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Everyone knows how important it is to keep yourself and your family healthy so they have a shot at a long and prosperous life. Eating well and making healthier choices always makes me feel like I’m doing something wonderful. While I’m making smarter choices by preparing healthier foods and going on long walks with the fiance, it’s hard to forget about our other favorite walking companion.
If you’ve never dropped by my about me page, perhaps you haven’t been formally introduced to this little dude. His name is Beanie and he’s our feisty 9 pound miniature dachshund. (For any other doxie lovers, he’s a black and tan smooth haired dapple.) His favorite pastimes include destroying chew toys, barking at the neighbors and cunningly begging for treats at strategic hours throughout the day. He’s quite the stubborn little pooch.
The funny thing about dachshunds is that they are notoriously stubborn in mostly all of the things they do. It makes my job as his caretaker really interesting. He’s also stubborn in the regards of not wanting to eat certain flavors of dog food. He’s also a hoot when it comes time to brush his teeth. We think he needs to have his teeth brushed. He thinks he’d rather chew up the toothbrush so it can never brush his teeth ever again.
So you may be wondering - how in the world does brushing a stubborn dog’s teeth have anything to do with health and fitness? It has quite a bit to do with health and fitness, and I’ll get there in a minute if you bear with me!
In this house, we believe that dental health plays a big part in having a clean bill of overall health. Now, we may not get to brush the little dude’s teeth as often as we brush our own, but canine dental health is definitely important, especially since he discovers all of life’s little treasures with his mouth and teeth. (Current favorite treasures include our socks and the plastic knobs that cover toilet bowl bolts...don’t ask. He is a weird animal.)
I don’t know about you, but the big guy and I work full time jobs and feel like there isn’t enough time in the day. Tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way! So when we get out of work after a long day or have a free weekend with no plans, the last thing we want to do is bounce between several stores running errands.
So instead of having to tote our behinds to both the grocery store AND the pet supplies store (on top of all the other places we go when we run errands), it’s amazing to be able to pick up all of our healthy foods and snacks at our local Stop & Shop. Now we can load up on ingredients to make our own homemade granola or ground coffee for cold brew iced coffee as well as scoop up these delightful little Purina DentaLife daily oral care treats for Beanie. Stop & Shop also has a surprising variety of chew toys and healthy solutions for pets, so we picked a chew toy up for him as well.
In the spirit of good dental health for both humans and canines, I created a tutorial on how to brush a stubborn dog’s teeth. If your dog is also stubbornly adamant about not having his/her teeth brushed, I hope this tutorial helps you keep their teeth squeaky clean in between regular veterinary office visits. Anything that helps keep pups healthy* is alright with us.
How to Brush a Stubborn Dog’s Teeth:
Step 1 - If possible, choose a time of day where your pooch will be tired and less likely to become annoyed at having his/her teeth brushed. Choose an area that your pup feels comfortable in, but in closed enough quarters so that he/she won’t run away if they find the tooth brushing session unpleasant. We chose to use 2 people to complete this task. I was the brusher and my assistant was the “dog tamer”.
Step 2 - Have your supplies ready. We picked up a toothbrush and toothpaste kit that included a two sided toothbrush with different size brushes. It also included a finger brush.
Step 3 - Introduce the toothbrush to your dog before applying the toothpaste. They will usually be less likely to reject the fully prepared toothbrush if they have been previously introduced to the toothbrush without the toothpaste on it. We let him sniff it a little bit and then gently placed it in his mouth.
Step 4 - After your dog has been sufficiently acquainted with the toothbrush, apply toothpaste to the brush. Gently lift your dog’s upper cheek/lip area to expose their teeth. Begin by brushing one side at a time. If necessary, take a short break in between sides so that your pooch doesn’t become overwhelmed.
Step 5 - If possible, work quickly. If pauses are necessary, follow these up with a lot of praise and pets so that your dog associates tooth brushing as a good experience and not a traumatic one.
Step 6 - Wipe off any excess with a paper towel so you don’t find toothpaste slobber someplace in the house later. Praise your stubborn pup for a job well done and celebrate a successful tooth brushing session with a Purina DentaLife dental chew!
We love that the DentaLife chews are supposed to help keep Beanie’s teeth clean in between brushings. He loves the flavor of the chew and is none the wiser about having his teeth cleaned while he enjoys a little treat!
How do you try to keep your pets healthy? Let me know in the comments!
* A quick note: Not to be taken as professional veterinary advice. Please consult your veterinarian for recommendations and practices appropriate for your pet.
Allie | In This Kitchen
Oh my gosh, he is such a cute pupper. Growing up we never brushed my dogs' teeth (or, very rarely) and I kind of regret it. When I get a pooch in a few years I'm gonna try my best to get them to cooperate!
Thanks so much, Allie! We like to think he's cute (sometimes) too 🙂 Dogs are great though!!
What a little sweetheart Beanie is, I love doxies! Don't have a dog myself but would love to have one in the future - love your blog btw!
Thanks so much, Victoria!! It's funny because I used to really dislike doxies because one bit me as a child and I spent YEARS thinking they were the worst dogs. This little fur log taught me otherwise 🙂
Stacey | The Sugar Coated Cottage
Beanie is sooo cute! We don't have a dog (yet) but I remember my folks trying to brush our dogs teeth and what a challenge it was, great tips! Take care.
Thanks, Stacey! He's a ham and will do anything to get pets and treats from just about anyone. Our usual mail carrier actually delivers him a treat when we're home to get the mail as she's delivering it. You should totally get a dog (if you're ready for the commitment!!)
Meghan | Fox and Briar
Your pup is so cute! I have two cats ad I'm pretty sure that they would never let me brush their teeth - they are pretty stubborn too! Great tips here!
Thanks, Meghan! My mom and dad have a cat too and any time we ever tried to even go near his teeth he gave us the good ol' snarly face. I suppose sometimes it's better to just give them the dental treats 🙂
Lynn | The Road to Honey
Well if you ask me, it looks like Mr. Beanie is quite the good boy when you brush his little chip chops.
Rather than use a toothbrush, we usually keep our puppies teeth clean with a chlorhexidine rinse (she has always had really bad teeth) and yearly dental cleanings at the vet. Plus, we try to give her dental treats. Our vet also recommended a dollop of yogurt on her food to help with bad breath. We tried toothbrushing with the dog and cat. . .but the current routine seems to work better for us. Perhaps if they were as cooperative as Beanie we would have an extra couple of brushes in the toothbrush holder. 😉
Haha thank you, Lynn! He may have needed quite a bit of bribing to get the job done 🙂 those are really good tips too - I never heard about the yogurt! I will definitely have to try that!
great post! we haven't attempted to brush our pooch's teeth yet, and it isn't something i'm looking forward to doing! thanks for the helpful tips. 🙂
Thanks so much, Grace! It's a little bit of a process, but I'd like to think it's worth it if his breath smells a little better 🙂
My mom always says that if she ever gets a dog it'll be one of these guys. Great tips!
Thank you! They're adorable little creatures but are sometimes a big pain in the butt! We have a mini and he's usually really great. The perfect size for a warm little lap dog 🙂
Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks
What a cute and fun post! Beanie is adorable and he doesn't seem to mind having his teeth brushed at all!
Thanks, Rachelle!! He put up a little bit of a fight at first, but I think he knows there are treats in it for him if he complies 🙂
Oral care is super important in dogs, dental disease can lead to heart failure, the number one cause of death in dogs. We take our pup for professional (veterinarian) cleanings about every other year, choose dental healthy treats, and even use bacteria fighting water additives. Of course brushing is always the hardest! #client
I agree completely, Jenna! We love the dental treats especially because it helps clean his teeth without seeming invasive. And he enjoys them!
David @ Spiced
Beanie sounds like a real character! (I love small dogs, by the way!) He reminds me of our little Ethel. I'm nearly certain that brushing Ethel's teeth would be darned near impossible. Really good tips here, though...and I'm kinda tempted to give it a shot tonight. She needs a good teeth brushing! Thanks for sharing about those DentaLife chews. I'll have to grab some next time I'm out! 🙂
I've never met Ethel, but she sounds like a real cutie. Beanie is quite the character and he never goes down without a fight getting his teeth brushed! Here's to hoping our pups let us brush their teeth more often 🙂
Dawn - Girl Heart Food
Your little guy is adorable!! He sounds a lot like my fur baby....barking at strangers, chewing up toys to no end and always looking for treats....always 😀 He doesn't mind getting his teeth brushed; he actually loves the flavour of the tooth paste. He is definitely not fussy, though, on getting his hair cut. It's definitely a struggle to get that done. And he is less than 20lbs, but he is so strong. He takes both hubby & I to give him a sensible hair cut. Those dental chews sounds pretty interesting! Clean their teeth and treat all in one 😉 Win win! Hope you're having a great week!
Thanks, Dawn! He's a little ridiculous sometimes. I'm so glad we don't have to give him a haircut - if it's anything like clipping his nails, it's much easier for me to bring him to the pet store and have them do it there 🙂 Wishing you a great week too!