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5 Tips For Pups Who Hate Dog Dental Care

| Published on January 17, 2018

What’s the big deal with dog dental care?

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) President, Dr. Ted Cohn, stated that although daily tooth brushing is advised for the best dog dental care, only about 2 percent of dog owners follow through.

The most common reasons people don’t brush their dog’s teeth:

  • My dog hates it and puts up a fight or fuss.
  • I don’t have the time to do it.
  • They get kibble, dog biscuits, and/or a chew toy so they don’t need to brush.

And now the reality of those statements:

  • You can slowly train a dog to accept, and even enjoy oral care.
  • You can make the time if it means saving your dog’s life is important.
  • Expecting a real cleaning from anything other than a specified dental product isn’t a reality. It is like us eating pretzels and expecting them to clean our teeth.

Periodontal disease can turn into a number of more serious issues. A friend of ours had a Yorkie who developed mouth cancer from it. They didn’t administer a dental plan and ended up with a broken heart and large vet bills. What was the most crushing part was that these issues were preventable with intentional care.

Home oral hygiene can make a tremendous difference in your dog’s comfort and health. There are several home care oral hygiene options available. Anything you can do to help prevent plaque and tartar accumulation will pay big dividends.  

What is the alternative- what happens if this is neglected?

Once dental issues escalate to the point where action needs to be taken, a dental cleaning is usually scheduled at the vet. Dental cleanings are expensive, and not everyone has the means to do them. Some pets are also unable to be put under anesthesia for various reasons and every time an animal is put under, there are associated risks.

So… let’s talk preventative maintenance 🙂 With a good plan you will increase the quality of life for your pup. It is not hard  – it just takes consistency and patience in developing a dog dental care routine.

1. Warm them up to a dog dental care routine/practice.

If  you haven’t cleaned (brushed, wiped, sprayed,etc.) your dog’s teeth before they aren’t going to be savvy to it. Some pushback more than others. The key is to make the experience pleasant. Start by simply setting a time (every day or every other day) to spend a few minutes opening your pup’s mouth and touching their teeth. No cleaning – just get them used to your presence and treat them when you are done.

Dogs will get pretty wise to the fact they allow you to touch their teeth and get a treat. Some will be fine pretty quickly while others will take a bit – try to do this for a couple weeks before you start actually cleaning them.

2. Select a good doggy toothpaste and toothbrush (not human).

You will need a toothpaste and toothbrush made specifically for dogs. DO NOT give them human toothpaste as it can make them sick or cause reactions. The great news is that most retail pet stores have flavors your dog will go nuts for – liver, beef, etc. It makes it more like a treated experience. Check in your local store, or the  iHeartDogs Store dog dental care section!

3. Dog dental care takes time.

Start one side first at a comfortable pace. Don’t brush too fast or too hard. Easy does it. One trick is to brush one side, give them a treat and then brush the other side followed by a treat. It gives them something to look forward too and over time becomes something they look forward too.

4. Offer dental sticks as part of your dog dental care upkeep plan

Brushing your dog’s teeth at some interval is super important because the contact and friction removes plaque and other particles. Alternating between brushing and other dental products (like dental sticks) is an option as well. Dental sticks are made to be a consistency that is optimal for chewing and removing particles from doggy teeth. Your plan for dental health will 100% depend on your dog and their specific hygiene. If you can swap a dental stick for a treat – you can win all day long.

( offers a dental stick that is not only great for teeth but has probiotics that are important for a health gut. You can read more here. )

5. Adding dental spray and dental wipes can go really far in keeping up with your dog dental care routine.

Think about them as an enhanced “top off”. These products are great for keeping optimal cleanliness plus they are super easy to administer. Because of how much of an additional impact these products can have, their popularity is on the rise and with them healthier dog teeth 🙂

Project Paws offers both of these products and you can see more here.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional. 

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