Managing your cockapoo’s oral health is a key part of caring for your cockapoo. Just like humans, cockapoos require a good oral health routine to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth. It may seem like just another task in cockapoo maintenance that can be easily overlooked, but cleaning your cockapoo’s teeth can prevent gum infections, pain and costly vet bills later down the line. So here is some handy advice to help you manage your cockapoos teeth, gums and oral health with an easy how to guide.
At this point, we would like to point out that the below advice is not a substitute for veterinary advice, and we advise everyone to check with their vets about how to clean their cockapoo’s teeth if unsure. Also, if you think your cockapoo has a tooth or gum infection please go to a vet to get it treated! Consider using the Joii Pet Care App, which is free to download, gives you a free symptom checker, and lets you book a video call with a vet for just £24! So, so, handy for when you want a little peace of mind – 24 hours a day!
Why is it important to clean your cockapoo’s teeth?
Without brushing or regular cleaning, harmful plaque and tartar can build up on the surface of your cockapoo’s teeth and cause tooth decay, bad breath and gum disease. The plaque build up at the top of the tooth, closest to the gums is the most harmful as it can cause gingivitis and periodontitis if left untreated.
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums (gum disease) and can be very painful for your dog. It is caused by a bacterial buildup along the gumline and can cause the gums to bleed and swell. If left untreated can turn into periodontitis. Periodontitis is when the bacteria reaches the inside of the tooth and can lead to expensive surgery to remove the infected teeth and in more serious cases bone removal may also be necessary.
Oral health is incredibly important for cockapoos as they share their genes with poodles. Poodles (especially toy and miniature poodles) are more vulnerable than other breeds to gingivitis.This is because the teeth are arranged close together.
Many cockapoos also have this trait, and so to prevent infections and pain, it is important to regularly clean and care for your cockapoos teeth. Treat it as part of your general grooming routine, much like cutting your cockapoo’s nails.
Where to start?
Before starting a regular tooth brushing routine, it is crucial to get your cockapoo used to getting their mouth looked at and fiddled with. This is important for three reasons:
- Your cockapoo’s teeth are sharp. Whilst not meaning to cause harm, if your cockapoo feels threatened, they may nip to get out of the situation.
- It will make cleaning your cockapoo’s teeth much easier as your cockapoo will engage positively with the process.
- It means that if your cockapoo ever gets a mouth infection, the vet will be able to treat it easily without distressing your little buddy!
It’s an easy process to get your cockapoo used to having his or her teeth cleaned, you just need time and consistency. Start off with food or toy rewards every time you touch their mouth and give lots of praise. Remember that early exposure to teeth cleaning as a puppy will minimise the risk of accidental nips dramatically! It’ll also make teeth cleaning a calm process for you and your cockapoo.
Start small at first, by only briefly parting their lips to display their teeth. Hold for only a few seconds and then give them a treat. Then do this more randomly, and finally increase the time.
This can easily take a couple of weeks, but much better to have a calm cockapoo than a nervous, jumpy one! (especially when your fingers are so close to their teeth!)
What you’ll need for your cockapoo teeth cleaning routine:
To clean your cockapoo’s teeth you will need just three things:
- A dog toothbrush
- Dog toothpaste
- Lots of positivity and patience 🙂
The most effective way of cleaning your cockapoo’s teeth is by brushing (as is it with our own teeth). There are two types of toothbrush you can use for your cockapoo:
- A long handled one like this Pet Dentist one from Amazon. It has a good length to reach all the back teeth and has extra soft bamboo bristles that are very kind and gentle to gums.
- Or a finger brush. This is our preferred choice, and we use this Vets Best Finger Toothbrush from Amazon. The reason we use a finger brush is because we find it is easier to adjust the pressure you are applying. And, Ziggy seems much more comfortable with using a finger brush!
For dog toothpaste, there are lots of different brands available. We found that Ziggy’s favourite is this Logic oral hygiene gel from Amazon. It has a yeasty taste that he absolutely loves. He now starts licking his lips when he sees the toothbrush!
This toothpaste can be used with a brush like we do. Even better though, is that this gel contains a surfactant. This surfactant helps the tooth paste cling to the teeth and can help break down existing plaque even without brushing. It can be squeezed onto their teeth and then basically breaks down plaque whilst your cockapoo licks it off! This is great if you find you have a cockapoo that doesn’t like having their teeth brushed,
As for the positivity and patience – well, a glass of wine always helps!
How to brush your cockapoo’s teeth
You should aim to brush your cockapoo’s teeth at least once a day, but work on the principle that some brushing throughout the week is always better than no brushing. It’s generally best to choose a time when your cockapoo is calm and relaxed to brush your fur baby’s teeth. This may be either after a walk or at the end of the day when it’s nearly time for bed.
To brush your cockapoo’s teeth, you should apply a small pea sized amount of toothpaste to your dog’s toothbrush and then part their lips to reveal their teeth.
Starting with the teeth at the back, behind their canines. Gently brush their teeth making sure to cover all parts of the teeth from the gum to the tips. Then move on to their canines and then their front teeth. Then repeat this process on the other side.
Hint: Canines are the long and pointy teeth
It is also helpful to gently brush their gums as plaque-causing bacteria can grow there.
If you’re doing it for the first time, remember to be patient – it’s not exactly a natural thing for a dog to experience!
Your cockapoo will then spend five or ten minutes licking their teeth and lips. This is also a part of the process as they will spread the toothpaste all around their mouth! It then helps to get rid of any nasty bacteria that is on their tongue.
Finally, make sure your dog has plenty of clean water to have a good drink after the brushing is over.
And it’s that simple! Your cockapoo will be showing off their pearly whites in no time!
Treats and toys to help with your cockapoo’s oral health
In addition to brushing, there are lots of treats and toys available that can help to keep your cockapoo’s teeth happy and healthy.
Natural chews such as antlers and buffalo horns are great. They are long lasting chews for your cockapoo that can help reduce the buildup of plaque on their teeth.
They are also a good source of calcium and zinc for your pooch that helps with tooth and bone formation. Ziggy loves these chews and will happily while away his time chewing his way through his beloved antler! If you’re worried about deer cruelty don’t be – these brilliant antlers come from the natural “shedding” that deer do once a year.
Dental chews and sticks are also available, but sometimes we find the cheap ones give Ziggy the squits. Lilly’s Kitchen WoofBrush is our go to with this as they are made of all natural ingredients and can help to reduce plaque build up and improve fresh breath!
We also recommend these toys that help with teeth cleaning and oral hygiene. We give this to Ziggy at the end of the day. If you cover all sides with a small amount of toothpaste, he will happily chew away for ten minutes. A fun way of cleaning teeth! The rubber bristles are firm but non abrasive and are kind to his gums.
Whatever toys you choose – the key thing is just to make sure that some are there to help care for your cockapoo’s teeth.
If you want to learn more about doggy tooth infections and oral hygiene, we recommend this article from the Blue Cross. It has lots of helpful advice on symptoms and treatment options.
If you’re interested in your cockapoo’s health, please check out our cockapoo weight chart and you can see what your cockapoo’s growth is likely to be!
For more care tips, check our our article on cleaning cockapoo ears quickly and simply.
We also have a guide on bathing and drying your cockapoo to help keep them squeaky clean and healthy!