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Yes, you’re supposed to brush your dog’s teeth every day—here’s why

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Photo: Stocksy/Isaiah Taylor

You brush your teeth daily—but how about your pup’s? Though toothbrushes and dogs don’t necessarily work well together (trust me, I’ve tried!), keeping your furry friend’s oral hygiene in check is super important to its health.

Dr. Adriana Mendoza, a veterinarian at Firehouse Animal Health Center in Leander, Texas, told myStatesman there’s no reason not to brush your dog’s teeth every single day—especially considering doing so helps to avoid dental disease, infection, and tooth loss by preventing the buildup of dental tar.

But since dogs tend not to enjoy the process of teeth brushing, it’s important to be a little sneaky with your approach. It’s best to start the habit on your pet while it’s a young puppy, but if that shipped sailed, get a canine toothpaste (not regular human kind, which is toxic to your companion!) in an irresistible flavor, like peanut butter.

There’s no reason not to brush your dog’s teeth every single day—especially considering doing so helps prevent dental disease, infection, tooth loss by preventing the buildup of dental tar, veterinarian Adriana Mendoza says.

After Fido gets used to the taste, Dr. Mendoza suggests swiping some on a doggy toothbrush—either the traditional kind or a silicone version that slides onto your finger—and brushing around in its mouth. And don’t worry: If doing this every day doesn’t seem realistic, a few times a week is way better than zero times per week.

Beyond routine brushes, vets also recommend that dogs get annual dental cleanings, similar to the office visits you go on to keep your pearly whites healthy. These visits for pups can skew pricey, though, since they involve going under anesthesia, X-rays, and a deep cleaning under the gum line. But, since it’s currently National Pet Dental Health Month, many clinics are offering discounts. Check around with your local vets so your furry BFF’s oral health can be in fresh-and-clean shape.

Here’s exactly how to keep your pup safe from the dog flu. Or, find out whether cats or dogs are brainier, according to science.