As humans, we are used to brushing our teeth and keeping our dental hygiene at our very best. But for our beloved pets, we hardly think to make sure that they are getting their teeth cleaned as well. Dogs can have some pretty bad breath thanks to the food that they eat, so it is important to make sure that they too have clean teeth to keep their breath smelling great and their teeth from getting any problems.

This is particularly important because contrary to popular belief dry dog food does not clean your dog’s teeth as it is commonly advertised. Think about it – would cereal keep your teeth clean? In fact, studies show that dry dog food can actually start to cause bad breath from having build-up on your dog’s teeth , as the kibble can’t remove buildup from the upper gum. The only real way to improve your dog’s dental health is through regular brushing, but having them sit still can be a challenge. Follow these tips to make your dog a fan of regular brushing:

1. Start gently with your finger near and around your dog’s mouth and reward good behavior with a tiny treat. Slowly start to move inside of his/her mouth as they get comfortable.

2. Once they feel comfortable with your finger move to a finger brush, small tooth brush, or dental wipe. Use peanut butter on the tip to get them excited about the toothbrush before trying to brush.

3. After they are comfortable with the toothbrush start to gently scrub a small section at a time to get them accustomed to the sensation, and reward with treats as they let you brush their entire mouth. Just make sure to get all of the food particles!

This is a sure fire way to get them excited about a regular brushing routine. It may be hard to get started, but this simple routine will help reduce the risk of having dental infections or abscessed teeth later in life.

February is pet dental hygiene month, so why shouldn’t you do everything that you can to make sure that they have healthy teeth and good breath? Even though they are your pet, that doesn’t mean that you cannot treat them like another family member. A simple brushing routine will go a long way to improve their health and reduce vet bills, and there is no reason that your pet cannot have fresh breath just like you do!