Hi everyone. I was wondering if anyone had advice on how to effectively brush a dog’s teeth. When I first adopted Lily, who is ~3, the vet said that there was some plaque on her teeth, not enough to need a professional cleaning, but that we should brush her teeth. Well, I decided to wait a week or two because she was new to our house. Then, I took the doggy toothbrush I had bought for her and put some TropiClean toothpaste on it. I put it near her mouth, and somehow expected her to open it. Not surprisingly, she didn’t. I then searched google for “how to brush a dog’s teeth” and I found something by the ASPCA about how to slowly acclimate them to having their teeth brushed with treats. I began to touch her teeth while she licked peanut butter off my hand, and then tried lifting her lips and giving her treats. Now, two months later, she has made a ton of progress, though i have not been able to really brush her teeth with a toothbrush. She will let me lift her lips for a few seconds and open her mouth for a split second as long as I am giving her treats, or let me rub toothpaste on her teeth. Sometimes she lets me touch the brush to her mouth. She is not a huge fan of any of this, but tolerates it. I also changed toothpaste, I now use CET poultry favored enzymatic toothpaste which she loves.
I give Lily “dental” Nylabones to chew, the flexible non-edible kind. These actually work for her, she chews them but doesn’t destroy them to much. I kind of doubt it helps that much though. She also sometimes gets edible chews, such as Himalayan chews. I know RMBs can help with teeth, but neither me nor the rest of my family is quite ready to use raw bones. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on her getting more accustomed to tooth brushing, because while she is making progress I am not sure if I will ever really be able to thoroughly clean her teeth. Thanks!
The easiest thing for me was to forego the toothbrush and use a piece of gauze wrapped around my index finger and then just rub the surface of the teeth and treat.
Okay, thanks, I’ll have to try that.Bobby dogMember
Do you use a toothpaste or anything else on the gauze or just dry gauze?
I have used doggie toothpastes, but my dog hated it. Then I tried baking soda, better but not great. Then I used just the gauze, that worked great. My current dogs do not get brushed and have no build up, so I don’t do any of those, just bones.
When I got Angel, she was 4 1/2 years old and had to get her teeth cleaned every year. My vet was her old owner, so she just took her to work and did them. She is 12 1/2 now and hasn’t needed her teeth done since I got her 8 years ago. Gideon is 3 1/2 and Micah is 2 1/2, neither has any build up at allNaturellaMember
I am so surprised Bruno doesn’t have anything either. He is now a little over 1.5 years… His teeth look great, except for 3 small brown spots on his canines (of all teeth), but that’s about it… The vet said he doesn’t need anything.
We used to brush his teeth weekly as a puppy, then stopped for a few months (lazy us), then started again recently to do them daily, then he got sick… So we haven’t picked it back up yet, but I plan to soon. We use a doggie toothbrush and he’s not a huge fan of the procedure but for the most part lets us do it. He also has a rope toy he chews on a lot, an antler, and I will put him back on RMBs once/week soon again. Does the rope help much? I had the impression that it would a bit when he pushes down on it, and I also have used it to rub on his teeth too, while playing tug – he doesn’t even notice I’m “brushing” his teeth with the rope, lol, he’s so into the game. I guess those have helped keep his teeth ok for now. I will also try the gauze method, may be less stressful than the brush, who knows.
Recently I started using just coconut oil, baking soda, stevia, and a few drops of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap as a homemade toothpaste, so I was wondering if something like that (minus the soap and the stevia, but with some other essential oil maybe?) would work for Bruno? Or is it really not necessary?Bobby dogMember
Thanks BC. I don’t have to brush Bobby’s teeth at this time either (at least for now), but I am passing the gauze idea on to a friend of mine that has difficulty with her dog’s teeth. The dog might be more cooperative doing it with her finger instead of a brush. I am going to try it on one of my cat’s too.
Lily LOVES rope toys, in fact I just finished a tuggy session with her new rope. I think it maybe helps clean her teeth a little, but most of the plaque I can see (which isn’t that much, but is definitely there.) is on the gum line of her canine teeth, which pretty much only brushing can remove. She is currently eating kibble, though I will soon start mixing in wet. I definitely no long believe the myth of dry food cleaning a dog’s teeth, though I don’t think wet food cleans it either. 😀
- This reply was modified 7 years ago by Dog_Obsessed.
When I rub the rope on Bruno’s teeth I try to get as close to the gumline as possible! LoL.
And you’re right, no food besides RMBs actually cleans teeth… So don’t sweat over what to feed, just give them a quick brush with a gauze after her last meal/treat of the day. 🙂
Rope toys act like dental floss for some dogs. Coconut oil is great for brushing teeth. And if you want that just brushed feeling to last longer for yourself, try oil pulling. After you brush, swish coconut oil through your teeth, just like you used to do with Jello, for a few minutes. Spit it into the trash so you don’t clog the sink if it solidifies. I never get build up in that hard to reach back corner anymore.
Thanks! I was also was originally looking at edible “dental chews,” but I have heard they are are really no substitute for brushing and can be dangerous if the dog ingests a large piece. Plus, they are often high-calorie and the ingredients suck in most of them.
The ingredients really are nasty in most of them.
Yeah, I kept getting adds for DentaSticks so I finally looked them up. The ingredients were horrible. I guess it is better to give treats with bad ingredients once and a while then to give food with bad ingredients every day, but I prefer neither one.
Too true. And if someone is absolutely not going to give raw bones or brush their dogs teeth, I would rather they give lousy ingredients as often as necessary, than have their dog suffer with bad teeth or undergo anesthesia on a yearly basis. So those things do have their place.Mom2CavsMember
I also use gauze to brush my gang’s teeth. I like Earthbath’s dental wipes, too, but they are kind of expensive….so mostly, I use gauze wrapped around my finger. My dogs have smaller mouths and it is easier than a brush.jakes momMember
Jake tolerates the small finger brush better than a big toothbrush. I’ve been using pet chix flavored paste but may try coco oil, he already loves it, has a bit every day. And I’ve started giving an occasional RMB, too.
I think with gauze or a finger brush, you are more aware of how much pressure you are applying, so it’s more comfortable for the dog.
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