In addition to daily brushing, the dogs teeth should be cleaned by a veterinarian at least once a year. The veterinarian can also check for dental problems during this appointment.
Many dogs resist allowing their teeth to be brushed. If teeth brushing is started while the dog is a puppy, there is likely to be less resistance.
Some dog dental care products are designed specifically for dogs that resist teeth brushing. Finger brushes are small toothbrushes that fit on the dog owners finger. They often have soft, rubber projections instead of bristles.
A warm washcloth can be used to wipe the dogs teeth if the dog resists the use of finger brushes. Once the dog gets used to having the teeth cleaned with a washcloth, the dog owner may be able to start using a finger brush or child's soft toothbrush.
Toothpastes for dogs are flavored to be more appealing to dogs than regular toothpastes for humans. Toothpastes for humans can also make dogs sick. Buying dog toothpaste can help a dog owner who is struggling to get the dog to accept teeth brushing.
Dog dental treats and food are may help, but should not be considered an effective alternative to teeth brushing. There is considerable debate over the effectiveness of dental treats for pets. Feeding the dog dry food instead of canned or semi-moist food is thought to be better for health.
Dental dog bones and some rope toys are designed to improve the dental health of dogs. Daily teeth brushing is still recommended if these products are used.
The teeth of older dogs often show considerable wear. This is common and may not require veterinary treatment. If the dog owner has concerns of any kind about the dogs dental health, the dog owner should consult a veterinarian.