Brushing your dog's teeth should not be a chore for you or your dog. Instead, it should be an enjoyable time for both of you. If you take things slowly at the beginning and give lots of praise, you and your dog will start looking forward to your brushing sessions.
Where to begin
Number one, this should be fun for you and your dog. Be upbeat and take things slowly. Do not overly restrain your dog. Keep sessions short and positive. Be sure to praise your dog throughout the process. Give yourself a pat on the back, too! You are doing a great thing for your dog!
First, have your dog get used to you putting things in his mouth. Dip your finger in beef bouillon. Call your dog with a voice that means "treat" and let your dog lick the liquid off your finger. Then rub your soaked finger gently over your dog's gums and teeth. After a few sessions, your dog should actually look forward to this and you can move on.
Now, place a gauze around your finger. (You can again dip it in the bouillon.) Gently rub the teeth in a circular motion with your gauzed finger. Repeat this for the number of sessions it takes your dog to feel comfortable with this procedure. Remember to praise him and keep an upbeat attitude.
After your dog is used to having the flavored gauze in his mouth, you are ready to start with a
dental sponge, or
pad. You need to get your dog used to the consistency of these items, especially the bristles on a brush. So, let your dog lick something tasty off of the brush or pad so he gets used to the texture.
Once your dog is used to the cleaning item you are going to use, You can add the
rinse). Pet toothpastes either have a poultry, malt, or other flavor so your dog will like the taste. Get your dog used to the flavor and consistency of the toothpaste. Let your dog lick some off your finger and then apply some to your pet's gumline with your finger. Praise your pet.
Now your dog is used to the toothbrush and toothpaste and you are ready to start brushing. Talk to your dog in a happy voice during the process and praise your dog at the end. At first, you may just want to brush one or both upper canine teeth (the large ones in the front of the mouth). These are the easiest teeth for you to get at and will give you some easier practice. As before, when your dog accepts having several teeth brushed, slowly increase the number of teeth you are brushing. Again, by making it appear to be a game, you both will have fun doing it.
See our article,
Brushing Your Cat's Teeth, for 5 easy steps to brushing their teeth.
Various toothpastes, brushes, pads, and other mouth care products are available. The choice is up to you and your dog for what works best.
Supplying your dog with specially designed dental toys and treats can help in reducing any future oral disease or bacteria, not to mention bad breath!