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What Should I Do When My Dog Won't Let Me Brush Its Teeth?

3 minutes
What Should I Do When My Dog Won't Let Me Brush Its Teeth?
Last update: 20 April, 2018

In these cases, a lot of empathy and extreme patience must be used to have the animal remain calm. The owner should use gentleness and positive reinforcement so the pet doesn´t get scrared and associates oral hygiene with something good.

There’s no doubt that our dogs love us a lot, but once they see us trying to take care of their hygiene with something in our hands, they run away. Take a look at the follow helpful tips if your dog doesn’t let you brush its teeth.

Tips for brushing a disobedient dog’s teeth

Choose the right moment

We already know dogs often need to be deceived to get what we want from them. If your dog doesn’t let you brush its teeth, wait for for the right moment when your dog is calm. Perhaps when it’s in your lap, and begin petting it near the mouth.

Start examining its teeth, and then try cleaning them with a gauze pad covered with some toothpaste. It will be much easier in this position.

Choose a method

There are two ways you can brush your dog’s teeth. One is with gauze pad and the other is with a toothbrush. The best one to start with is the gauze pad method. Especially if the dog doesn’t let you brush his teeth.

The gauze pad creates less pressure and may be more comfortable. Needless to say, it is less effective than a toothbrush, but it will be enough to introduce dental hygiene to your pet.

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If you decide to use a toothbrush, choose one that has soft-bristles and with an anatomical shape to adapt to your pet’s teeth.  This would be much easier for the dog to accept that brushing its teeth will start being a part of its life.


The next step is toothpaste. Maybe your dog won’t let you brush its teeth because the smell or taste of the toothpaste is too strong. Remember that you should never use human toothpaste on your dog. There is a great variety of toothpastes at veterinary shops. Some are smellless or flavorless so your dog will allow it much more easily.

How to brush

Beware of the intensity you use when cleaning your dog’s teeth. Especially if it is the first time you do it. Try to be gentle and don’t stop petting and talking to it with a calm tone of voice . Your pet will feel relaxed and will be more willing to let you brush its teeth next time.

Give it a treat

When dogs refuse to do something it is because they relate it to something bad. When you have finished brushing your dog’s teeth, don’t forget to reward it.

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Give your dog one of its favorite treats or a piece of food that it loves. That way, it will associate the process as something positive and in the future it may even come to you with the tooothbrush in its mouth.

Pet it

In addition to an actual reward, a dog needs your recognition to feel good and know that it has your approval. Pet it and use words of encouragement, telling it is a good dog, how well it has behaved and how much you love it. Surely your dog will thank you and it will be more willing to show you its teeth in a nice manner.

You’ll see you can get anything from your pet with patience and a little canine psychology. Effort, consistency and affection are the keys.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.