Often people tell me they don't have time to brush their dog's teeth or "he won't let me." I've worked on dogs of many ages. Brushing only needs to be 2 minutes or less a day.
A 2 year old retriever had a cavity so bad it ate half her tooth away. The saddest part is that it is her molar. The main tooth used for eating. A 2 year old pomeranian lost a tooth from her gums no longer being able to hold it in. A 6 year old labradoodle had his teeth cleaned professionally by a vet and within the year already had the tartar build up of a 6 year old again. These dogs wouldn't have had these issues if pet owners were told a few simple tips to teach their dogs to enjoy brushing time and molar cleaning time.
Tips and tricks for brushing:
First off, fluoride is poisonous to dogs and can lead to sudden death within 24 hours if the dog has toxic levels. Always by toothpaste that is fluoride and xylitol free.
You can buy a doggie toothbrush or human.
When bristles start falling off it needs to be replaced.
Use diluted tea tree oil to prevent gingivitis and periodontal disease.
How to teach your pup to like brushing his teeth:
Before you treat give a verbal signal of a "Click" sound or "Yes!" Being excited and happy will get you far in this game.
Tell your dog "it's game time!"
First, put the toothbrush on the ground in a closed room with no distractions other than yourself.
Give the pup a treat every time he looks at the toothbrush. You will know when your dog is ready for the next level when he is consistently looking at the toothbrush for a treat.
Now slow the treat giving for looking, with the toothbrush still on the floor, give your dog a treat when he moves towards the toothbrush. Any small movement in its general direction should be rewarded. Eventually, only reward for being very close to it.
Next you want him to touch the toothbrush. So again, slow the treating for getting close and reward highly when he touches the toothbrush. When he is doing this consistently, it is time for him to move to the next step.
We want him to put his mouth on it. If you struggle with this go back to the last step he was good at and reward, then say "Game over! Good job!" Go put peanut or almond butter on the bristles. Call him back into your distraction-less room and say "Let's play the game again!"
Put the toothbrush back on the ground or hold it in your hand. Say "okay!" when he starts licking away tell him "yes!" many times as he licks away at the toothbrush. No need for treats here you made the toothbrush a treat.
When he is consistently licking the bristles move the brush against his gums gently and slowly. Now say "yes!" again when he doesn't move away when against his gums, even for a second. Repeat this shaping process until he loves the toothbrush. Then repeat process with doggie safe toothpaste.
Congratulations you shaped your dog into loving tooth brushing! Brush at night so you remove bacteria from sitting in his mouth all night long.
How to protect the molars from food after eating:
This one dogs love because it is very affectionate. After he is done eating, rub his closed mouth (parallelly located below his eyes) up and down and tell him something like "Your a good boy!" "Yes!, good boy eats his food". Lift his lip to see if all the food has been dispersed away from the molars. If no, repeat.
Give your dog hard dental bones like Nylabone or antlers:
We do offer some of these bones in our store. Make sure no teeth wiggle before giving hard bones. If a tooth wiggles brush daily till it is strong again.
DO NOT GIVE YOUR DOG GREENIES! They cause green tartar and can lead to a dog with gingivitis losing his front teeth. Be careful with cooked dog bones with marrow inside as some dogs with break the bone into sharp triangle pieces that can tear the intestinal wall.
Use dental water additive. Make sure you find one that says "prevents tartar build up" as the others will just freshen breath.
*Please note that if your dog has tartar build up, brushing will not remove this build up. This will need to be scrapped off by a professional. Yes, we do offer this service.