It’s probably not hard to imagine why your dog might not want a plastic item covered in weirdly textured paste shoved into her mouth as you pry it open. To make the process of brushing easier, you can get her used to the brush, the paste, and the handling of her mouth before you get to the actual brushing. It helps to choose a location where positive things happen to her, like the room where she is fed. That way, she won’t associate one area with getting her teeth brushed. Then, you can get her used to the brush and toothpaste (at least the smell of it). Put the toothbrush on the floor with her toys, on her bed, on the counter—wherever she will see it and get used to it. Next step: the mouth. If your dog has been aggressive when you try to handle her mouth, or is very fearful, it’s a good idea to ask your vet how to proceed. Otherwise, pick a time when your dog is hungry, grab a handful of treats, put your dog on her leash and sit on the floor with her. Pet her body, moving toward her chin. Pet her there, then feed her a treat. Do this a few more times. If she seems relaxed, you can move on to the next step: pet her chin, then run your hand up over the top of her muzzle. Then it’s treat time. Repeat two times. If your dog is relaxed and cheerful, you can try using the toothbrush. If she starts looking concerned or frightened, go back a step. Keep using soothing words and treats. Soon, she’ll probably be happy to open up and let you brush. See? Having clean teeth doesn’t have to be a traumatic process for either you or your pooch!
If your dog still fights you tooth & nail though, Nylabone Dental Chews, Quado Bones Dog Treats, or even Rawhide Chews that soften as your dog chews are another option for plaque removal. I used to buy Virbac’s C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews for Zack, and we did not have any choking issues with this brand. I had to stop buying them for Casey simply because one of the ingredients is Poultry Digest.
And, here are 2 more dental care articles: