If you have recently welcomed a new puppy into your home, you may be all set to give them all of the love and care they need. As part of their care, you may decide that you want to get into the habit of brushing their teeth to ensure they have good dental health. However, before you start sticking a toothbrush in their mouth, make sure you avoid the following mistakes while brushing your puppy's teeth.
1. Using Your Toothpaste to Clean Their Teeth
When you first start brushing your puppy's teeth, you may be tempted to simply use the toothpaste that you and your family use. Since its safe for people, you may believe that the paste will also be acceptable to use on your dog.
However, the fluoride and other chemicals in human toothpaste can make a dog sick. And, since they are unable to spit it out, your puppy may wind up swallowing large amounts of the paste.
Instead of using your toothpaste, ask for your veterinarian's recommendation for one that is designed especially for dogs. Or, you can always forgo the toothpaste, as it is the brushing itself that mostly helps to remove the food, tartar, and plaque from your dog's teeth.
2. Brushing Their Teeth with a Hard-bristled Toothbrush
Just like with the toothpaste, you may think that you can use an old toothbrush that you have laying around in your bathroom to brush your dog's teeth. Even if the bristles are stiff and hard, you may think that it is still gentle enough for your dog if people can use it.
However, a hard-bristled toothbrush could hurt your puppy. If you apply too much pressure, you may cause them pain and end up tearing their gums, which would leave them open to bacteria and put your dog at risk for an infection or gum disease.
Instead of using an adult human toothbrush, you have some other options available. If you definitely want to use a toothbrush, and your puppy is a nibbler, you can either pick out a toothbrush for dogs or substitute one designed for human babies. Or, if you are comfortable with sticking your fingers in their mouth, you can opt for a nubbed tooth scrubber that goes over your finger.
Avoiding the above mistakes can help you train your pup to tolerate having their teeth brushed so that you can help maintain their dental health. If you have any further questions or concerns about brushing your puppy's teeth or any other types of pet care, speak with a veterinarian.