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By: Steve Weber
With your dog's head in your lap, hold it's muzzle. With your other hand stroke it a few times and then lift its upper lip, exposing the teeth. Do this gently a few times to get your dog used to this new area being handled. Each time it lets you lift the gum without shaking, give a treat!

Do this repeatedly for the next few days until your dog gets used to your hands being over his muzzle and lifting its lip. Next, put a dab of toothpaste on your finger and let your dog smell and lick it. Then put more on its gums and teeth. Although it's unlikely, if your dog doesn't like it try something you know it will like and continue rubbing it gently on its teeth and gums. Later, once it's comfortable, switch and use the dog toothpaste.

I really don't think they will enjoy mint-flavored toothpaste as much, though you can try! Poultry-flavor or beef seem to be the best. Each time you put a little toothpaste on its teeth and gums reward it with a treat, together with your regular verbal love-talk! It will learn that this new experience is neither a threat nor painful. Do this for the next few days to get it used to the procedure.

With a small piece of the gauze or dental pad, dab on a little bit of toothpaste and gently rub your dog's gums and teeth. Slow, circular movements will not frighten your dog. Spend just a few seconds doing this to begin with. Praise your dog and give it a treat. Do this for the next few days until you believe your pet is ready for dog teeth cleaning.

Time for cleaning your dog's teeth: Fill up one side of the toothbrush with the dog's toothpaste. Get positioned comfortably with your dog's head on your lap. With one hand hold his muzzle and with your finger gently lift his lip on one side. With a circular motion, gently brush the teeth, going down as far as the gum line. As your dog licks off the dog toothpaste dab a little more on the brush and continue where you left off, making sure you get all the way along the side onto the back teeth.

Have a little break, give your treat and do the same on the other side. Don't hurry, be gentle and loving. Dogs are creatures of habit like us, and daily dog teeth cleaning would be a very good thing. Managing this every day will be a delightful habit to start. You'll both be spending quality time together and it's beneficial and fun.

A few minutes of your time isn't much when you think of what you'll save in veterinary fees and your dog's discomfort and pain. Please remember that this is a fun time for you and your dog. Don't forget to reward it often! With just a few days practice and a little patience, your dog will cooperate and may even anticipate his teeth cleaning. Kissing your dog on his muzzle will be a treat for you too...no more bad breath and a clean set of fine china!


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