You might find that your furry friend is not too thrilled for tooth brushing at first, but with these tips and some practice you can make it a fun experience for you both! First big tip is to try to choose a time when your dog has had a decent amount of exercise, so that they are more inclined to sit still and be more welcoming of the new idea. Second important tip is to remember not to overdo it, as it is always better to start slowly and quit even if you don’t brush the whole mouth, as you can always increase the time as they get used to it. Lastly, make sure to reward your dog with a treat afterwards and lots of praise and happy attention. You will find that before too long, both you and your dog will start to look forward to the weekly bonding event.

Here is a getting started checklist to follow:

  • You can use a specially designed dog toothbrush, a child’s soft toothbrush, a finger toothbrush, or simply place gauze around a finger.
  • NEVER use human toothpaste because they contain fluoride, which is extremely poisonous to dogs. Instead, only use a pet-safe toothpaste.
  • Give your dog a small sample of the toothpaste to introduce the taste.
  • Lift the lip to expose the outside surfaces of your dog’s gums and teeth.
  • Brush with gentle motions to clean the teeth and gums, as you would your own.
  • Focus on cleaning the outside (cheek-facing) tooth surfaces, as most pets will not allow you to brush the inside surface of the teeth.
  • Be sure to reach the back upper molars and canines, as these teeth tend to quickly build up tartar.
  • Reward your dog with play, petting or a favorite activity after brushing in order to make the experience fun & rewarding.

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