Dogs are like people--the better you take care of their teeth, the longer they will have them. Just as with your own teeth, if you don't properly take care of your dog's teeth he may get tooth decay, which can cause pain, infection and bad breath. You can buy canine toothpaste at a pet store, but mixing up some homemade dog toothpaste is easy and inexpensive.
Homemade Dog Toothpaste Recipe
Homemade dog toothpaste requires just a few items, including baking soda, salt and glycerin. In a container, mix six teaspoons of baking soda, 1/3 teaspoon of salt and four teaspoons of glycerin. If you like, you can add two teaspoons of low sodium beef broth. Combine until all ingredients are well mixed and the mixture is the consistency of toothpaste.
Brushing Your Dog's Teeth
Your dog does not need to have her teeth brushed every day, but aim to brush them once a week. You'll need a doggy toothbrush, which you can buy at your pet store. Dog toothbrushes come in many different shapes and sizes. Some look very much like the toothbrush you would use; others fit over your finger to give you a bit more control.
Either put the toothpaste on the brush, or smear it on a few teeth at a time and then brush--whatever works best. Your dog may resist a bit at first, which is why the beef broth will help, as most dogs like the flavor. Allow your dog to lick a bit of it off your finger before starting. The more often you brush her teeth, the less resistance you'll meet in the future.
To brush your dog's teeth, start at the molars in the back. In a circling motion carefully brush each tooth from the gum line down. Move these small, gentle circles slowly to the front of the mouth. Make sure you don't skip the backside of the teeth and that you give the upper and lower jaw the same amount of attention. Praise your dog constantly during the process, encouraging him to cooperate with you.
Before starting the brushing be sure that you have plenty of paper towels and a wet wash cloth on hand. You'll probably want to wipe up any drool that you encounter along the way, and when you are done you can wipe down your dog's face with the wet wash cloth.