How To Brush Puppy Teeth

Puppy teeth may be pristine from day one, but as your pup gets older his new adult teeth should be brushed daily to keep them plaque and tartar free. If you get your puppy used to the feel of a toothbrush inside his mouth now you won't have any problems brushing his teeth later, when he's older.

How To Get Your Puppy Used To His Toothbrush

Although little puppy teeth may not need cleaning at this stage, adult canine teeth will need a good dental care routine to keep them sparkling and healthy.

Cocker spaniel puppy chewing a sweetie wrapper. His puppy teeth will need cleaning again!Yum Yum!

If you help your puppy to get used to the feel of a toothbrush (and your fingers) in his mouth now, while he's still young it will be plain sailing.

If you don't, you're likely to have problems brushing his teeth when he's an adult Cocker. 

However, it's not the end of the world if you didn't manage to do this, or you've adopted an adult dog who's never had his teeth brushed, you can still acclimatize your Cocker to having his teeth brushed, although it may take a little longer.

Brushing Puppy Teeth

When brushing your puppy's teeth for the first time it's probably better to begin using your fingers; don't use a toothbrush just yet.

  • Start by gently and slowly massaging his 'cheeks' in a circular motion where the teeth meet the gums. Praise him while you're doing this, but don't make too much fuss. Practice every day and when you reach the point where your puppy is more than happy with this massaging motion, it's time to move to the next step.

  • Put a little squeeze of doggie toothpaste onto your fingertip and let him lick it off. Get him to see it as a treat. There are many pet toothpastes that taste of chicken or liver, so I don't think you'll have any problem there! 

  • Next, lift your puppy's top lip and put your finger into his mouth and gently massaging the gums and delicate teeth for 10 seconds, working up to 30 seconds. Puppies teeth are sharp so take care and if he doesn't object, praise him.

  • You may find your puppy is too intent on licking the toothpaste from your fingers; stopping you from massaging his gums. If that's the case, hold his muzzle closed with one hand and gently lift his top lip with the other. Then you can begin massaging his top teeth and gums before moving on to the bottom gum line.

  • Don't worry about his front teeth at this stage as they pretty much look after themselves.

When you believe he's ready, introduce him to his new puppy toothbrush (which should be the softest you can buy).

Place a small amount of toothpaste onto the brush and work it down into the bristles. This will help to stop him from licking the toothpaste off the brush, and increase the chances of the toothpaste actually reaching your dog's teeth!

Let him lick and nibble the toothbrush before putting it into his mouth, so that he can feel the bristles with his teeth and his tongue. Don't brush any teeth at this stage.

At your next session, gently brush two or three puppy teeth for 10 or 20 seconds, then stop and give your pup lots of praise. Don't overdo the praise, or he may become too excited and you'll get nowhere.

If you think he's becoming agitated, don't go any further. Better still if you can anticipate his anxiety and can stop before he becomes anxious. This way he won't learn that if he objects, you'll stop.

Keep his experience as positive as possible. When you've finished, and he's responded well, heap on the praise and give him a small treat.

Your overall aim here is to teach your puppy to associate positive experiences when your fingers or toothbrush are near or inside his mouth.

Over the next few sessions, gradually increase the number of puppy teeth brushed, until your brushing routine follows the steps outlined in brushing dogs teeth for best results.

Good luck!