Sunday, January 20, 2013

When Your Dog Hates Getting Its Teeth Brushed

Cookie and Gigi

More often than not, Cookie and Gigi (pictured above) are tolerant of getting their teeth brushed. Cookie is reluctant sometimes but considering she's accumulated quite a bit of tartar since her last dental cleaning, she still is a good sport. I have to get in the habit of doing it more frequently, because the longer you go between teeth cleanings, the more potential there is for bleeding. It's really not much different than humans.

Gigi tends to be a little afraid, but will come around when push comes to shove. Luckily, she doesn't have much tartar, so I don't spend as much time on her teeth as I do Cookie's.


The true rebel of the bunch is Homer (pictured right). For some reason, when he hears the drawer opening and the sound of the toothbrush being pulled out, he can't run and hide fast enough. He thinks that I am out to get him. If he's approached with a toothbrush in hand, he takes off for shelter.

Today, when I went to brush the dogs' teeth, Homer found his safety zone quickly enough like always. So I waited a while and then decided I would try again. I slowly opened the drawer. Instead of removing the dreaded red toothbrush, I took the tube of toothpaste and squeezed a dab of toothpaste onto my index finger. When I approached Homer, he barked and growled because I startled him. When he was looking at me, I extended my index finger so he could smell and lick the toothpaste. This was progress as far as I was concerned, because he didn't run.

Here are some tips to make your toothbrush time successful:

  • Be Consistent! Dogs will start to be become more desensitized to having their teeth brush with consistency. When you slack off, the dogs will think that having their teeth brushed isn't so important. If you brush your dog's teeth, a few times a week, it will benefit them in the long run.
  • Be Gentle! I always tend to do something in full force, but there are times that shouldn't be the case. Tooth time for dogs falls into that category.
  • Be Patient. Some dogs aren't accustomed to having their mouths touched by their owners. Every little step gets you one step closer to building that trust between master and dog.

Let's Discuss!

How do you deal with tough dogs when it comes to clean teeth time?

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