So you have an extra brush head for your ultrasonic toothbrush and curiously wonder if you can use it to spruce up Rover’s pearly whites. While your motorized toothbrush might do wonders for your chompers, you don’t want to use it in your four-legged pal’s mouth.
Most human-grade toothbrushes, like an ultrasonic, are too tough for canine chompers, scraping away protective tooth enamel. Because you might be unaware as to how hard you’re brushing while using the ultrasonic toothbrush in Rover’s mouth, you could be doing more harm than good by rubbing away parts of his teeth. You could even damage his sensitive gum tissue if he squirms and you accidentally ram the tough ultrasonic toothbrush into his gums. Additionally, the excessive noise and vibrations of the powered toothbrush can make teeth brushing seem scary, causing him to dread the experience.
What You Should Use
In an ideal world, you’d pick up a canine toothbrush from the pet store and brush Rover’s teeth as he stands perfectly still. But doggy toothbrushes aren’t your only option if you’re wary about brushing Rover’s munchers. You can also use finger toothbrushes, which simply slip over your fingertip and have a gentle brush pad near the tip. As long as your furry chum is comfortable letting you handle his mouth, you’ll be able to slip in your toothbrush-like finger without him even knowing what you’re doing. As an alternative, simply cover your fingertip with gauze and carefully clean his teeth and gums, much like you would your own.
Brushing Rover’s teeth should always be a positive and happy experience. Carefully scrub his chompers after he’s tuckered out, possibly after a long walk or game of catch. Give him a good rubdown so his mind drifts off to a land of bottomless rawhide bones. When he’s completely zoned out, you’ll be able to gently lift up his gums and brush his teeth, all while praising him as much as possible. He might only let you do it for a few seconds at a time, but after several practice sessions, he’ll get the hang of it and enjoy the one-on-one bonding experience with you.
Once you get the right toothbrush in your hand, you’ll need to put just the right type of paste on it. While you may want to use your minty toothpaste to get rid of Rover’s dog breath, it is very dangerous to dogs. People toothpaste often contains a sugar substitute called xylitol, which is perfectly safe for humans, but not for dogs. Plus some varieties can be highly abrasive. You’ll only want to use doggy toothpaste in your barking bud’s mouth. These canine-friendly pastes come in yummy flavors -- chicken, beef and peanut butter -- and are safe in case your pooch swallows some.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.