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Trouble Brushing Teeth....suggestions Please


Guest DeniseL
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Hi guys! So we are going on 2 1/2 months with Miami, he had a rocky start with us, laser corn surgery, very nervous, shell shocked for first 2 months, us constantly changing bandages and booties. Anyway, corns are finally somewhat under control (hulling and homeopathic tincture and some chinese herbs) and he is really coming out of his shell and starting to just be a happy pup. When he got his hulling yesterday, the vet gave him a once over and told us he had tarter building up on his teeth. He had a thorough cleaning before her came home, but I admit with the challenges of his adjustment, we have not kept up with his teeth. He has growled and snapped at us a few times when we were doing various paw procedures, booties, soaking, etc. Of course we use a muzzle. Mostly he has been a sport, considering he was frightened, in pain, nervous, and really had no idea who we even were...he also hates the tooth brush or us trying to put our fingers in his mouth. No interest in the yummy toothpaste that our girl loves. He snaps at the toothbrush, not in a real scary way, but def letting us know he does not want it to continue. I imagine in time he may trust us more and allow it, but what can I do in the meantime? Any non invasive suggestions? Or tips to get him more comfortable with us touching his teeth? He really is developing into such a sweet, playful boy now that his personality is coming out, I just want him to learn he can trust us...

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Try one of the gels or sprays, like Biotene for Dogs, or Petzlife.

http://www.petzlife.com/catalog/oral-care-products/oral-care-gel-peppermint.html

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Put some peanut butter or squeeze cheese on the toothbrush in the beginning. You can gradually desensitize him to letting you touch his lips, mouth, and teeth by starting slow, and using special treats.(tiny pieces) and praise to reward him for cooperating with the handling.

 

Start with something that he won't object to too much - this starting point depends on the dog. For example, if he's ok with you touching his lips, start there. Touch his lips, then immediately give him a treat. Only do short sessions and several repetitions before you stop. Once he seems to look forward to this interaction, proceed to lifting his lips a little before giving the treat. Then touch his teeth, etc, etc. Just remember to go slow, watch his body language, and make sure you're staying within his comfort zone.

 

Once you're at the point of lifing/pulling back on his lips and touching his teeth, you can incorporate the brush with peanut butter/cheese. Or if it's easier for you (and you are fairly certain he won't bite), use a finger brush or gauze wrapped around your finger instead of the toothbrush.

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I've never brushed George's teeth.

 

I had his teeth cleaned when I first got him (and he had a rough time with the anesthesia) and I haven't touched them since. I give him raw bones on the weekends, and they're awesome. Unless you have one of those dogs with a chronically disgusting mouth, I'd just back off for now. You haven't had the dog very long, and it's really not worth it at this time to pile on stress.


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Certainly it might be worth backing off for now, but personally I wouldn't advocate NOT brushing. If your dog never needs it, you're very lucky; in my experience most do. :(

 

When he's learned to settle and trust you a bit more, here's what I'd do:

 

Get a tootbrush and try a different brand of toothpaste. Put some on the brush and offer it to him to lick. If he does praise him, but do not attempt to get the toothbrush into his mouth, just let him lick at the paste till it's gone, and then it's session over. Do that until he's comfortable with it, then try skipping to step 4 below. Or go to step two if he's not interested in eating the toothpaste.

 

Step two is to carry the toothbrush without paste, and have it in your hand while petting him. Once he's stopped looking around nervously to see what you're doing with it, begin just touching him in a non-threatening place with it. I usually use the shoulder, because he can see what you're doing. Just touch him - repeatedly if he'll let you - and then that's it, session over.

 

Next step (Step three) is to bring the toothbrush nearer to his mouth and repeat step two. Do not attempt to get the brush in his mouth yet.

 

Next (Step four), put toothpaste on the brush and touch it to his lips. Do this without holding on to him. If he's happy with his lips being touched while he's (hopefully) trying to eat the paste, you can start holding him by the face as if you were going to brush his teeth, but just continue to touch him with the brush around the lip area. Yes, he'll get messy. Likely you will, too. :P

 

Step five, holding him more firmly, very briefly push the brush gently inside his mouth and then out again, quick. Do this several times in each session. Or you can tap a tooth with it, if his mouth is open. It's more or less the same thing, level-wise. If he tries to wriggle out of your hold, let him - it's important that he doesn't feel trapped.

 

After this, just progress as far as you can each time, touching and then brushing his teeth very, very briefly. Then progressing to brushing his teeth for longer and longer each time until you are actually doing a good job of it.

 

Each stage should be repeated as many times as it takes. At NO stage should you be forcing anything on him, and if at any time he freaks out, go back a stage - or even to square one. And of course, after each and every session - no matter how well or badly he has done - he should get a LOT of praise and a tasty treat. I suggest a cube of cheese. :)

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The plural of anecdote is not data

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So, how long should the daily tooth brushing session take? I mean once they allow you to brush. I can use an electric toothbrush and I basically buzz over all the teeth and that's it. It doesn't take very long at all. Is that enough?

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Thanks for the feedback! I always get such great info. I'm going to take the suggestion to start slowly and proceed at a rate he is comfy with....I want to take really good care of their teeth. With my bridge love, Maya, I was young and uneducated on dental health, and boy, did it cause problems for her later on...never again!!

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Thanks for the feedback! I always get such great info. I'm going to take the suggestion to start slowly and proceed at a rate he is comfy with....I want to take really good care of their teeth. With my bridge love, Maya, I was young and uneducated on dental health, and boy, did it cause problems for her later on...never again!!

Good for you!

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So, how long should the daily tooth brushing session take? I mean once they allow you to brush. I can use an electric toothbrush and I basically buzz over all the teeth and that's it. It doesn't take very long at all. Is that enough?

 

Are the teeth clean, right up to the gumline? I mean smooth, shiny clean, all the way to the back teeth? If so, you're doing a great job. If not, brush for longer!! ;)

 

Thanks for the feedback! I always get such great info. I'm going to take the suggestion to start slowly and proceed at a rate he is comfy with....I want to take really good care of their teeth. With my bridge love, Maya, I was young and uneducated on dental health, and boy, did it cause problems for her later on...never again!!

Good for you!

 

:thumbs-up

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The plural of anecdote is not data

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