#1 Find the time
Try to pick a time when your dog is calm and relaxed and make it part of your regular routine with them, then gradually build up frequency. It is a good idea to start this practice at a young age (even with clean teeth) to condition your dog being touched around their muzzle and familiar with a finger brush or toothbrush in their mouth.
#2 Get a brush
A child’s toothbrush is the recommended size for dogs over 10kg, and a finger brush for smaller breeds unless you purchase a specific dog toothbrush. Flavoured dog friendly toothpastes are available. You should not use your own toothpaste in your dog’s mouth as it is not suitable for them.
#3 Get comfortable
Make sure your dog is comfortable and try kneeling or sitting in front or to the side of them. Try to avoid standing above your dog, holding them down, or taking a threatening stance as this can be intimidating and make your dog anxious. This may take multiple attempts until your dog is comfortable with this step. You may need to work on mastering each of the following steps over time. If your dog is showing signs of stress or discomfort then you should not continue and we recommend speaking with your vet about how to go about it.
#4 Practice makes perfect
Before starting with a brush, get your dog used to lifting up the top lip. Do this often with no brush, then apply mild pressure with your finger on your dog’s gums to get them used to the pressure. Start rubbing your finger along the gum line on both sides and both upper and lower jaw. Practice this a few times before introducing a toothbrush.
#5 Taste Test
If you decide to use a pet friendly toothpaste, give your dog a sample of the paste to get them used to the taste and texture. Give this as a reward to encourage positive reinforcement and the desired behaviour. It also allows you to identify if you need to find a toothpaste they like.
Once your dog is comfortable with the above steps you can use a toothbrush… to continue reading this article from Purina, click here.