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Published: Mar 09, 2012

If your dog suffers from bad breath or a dental disease, your veterinarian has probably recommended you start brushing its teeth. This task is easier said than done for most owners, but a few tricks can help.

Choose a time of day that works with your dog's established schedule. After a walk or other vigorous exercise may be a good time, since the dog will be tired and calm. You may also choose to get out the toothbrush right before a treat like a walk or a pet-friendly snack, since the canine will then associate the process with a reward, reports.

Introduce your dog to the pet toothpaste by letting him have a taste. Then, give him another taste, this time running your fingers over his gums with it. Repeat this process once more, this time touching his mouth with the toothbrush, the news outlet reports. When you are brushing, focus on the gum line of the upper teeth, angling the bristles of the brush so they get under the gums. Work back to front, making small circles along the dog's gum line. Always reward with a treat after.

Even if you can't brush all of your dog's teeth in one sitting, you are still working to prevent dental disease. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, close to 80 percent of dogs over age 3 have some sort of periodontal or dental disease, even though few pets show obvious signs of it. There are no dog shots or vaccinations against this disease, so prevention is key.