It’s no secret that brushing your dog’s teeth is an important part of their overall health.

Not only does it help keep their teeth clean and healthy, but it can also help prevent bad breath, tooth decay and even gum disease.

But getting your dog to accept having teeth brushed can be more of a challenge than you think.

So what do you do if your dog doesn’t let you brush their teeth?

We’ll give you ten reasons why your dog might be resisting!

10 Reasons Why My Dog Won’t Let Me Brush His Teeth

  1. Uncomfortable
  2. A Toothbrush is a strange object
  3. Not learn Clicker Training
  4. Do not like toothpaste taste
  5. Hard bristles of the toothbrush
  6. Dogs are afraid of being restrained
  7. You are not being patient enough
  8. Your approach is off
  9. He doesn’t like it when you touch his mouth
  10. Sore or Irritated Gums

1)    Uncomfortable

If your dog is uncomfortable with you touching his mouth, the thought of trying to brush his teeth could send him into a panic.

It’s important to start slowly and make him feel comfortable with you handling his gums and teeth.

You can start by giving him oral massages with your finger to get him used to have something in his mouth.

Once he’s comfortable with that, you can start introducing brushing by rubbing your finger on his teeth with a little doggie toothpaste. [1]

2)    A Toothbrush is a strange object

If your dog is nervous about you handling his mouth, he might be afraid that the toothbrush will harm him.

If this is the case, try putting the brush near him without approaching his mouth, so he gets used to seeing it.

Then try offering treats while he’s around it and while you’re holding it, so he learns that it’s not a threat.

Eventually, you can introduce it to his face once he’s comfortable, so he sees that nothing bad happens when you come close to his mouth with it. [2] [3]

3)    Not Learn Clicker Training

Clicker training is an effective way to get your dog to tolerate brushing.

A clicker is a small device that makes a distinctive sound when pressed and is often used in animal training.

Use your clicker and treats to reward your dog for allowing you to touch his mouth.

Place a treat in your hand with the most desirable part of the food show.

When the dog opens its mouth for treats, click your clicker and drop the treat into the mouth.

Repeat this exercise until your dog consistently opens its mouth when it sees the treat in front of its nose. [4]

4)    Not like the taste of toothpaste

Believe it or not, some dogs don’t like toothpaste taste.

It might have something to do with the minty flavor or the foaming action, but some dogs hate it for whatever reason.

If your dog falls into this category, you’ll need to find another way to get him to accept tooth brushing.

Try mixing a small amount of toothpaste with wet food or putting it on a treat he loves.

Once he’s used to the taste of toothpaste, you can start using it in his regular tooth brushing routine.

You can also use toothpastes with meat-flavored or peanut butter.

Dogs love the flavor and usually don’t need water to rinse it away. [5]

5)    Hard Brush Bristles

Dogs are sensitive creatures and can feel the brush’s bristles on their gums.

Use a doggy toothbrush or finger brush.

A doggy toothbrush has an angled head and soft bristles that clean teeth effectively without irritating gums.

If you’d rather use your finger as a brush, choose one designed for gentle cleaning with an extra-large applicator tip for easy grasping.

Use short sessions at first, and don’t try to clean all of your dog’s teeth in one outing since. [6]

6)    Dogs are afraid of being restrained

Your dog may not let you brush his teeth because he’s afraid of being restrained.

He may associate brushing his teeth with being held down, which can be a terrifying experience for some dogs.

If this is the case, try to make the brushing process more fun and positive for your pup.

Reward him with treats and lots of praise when he allows you to brush his teeth without any fuss.

You can also try brushing his teeth in short bursts instead of a full, 10-minute session, and it will help him get used to dental hygiene without feeling overwhelmed or scared. [7]

7)    You are not being patient enough

Dogs are creatures of habit, so training them requires patience and repetition.

And just like it takes time to train your dog to sit, stay and rollover, you also need to teach him that brushing his teeth isn’t scary or painful.

It would help if you were gentle and patient when you brush your dog’s teeth.

If your dog struggles or pushes your hand away, stop for a few seconds until it calms down, then start again.

Get them used to have their mouth touched by starting slowly and building from there.

Start by touching lips and muzzle with a clean finger (or a cotton swab if they’re very sensitive about being touched around their face).

Once they’ve adjusted to that, work on gently rubbing their teeth and gums with your finger or a gauze pad.

You should introduce a toothbrush or finger brush only after they’re comfortable with that. [8]

8)    Your approach is off

Many dogs don’t like their teeth brushed, says Dr. Sarah Wooten, a veterinarian in Greeley, Colorado.

It might be that they don’t know you well enough, or maybe you’re approaching them the wrong way, she says.

“I think it’s more about the person than the dog,” says Wooten, teaching pet dentistry. “It’s how we communicate with our dogs and touch them.”

To get them accustomed to having a toothbrush in their mouth, let them lick some dog toothpaste off your finger or brush their teeth with your finger, then gradually progress to a finger-brush and then a dog toothbrush. [9]

9)    He doesn’t like it when you touch his mouth

If your dog doesn’t like to have his mouth touched, start by getting him used to having his lips and muzzle handled.

While sitting or lying down, gently rub his muzzle, lips and cheeks with your fingertips.

If he’s not comfortable, stop and try again later.

Once he lets you handle his muzzle without pulling away or trying to bite you, it’s time to move on to the next step.

Once he’s comfortable with this, switch to toothpaste.

10)    Sore or Irritated Gums

If your dog has a tooth or gum problem that is causing him pain or discomfort, he will most likely not be a willing participant in having his teeth brushed.

If you notice any blood around his mouth when you brush or let him chew on a toy, or if he refuses to chew on one side of his mouth, these can be signs of gum disease or other problems with his teeth.

You should need to be checked out by a veterinarian before making any attempt to brush. [10]

Final Verdict:

You know that brushing your dog’s teeth is important.

As you begin to teach your dog to accept brushing, it’s important to start slowly and build a positive association with the process.

A good alternative if your dog wont let you brush his teeth is to use Hills Dental Dog Food

Hills Dental is made for dog teeth which dont brush their teeth.

If you’ve tried brushing your dog’s teeth with no luck, consider talking to your vet about the possibility of having your dog put under anesthesia for a professional cleaning.

Your vet can advise you about other ways of keeping his teeth clean, such as using an oral rinse or giving him special dental chews.