Many chihuahua owners find out they need to be brushing their dog’s teeth after a hefty dental bill. Chihuahuas are prone to dental problems, and missed tooth brushing now can mean missing teeth later. If you’re wondering how to brush your chihuahua’s teeth, this guide is here to help you.
You’ll need a toothbrush and a dog-safe toothbrush to begin. I recommend VIRBAC C.E.T. toothpaste. (Affiliate link) It comes in 5 different flavors, but more importantly does a great job of cleaning teeth. Many years ago I wrote a letter to the company asking how it worked.
The scientists working for VIRBAC got back to me and explained that the enzymes in the toothpaste react with your dog’s saliva, helping to remove harmful bacteria, plaque and food particles. Even if the best you can do is get the toothpaste in your dog’s mouth, it will help in the fight against dental disease.
I’m less picky about toothbrushes, because frankly, chihuahuas aren’t always easy-going about tooth brushing. In a later article, we’ll go over how to help your dog like tooth brushing, but for now this article is for calm dogs.
This toothbrush set (affiliate link) is nice because it has both the finger brush and the regular one. Many pets who don’t like regular toothbrushes are more tolerant of the smaller finger brushes. You can also just wrap a small rag around your finger and use that to gently scrub.
How to brush your chihuahua’s teeth
As for the actual brushing part, the easiest way to brush their teeth is to place your hand on top of their head with your non-dominant hand. Use your thumb and pointer finger to gently lift your dog’s teeth upwards, then insert the toothbrush and gently brush your dog’s teeth.
How well you can brush typically depends on the dog. Some dogs will fight or even bite you for it. You can introduce tooth brushing a little easier by putting something yummy on the toothbrush at first, such as canned dog food or peanut butter, and let your dog lick it off.
How often should you brush your dog’s teeth?
Your dog’s teeth should ideally be brushed twice daily, just like a human. After all, the goal is to remove plaque before it hardens onto the teeth and becomes tartar. Once that brown scum appears on your dog’s teeth, your pet will have to have a dental, which is a veterinary procedure, to have it removed.
This is the same goal in people, except our tartar causes holes in our teeth called cavities. Since we already know how often we need to brush our own teeth–and what happens when we go for longer, it makes sense to make that our goal.
That being said, any amount of brushing will benefit your dog. Even brushing your dog’s teeth once a week will reduce plaque and slow down the process of tartar build up.
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