Can You Use an Ultrasonic Toothbrush on a Dog?

by Elle Di Jensen
Ultrasonic toothbrushes are effective for cleaning your doggy's dental work.

Ultrasonic toothbrushes are effective for cleaning your doggy's dental work.

Kane Skennar/Photodisc/Getty Images

This might be a familiar scene: your dog keeping you company in the bathroom while you brush your teeth with your ultrasonic toothbrush. With little else to do while the toothbrush works its magic, maybe you've considered brushing your dog's teeth with an ultrasonic toothbrush. If the only thing holding you back is not knowing whether ultrasonic cleaning is OK for your dog's teeth, no worries. Vets routinely use ultrasonic equipment for canine teeth cleaning.

It's an Option

When you take your dog in for a professional dental cleaning, his vet probably uses an ultrasonic scaler to rid his teeth of plaque and tartar. The vet's equipment isn't like the ultrasonic toothbrush you have at home, though. It's only for professional use. But vets using ultrasonic technology to clean dog's teeth every day attests to the safety and appropriateness of using an ultrasonic toothbrush on your dog.

The Decision: Human or Dog Toothbrush?

The effectiveness of ultrasonic toothbrushes on humans has prompted a few companies to begin producing and selling ultrasonic toothbrushes designed specifically for dogs. These specialized cleaning devices have a double head that you've probably seen on a lot of normal doggy toothbrushes. The heads are at a right angle to each other so that the bristles can work on both sides of your dog's teeth at once. If you have trouble locating an ultrasonic toothbrush made for dogs you can always share yours. Just the base unit, of course. Your dog may drink out of the toilet and chew on pig's ears, but he'll want a toothbrush head of his own.

Will Your Dog Like It?

Before you invest in a dental cleaning appliance for your dog, you probably want to know whether he'll like it, merely tolerate it or will clamp his mouth shut and refuse to let you brush his teeth with it. All dogs are different and will react individually to a buzzing, vibrating toothbrush. Some won't mind and some will run and hide whenever they see you reaching for the device. See how he reacts to your ultrasonic toothbrush first. Brush your teeth in his presence, right in front of him. Many times all it takes is for him to watch you using an ultrasonic toothbrush to see that it's no big deal and he may just allow you to use one to brush his teeth.

Veterinary Recommendations

With all the doggy dental care options available, vets are 100 percent behind whatever will get you actively involved in routinely brushing your dog's teeth. If that means investing in a high-tech toothbrush for Trixie, then so be it. But in reality, whatever method your dog prefers -- or will at least allow you to practice -- is the one you should use. You can go the traditional route and use a canine toothbrush with the double head, use a fingertip brush that fits over the end of your index finger or even just use a child-sized soft bristled toothbrush you can get at the drug store. The only caveat is that you use a toothpaste formulated for dogs and never your own toothpaste as it can be toxic for your pooch.

Photo Credits

  • Kane Skennar/Photodisc/Getty Images

About the Author

Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.

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