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Pet Peeves: My Dog Has Dirty Teeth

Q: My dog's teeth are pretty dirty looking, and his breath isn't so fresh either. I want to brush his teeth, but I'm not even sure where to start. Help!

A: You're not alone – dogs get plaque and tartar build-up too! Start with a meant-for-doggies toothbrush and toothpaste, like the KissAble version. Before you get started, consider your dog's temperament. If he doesn't seem to like (or is not used to) hands near his mouth, practice petting him close to it to get him acclimated. For North, I also put a little peanut butter on my finger for him to lick off – he couldn't resist! When he realized that my finger had a savory snack on it, he seemed much more interested when I put my hand near his mouth.

Next, I let him try some of the yummy-smelling, natural vanilla-flavored toothpaste off my finger. After that, he was ready for the real deal. Because he is a lil' guy, I held him on my lap – for bigger dogs, you can stand behind them and hold mouth (and upper lip) up. Always, brush teeth in a circular motion, making sure to hit all sides of each one... just like your own. I rewarded North with a bone-shaped Yip Yap Dog Mint... and he was good to go.


dillhara dillhara 9 years
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MallRat MallRat 9 years
I try to brush, but my dog really won't have any part of it no matter what I try, so I have to rely on the vet to do it. Between visits I give him dental treats. I've never tried the Yip Yap Dog Mints but will keep my eye out. Mosby is a fan of Bright Bites, and they are designed to clean his teeth and gums while he chews :) It might not be brushing, but at least it's doing something to help his teeth between professional cleanings!
sgdish sgdish 9 years
If there is something your dog loves, make brushing teeth a condition. Frankie goes to work with me every day, and he understands that if he won't let me brush his teeth, he can't go (yes, I've left him at home, so he gets it!) I use a child-size toothbrush and a little toothpaste. His teeth, gums, and breath are so much better!
SassAndBide SassAndBide 9 years
my dog only likes chicken flavored toothpaste :ROTFL: if its like mint or whatever, he runs away. :dog: very picky lol
akrsouth akrsouth 9 years
We brush every night, her hair and teeth. Paid way to much for her to have get a tooth pulled due to decay. After a few months she started to see it as quality time. She has a sensitive stomach too and brushing daily makes sure that we keep control of decay from stomach acid.
karisaamy karisaamy 9 years
My parent's dog has some bad teeth. She's gotten her teeth professionlly cleaned a few times and she gets her teeth brushed once a week with liver flavored toothpaste.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
If it doesn't go away after time I'd take him to the vet. He may have a serious problem. Periodontal Disease is the #1 disease in dogs and bad breath is one sign that your dog may be suffering.
mimosa1028 mimosa1028 9 years
This is a great tip, one thing I do for me pet is give her lots of bone to chew on. My dog, Rizzo, is always chewing on a bone (DentaBones are great) or some rawhide and she has always left the vet with nothing but praises on her teeth and fresh breath.
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