My dog is six and a half years old and had to have her teeth cleaned about a year ago. Since then, I had started brushing her teeth almost every day, as the vet suggested. Now she will not let me get near her mouth to brush her teeth. She doesn’t growl or try to bite, but has clearly grown tired of me brushing them. Are there other options out there to insure her teeth are being cleaned without having to brush them?
– Jennifer, Mineola, New York
While brushing your dog’s teeth with an enzymatic toothpaste made just for dogs is the number one way to maintain good oral hygiene, there are other oral hygiene options available to keep her mouth healthy and clean.
There are dental sprays, wipes, and gels that you can apply to her teeth to reduce plaque and act as a preventative. There are dental toys with ridges that act like floss and massage gums; daily dental treats in the form of oral hygiene chews or dental sticks; and even additives you can add to her water bowl. There is even dental pet food she can eat that will help reduce plaque build-up. (Many of these same products are available for cats too.)
Try using a finger brush or gauze wrapped around your finger instead of a toothbrush to see if that is more acceptable to her. Your dog’s sudden dislike of the toothbrush may also be related to a sensitive tooth or gum issue, so rule that out with your veterinarian as well.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal