Help! My Dog Hates Having His Teeth Brushed

If your dog hates having his teeth brushed, today is your lucky day.  February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and it’s a good time for me to come clean, pun intended. Not every dog is going to like teeth brushing; some will outright despise it. 

If your dog’s mouth or breath ever smell, there could be a very scary underlying problem that many dog parents fail to recognize. I know because until recently, I never heard of xerostomia (said like zero-stow-me-uh) in dogs.

Another word for xerostomia is dry mouth. If your dog has ever taken medications, doesn’t have regular teeth brushing, has any health issues, or is simply getting older, he or she may have dry mouth. 

brush dog teeth

When the salivary glands aren’t producing enough saliva to keep your gums and mouth moist, dry mouth can occur in people and in pets. Dry mouth can also lead to a whole host of problems in dogs. 

Long-time readers of this blog know that both of my Cocker Spaniels, past and present, never had professional teeth cleaning. I am an ardent supporter of daily teeth brushing in dogs, but I know that is not always possible nor feasible for some people. 

Here’s what to do when your dog hates teeth brushing and how to tackle dry mouth by first determining if your dog is affected. 

This post contains some affiliate links for which I earn a small income if you click through and purchase something on the links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

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how to help a dog who hates his teeth brushed

Dry Mouth in Dogs 

The first sign most pet parents notice of dry mouth in dogs is bad breath. A dry mouth is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungus to overgrow. 

There are a whole host of red flags that may indicate your dog has dry mouth, including but not limited to:

  • Taking medications
  • Aging process 
  • Pancreatitis
  • Thyroid dysfunction
  • Diarrhea
  • Diabetes
  • Autoimmune disease 
  • Anxious dogs
  • Dogs who have had cancer/chemotherapy/radiation 

I pride myself on being a savvy dog mom and dog blogger, so when my dog starting lip smacking despite proper oral hygiene, I worried. He had an autoimmune disease called IMT, of which he is in remission. He also takes medication and is now 10 years old. His teeth are clean, I brush them nightly, and his veterinarian gumline looks great. However, he could be affected with dry mouth. 

A long-time user of the Zymox® line of products, I talked to them about Dexter’s symptom of lip-smacking, and dry mouth was discussed. Being a type A personality, I learned a ton about dry mouth in dogs and why saliva is so important for good overal oral health. 

how to help a dog with dry mouth


What To Do For Dry Mouth In Dogs 

Whether your dog hates having his teeth brushed and/or you suspect your dog has dry mouth, there are a few things you can do. Here’s what we’ve been doing over the past four weeks:

  1. Continuing with daily teeth brushing to maintain proper dental care. If your dog doesn’t like this or you just don’t want to engage with it, keep reading, there’s more.
  2. Apply a half-inch strip of Oratene Brushless Oral Care toothpaste gel to your dog’s gums at least once a day. It is best to do this in the morning, at night, or after a meal for maximum efficacy. No brushing required!!! We’ve been doing this for a month.
  3. Consider adding Oratene Brushless Oral Care water additive to your dog’s water bowl daily. It kills germs and helps remove plaque without brushing. It contains no harmful Xylitol, alcohol, chlorhexidine, or detergent. 

brushless dental care for dogs

My dog is super fussy about tastes and flavors, which is ironic because he will try to eat a piece of random gunk on the sidewalk. I digress. I added this to his water twice a week and he never rejected it. I never use water additives, so this was a leap of trust for me. I allowed my dog to drink this additive in his water because of the patented combination of naturally occurring enzymes in the product. 

dog getting his teeth brushed

I won’t recommend anything to our followers and friends that we don’t use and believe in ourselves. I learned about Biotene as the number one product for people with dry mouth. The same chemist who developed the C.E.T. line of toothpaste for dogs, which we use, understood and helped developed the line of oral care products for dogs. 

In 2008, GlaxoSmithKline acquired the Biotene line for humans, so that meant a brand name change was needed for the pet products. Hence, the ZYMOX LP3 Enzyme System Oratene® Brushless Oral Care line is what we are discussing here. 

Older Dogs and Dry Mouth

My dog’s bestie is a 15-year-old mixed breed named Zola. She has an array of health problems that her mom has been managing. One of the conditions requires a daily steroid. Zola is also anti-traditional teeth brushing. Her mom agreed to try the Oratene brushless oral care toothpaste on Zola once a day for two weeks. 

older dog getting teeth brushed

Zola was receptive to the process, there is no brushing involved, and her mom applied the gel at night before bedtime. So far, so good, and Zola’s mouth is looking good. Since medications are the most common cause of dry mouth, Zola was the perfect candidate since she is clearly a dog who hates having her teeth brushed.

water additive teeth dog

Facebook Live Invitation: My Dog Hates Having His Teeth Brushed

In honor of National Pet Dental Health month, I will be hosting a Facebook Live on Fidose of Reality’s Facebook page where we will be giving away three tubes of the Oratene Brushless Oral Care toothpaste gel. All you need to do is show up and be an active participant. We will give two tubes away during the broadcast and one tube away here on the blog. 

We will update this blog post to include the Facebook Live video afterward. 

Here are details of the event and what we will cover: 

  • Friday, February 15th
  • Time: 1 pm EST 
  • Topics: How to brush your dog’s teeth and how to properly use the Oratene system along with dog dental help true and false and fun tips. 

enter to win

Giveaway Closed

Enter to win a tube of Oratene Brushless Oral Care toothpaste gel by commenting below and telling us if you currently have a dental care routine for your dog and what it is. One random winner will be selected from all entries received on Saturday, 02/16. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to reply. Zymox will ship the product directly to you.
Two additional tubes of the toothpaste gel will be given away LIVE during the Facebook Live on Friday, 02/15 at 1 pm EST on the Fidose of Reality Facebook page. Must be present at the Facebook Live and actively participating to be eligible. 
Winner of the blog giveaway is Kim Kiernan.
Winner of the Facebook Live giveaway: Cheryl DeMarre and Jerra Hoops 
dog typing on computer

Where To Buy Biotene Brushless Oral Care 

Since I do most of my shopping on Amazon, I recommend checking out the line of Oratene products there:

Oratene Brushless Oral Care toothpaste gel

Oratene Brushless Oral Care water additive 

Learn more by visiting the Zymox Oratene website.

Note: This post contains affiliate links from Amazon, meaning if you click on a link above and then make a purchase, Fidose of Reality will receive a small commission with no extra cost to you. You help us keep the site up and running and in exchange, you get to shop for items you love. Wags!

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  1. I brushed Coco’s teeth once a week sometimes more than that. Her vet always said she had the most amazing teeth and the sharpest teeth he had ever seen. He would show everyone them in the office LOL!

  2. We had a dog that had rotten teeth. almost $1,000 to have his teeth removed! The next time we get a dog, we’re going to be more diligent in brushing their teeth. Oratene will be the brand we look for!

  3. We try to brush every day. Sometimes twice. My struggle is trying to brush the front teeth. He lets me brush the sides and back, Do you have any tips? Do you think they are more cooperative if I try different flavors? I figured since he lets me brush the sides it is not a flavor thing and just does not like the feel on his front teeth.

    Also for the water additive, do you think this would work with a fountain? I would think the filter would remove it but not sure how the stuff works in the water and maybe with time even if it is in the filter it will keep running the water through the stuff. But maybe that is bad and would give too much of the water additive? Thanks for all you do!!

    1. Let me find out and good question. I will be showing you some tips on the Facebook live, and it’s so awesome you do his teeth. Way to go!

  4. Despite brushing my dogs teeth with an electric tooth brush I was totally surprised when one of them developed a swollen lymph gland as a result of a tooth infection. Chocked!!! I though I was doing good! Well, after 14 days of antibiotics and two back teeth removed life is finally getting back to normal. I am going to make changes to my cleaning style so we don’t have another scare like this one ever again.

  5. This is some very useful information. Our cockapoo Scottie does not like to get his teeth brushed either. I will have to pick up these products and give them a try.

  6. Just started brushing my cats teeth every other day. He keeps trying to get my toothbrush so I bought him his own set. I’m in the process of adopting a puppy and want to brush her teeth too!!! Starting early is the key!!! I really hope we win this!!

  7. My dog does too!!! And I had no idea that it would really make a difference and affect him later on in his life!

  8. I really could use this because I’m ashamed to admit it but I don’t brush Aubrey’s teeth as much as I should and it’s really starting to show. ?

  9. My dogs (and cats) do NOT like having me brush their teeth. I’ve tried various dog toothpastes and brushes, water additives, oral sprays and gels, rawhides, and dental chews. I have yet to find something that actually works for them. This product sounds great!

  10. I don’t have a dog but my friend’s dog has the same problem: it doesn’t like its teeth to be brushed! These are really great tips and advice that she should know!

  11. The only person that can brush my dog’s teeth is the groomer. He snarls when we even attempt to do it at home. I had him checked by the vet and she did not find any health / dental issues. I will try a small tube of Biotene. Maybe my dog will be able to tolerate that.

  12. i have used their products previously. i do really like their products. i brush my girls teeth every nite. i also put treatment in their water bowl. i floss my youngest teeth because she gets a lot of tartar on her teeth and has some spaces. i also use a gum health product. i do scrap their teeth as well in between their dental appointments. we go to a dental specialist every 3-6 mos for check ups and cleanings. it is 190 miles. he has done root planing, gum grafts, fillings, etc.

  13. I know I should be brushing my dogs’ teeth but I don’t. At least not yet. Winning a tube of Oratene Brushless Oral Care toothpaste gel would definitely motivate me to be more vigilant on canine tooth care.

  14. I’d be interested to try this. As a dental hygienist, I’m ashamed to say I do not brush my dogs teeth. However, they do get regular cleanings by me. Along with polishing!

  15. I need this! Bryns breath can kill….she refuses to let me brush her teeth! Sonny is a little better but his patience is also low for teeth brushing.

  16. I didn’t start early when they were young and brushing their teeth is not a fun process. This product will help!

  17. I brush Woody’s teeth every night before bed. I brushed Marley’s as well. Marley loved having his teeth brushed and Woody does too.

  18. There is not a teeth brushing in place for our dog. He is getting his teeth cleaned this week, and I am looking for a way to keep them looking good afterward!

  19. I brush my Zoe’s teeth once a week, I don’t use anything but water and a brush though. Maybe I need to brush more frequently and use this product.

  20. Sometimes poor dental health can also be from genetics. In spite of monthly cleanings, deep anesthesia cleaning and daily brushing, Poppy still has severe periodontal disease. She had to have 20 of her 40 teeth removed this past October! 🙁 I love the idea of the water additive. I’m going to try it. I’m already using a dental gel that the dental specialty vet recommends, called MaxiGuard OraZn. It’s a little drippy though, so I would love to try the Zymox gel product. I swear by the Zymox ear products. Great company!

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