Behavior Tip of the Month
You'll Wonder Where The Yellow Went
I try to brush my dog's teeth but it is unbelievable how strongly he can hold his jaws together. I can't pry open his mouth. Can you help me?
Please don't give up. As Dr. Bruce Persky of San Carlos Veterinary Hospital says, "brushing your dog's teeth is important. It prevents plaque, gum disease, loss of teeth and even infections of the heart ."
If you have a young puppy or an older dog who hates the tooth brush in her mouth, try the following suggestions:
1. Begin this program when your dog is hungry (before meals)
2. Buy freeze-dried liver (sold in pet stores) and put chunks of it in the food processor until you have liver powder.
3. Dip your toothbrush in water and then in the liver powder.
4. Put the toothbrush under your dog's nose. They usually lick it.
5. Repeat this step many times daily until your dog gets excited at the sight and smell of the toothbrush.
6. Occasionally touch a tooth while she's licking the toothbrush.
7. Touch a tooth more often.
8. Gently swipe 2 teeth , then 3 etc.
9. When she tolerates the brush in her mouth, change the mixture to 3/4 liver and 1/4 toothpaste.
10. The next week switch to 1/2 of each, then to 3/4 toothpaste to 1/4 liver. You get the idea.
11. Progress SLOWLY. Never use force unless you want your dog to hate toothbrushing and perhaps fear you.
12. Be PATIENT and progress by using baby steps.
Dogs learn to love something by good experiences with it. They learn to hate things when they equate them with fear and force (just like humans ).
Force is fast but learning to love takes time.
Here's to LOVE and clean teeth
Best Friend Behavior Counseling and Training
San Diego, Ca.
"Positively teaching pets and their people since 1977"
Do you have a question for Carole? You can reach her at this email address - firstname.lastname@example.org Perhaps she will use it in an upcoming article on this Web site.
The information contained on this site is in no way intended to replace that of proper veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment.
It is meant to provide resource, so that we can better understand canine health related issues.