Many people are surprised to learn that ideally they should be brushing their husky’s teeth every day or at least once a week. Dogs in the wild brush their teeth naturally by eating a raw diet devoid of refined sugar and flavored drinks. They also don’t live as long as domesticated animals so their teeth don’t have to last as long as the typical domesticated husky’s life cycle.
Our pets are often exposed to a diet that breeds plaque and tartar if not taken care of though so it’s important to start brushing your dog’s teeth as early as possible. In this article on how to clean a dog’s teeth I will be discussing what supplies you’ll need, how to brush your dog’s teeth, signs to watch out for, and some ways to supplement a good oral hygiene routine.
Supplies You’ll Need
When bringing home a new dog there are certain supplies you’ll want to make sure you have. You can get by with a small tooth brush and some doggie toothpaste, but here are a few other things you might think of getting specifically for your new husky’s oral hygiene.
- Soft-bristled toothbrush with long handle (alternatively a finger brush or cotton swabs)
- Doggie toothpaste (never use human toothpaste as it may contain fluoride or xylitol)
- Gauze (a washcloth also works)
- Dental Toys
- Dental Chews
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Working with your husky from an early age will make brushing their teeth much easier but a dog at any age can be taught to allow having their teeth brushed on a regular basis. Some dogs can even be taught to brush their teeth by chewing on a toothbrush. For everyone else, however, here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to brush your dog’s teeth.
- Choose an appropriate time. You’ll want your dog to be in a relaxed state when you start working with them so ideally after a walk or some strenuous activity that will use up a lot of their energy is best.
- First get them used to having their mouth played with. Practice getting your dog to let you put your fingers in their mouth by first gently massaging their face with your hands. This can take multiple sessions depending on how resistant your husky is.
- Next, use two fingers wrapped in gauze or a washcloth to gently scrub at their teeth and gums. Again, this can take multiple sessions if your dog is resistant to it. Stop and try again later if your dog becomes agitated at any point.
- Once your dog is comfortable with this, you can begin using a toothbrush (or fingerbrush) and dog toothpaste to gently brush their teeth and gums. Dampen the brush, lift your dog’s lip on one side and brush the teeth and gums at a 45 degree angle in a gentle, circular motion for the best results. Start by getting them used to brushing the front teeth in short two minute sessions (or even less if your dog is resistant or becomes agitated). Eventually you’ll be able to get to the back of their mouth to reach those back upper molars and canines which are most prone to tartar buildup. If you can brush the inside surface of their teeth great but as long as you’re getting the outer side of each tooth this is sufficient.
- After every session be sure to reward your husky with a treat or extra attention. Rewarding good behavior and creating the positive reinforcement that teeth brushing sessions come with good things will help immensely. This is especially important during steps 2 and 3 when you’re getting your dog used to having their mouth played with.
- In between teeth brushing sessions give your dog dental chews and dental toys. These are products specifically designed to brush your dog’s teeth as they chew and are a great supplement to a good oral hygiene routine. We try to brush Aura’s teeth at least once a week and give her one dental chew each day. I recommend Nylabone’s Dental Chew Treats but other brands like Greenie’s are also available.
Signs to Watchout For
Even if you don’t brush your husky’s teeth it is important to look inside their mouth on a weekly basis to watch out for bad breath, missing or misaligned teeth, discolored or broken teeth, swollen or painful bleeding gums, tartar buildup along the gums, and any bumps or other abnormalities in the mouth.
If you notice any of these signs see your local veterinarian as soon as possible. These are all indications of periodontal disease which can lead to bacteria growing inside your pet’s mouth, eventually resulting in further health complications in the heart, kidneys, and liver!
Supplementing a Good Oral Hygiene Routine
On top of brushing your dog’s teeth there are a number of products out there designed to supplement a good oral hygiene routine. Below is a list of a few different options.
- Tooth Wipes – If you’re having trouble getting your dog to let you brush their teeth with a toothbrush there are companies that produce ‘tooth wipes’ which may be good if you can at least get your fingers in their mouth. While not as great as brushing, it’s better than nothing.
- Dental Chew Toys – These toys are specifically designed with little crevices and brushes to brush your dog’s teeth as they chew on them.
- Dry Food VS Soft Food – Dry kibble is better for your dog’s oral hygiene than soft food which more easily sticks to your pet’s teeth. There are even specially formulated dry kibbles that are made to brush your dog’s teeth as they crunch down on it.
- Natural Dental Sprays – These products are made to be sprayed directly onto your dog’s teeth to reduce tartar and plaque buildup and leave their breath smelling fresh.
- Coconut Oil – With natural antimicrobial properties, coconut oil has a flavor sure to attract most dogs. One popular way to use coconut oil is to drill holes in a carrot, dribble coconut oil into them, and then freeze the carrot for a few minutes before serving to your dog.
- Raw Bones – Choosing an appropriate size raw bone for your dog will naturally brush their teeth as they chew. Beware of cooked bones which can splinter and become stuck in your dog’s digestive system.
- Water Additives – If your dog doesn’t mind the taste of them special additives can be added to their water which will cut down on bacteria and keep their breath smelling fresh.
- Professional Cleanings – Veterinarians have special training and experience when it comes to identifying, preventing, and treating oral issues in your dog. You should have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year. Many times a vet will look for symptoms during a checkup but if not be sure to specifically request this service.
By now you should have basic knowledge on what products you’ll need to clean your dog’s teeth, how to brush their teeth, some warning signs to be on the lookout for, and about the many products available to supplement a pup’s good oral hygiene routine.
In a perfect world you should be brushing your dog’s teeth every day but more realistically once a week if you can get them used to it. At the very least you now know about some products such as dental chews or dental sprays which can be used to help prevent periodontal disease in your husky. For further reading checkout these resources from The American Kennel Club, WebMD, Banfield Pet Hospital, and Cesar’s Way.
If you have any questions or are having a hard time getting your husky used to having their teeth brushed let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help!