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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.

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