothbrushing schedule to remove plaque.
Pet Grooming Training