Home Dental Care for Your Dog

Your Yorkshire terrier Tillie sure has some gleaming white teeth. Her Upper Arlington veterinarian recently gave Tillie a professional dental cleaning, and also inspected her mouth for other dental problems. The vet wants Tillie’s teeth to remain squeaky clean and free of plaque, or bacteria, buildup. If you consistently remove the plaque, it won’t harden to become tartar, which must be professionally removed. Brushing Tillie’s teeth regularly, and preferably daily, is the best thing you can do for her good dental health.


Canine Toothbrush

Purchase a soft, angled canine toothbrush that will reach Tillie’s back teeth. Since Tillie’s a little girl under 30 pounds, a finger brush would also work well. For larger dogs, choose a doggie toothbrush with a long handle.


Doggie Toothpaste

You don’t have to tell Tillie that her delicious poultry- or seafood-flavored toothpaste is good for her. She’ll love licking it off your finger, and you’ll probably have to hide it so she doesn’t scarf it up when you’re not looking. Don’t give Tillie human toothpaste, as the ingredients can’t be swallowed and will irritate her tummy.


Toothbrushing Guidelines

Approach Tillie when she’s calm, and sit or kneel alongside her. Gently rub your finger along the outside of her upper teeth and gums, and repeat this step with some doggie toothpaste on your finger. Encourage Tillie to snack on the toothpaste (but not your finger, of course). Assuming Tillie’s still a happy camper, place some toothpaste on the brush, and position the brush so the bristles reach her teeth/gum line at a 45-degree angle. Brushing in this position works on the plaque and also massages Tillie’s gums. Work in small circles, brushing a few teeth during each session, working up to about two minutes’ brushing time. Give Tillie lots of praise for her good behavior.


Dental Rinse

A vet-recommended dental rinse can be an effective plaque-fighting tool. When you squirt the rinse inside Tillie’s cheeks, it binds to her teeth and mouth tissues. Ask your vet which dog-safe dental rinse he prefers.


Dental Chews

The doggie dental chew shelves are flooded with products that claim to fight plaque and freshen Tillie’s breath. Ask your vet for a safe, effective dental chew that has produced good results for his patients when used daily.

When Tillie sees her Upper Arlington vet for a regular checkup, your little Yorkie can proudly display her mouth full of well-cared-for choppers.