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Dog Teethbrushing 101: A Gentle Introduction (How To)

Posted by Awesome Doggies

This article is the second in a series on dog toothbrushing, a subject we feel strongly about at Awesome Doggies mobile grooming. We previously gave advice on shopping for supplies. Now that you have what you need and are ready to go….stop for a minute. Before you begin this process with your dog, remind yourself how healthy this is for both of you, and remember to keep it fun.

Taste Test The Doggie Toothpaste

Start with a taste test to let your dog try the flavor of the toothpaste. Start slowly by letting him lick the toothpaste off your finger. When your dog licks the paste, reward him. If your dog doesn't like the toothpaste you offer, try another day, but eventually consider switching toothpaste to find a flavor your dog likes better. Repeat the taste test on separate occasions, until your dog becomes accustomed to the flavor, and looks forward to it.

Touch Your Dog's Teeth

The next step involves getting your dog used to having something is his mouth, brushed up against his teeth. Pinch some toothpaste on your finger, and gently rub it across the dog's front canines, which will be the easiest to access and give you both practice. If your dog accepts this, give him a few rubs and a treat, maybe even a walk – whatever reward system works for you. The idea is to keep your dog happy with what’s happening, and wanting more.



Get Your Dog Used To The Toothbrush

After your dog is used to the toothpaste against the teeth, you need to get him familiar with the toothbrush and/or dental sponge that you will be using. Getting your dog familiar with the bristles of the toothbrush will probably be the hardest part, but this is also the most important part. Now, put some toothpaste on the toothbrush, and let the dog lick it off the bristles, getting him familiar the feel of the toothbrush. Just like before, if he obeys and licks the toothpaste off of the brush, reward him. Continue doing this for about a week, giving your dog enough time to get familiar with the whole procedure.


Brush Just A Couple Of Teeth At First

Now that your dog's used to the toothpaste, toothbrush, and having the toothpaste rubbed across the teeth, it's time to start brushing. Now is the time to remind yourself to keep you and your dog in a happy, positive mood while practicing brushing.  When your dog is calm and still; gently lift his gums, and begin brushing at a 45-degree angle to the gumline while using light back and forth strokes. It's a good idea to start with one of the larger front teeth, and stick to only a couple of teeth for now. When the process is over, give your dog another treat and a special reward. This is a big deal – celebrate!

Slowly Work Up To Brushing The Rest 

Once your dog is familiar with a few teeth being brushed, begin working around the entire mouth, but continue the light strokes and motions. You only need to brush the front parts of the teeth, since the inside teeth are typically practically plaque-free due to the constant motion of the dog's tongue. Keep a smile on your face and a gentle tone in your voice. Try to give your dog the impression it's all a big game, and he'll soon have his tail wagging every time he sees you with a brush in hand.

As you progress through these steps, go slowly, and keep a positive mental attitude. Stay in control, but keep it fun and pleasant for your dog. Keep each teeth-cleaning session short, and make sure to pat your dog and keep him/her as calm as possible throughout. Give yourself a pat on the back too. Remember, this is healthy for both of you!  Now go get started!


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