Your veterinarian probably tells you to brush your dog’s teeth. I know–if you’re like me, it’s hard enough to remind your kids to brush their teeth. With all we have to fit in a day, brushing a dog’s teeth may be the last thing we can tackle on our expanding to-do list.

But I’ve learned that dental care is important to a pet’s overall health. So I’m making more of an effort to brush Kelly’s teeth. And, it really is quick and easy once you get the hang of it. Here are some simple steps you can follow:

1. Gather your supplies.
You’ll need a special pet toothpaste. Remember, human toothpastes may upset your dog’s stomach. Pet toothpastes come in flavors like chicken, beef, malt and mint. Yum!
You’ll also need a pet toothbrush. Be sure to select the appropriate size for your pet. You may want to start off with a small rubber brush that fits over the tip of your finger.

2. Start off slow.
Start by just checking in your dog’s mouth. Get him used to having you open his jaws and touch his teeth. Be careful with nippy dogs–you know your pet best. Advance to rubbing his teeth and gums with your finger.

3. Offer a taste.
Put some pet toothpaste on your finger. Let your dog lick it off. She should enjoy the flavor. Experiment until you find the flavor she likes best!

4. Use a gentle brushing motion.
Apply pet toothpaste to the finger brush or a pet toothbrush. Lift your dog’s lips and rub the brush gently on the outside of the teeth. Be sure to get the back teeth. You won’t need to worry about the inside of the teeth. If your dog balks at the toothbrush, try a square of guaze or washcloth.

How To Brush Your Dogs Teeth (Canine Dental) – VetVid Episode 0 – Watch more Funny Videos

5. Reward!

Keep the tooth brushing time short and pleasant. When you’re done, reward with a game of fetch or a walk.

Most veterinarians suggest brushing daily. I admit I fall short of this. But if you can try for once or twice a week, that’s a good start. Make it a part of your routine, like before bed or the evening walk.