At-Home Dog Grooming
It sounds like an indulgence, but it's actually basic hygiene. Bacteria in the mouth can spread, hurting your dog's heart, liver, and kidneys.
Try a compact rubber fingertip toothbrush for small pets (Enzadent makes one for $3, available at pawsplus.com). With larger dogs, you can use a children's toothbrush.
Yes, there is a difference between toothpaste for you and toothpaste for your pet. Canine varieties are flavored (chicken, not wintergreen), and they don't have ingredients, such as fluoride and baking soda, that would make your animal sick if swallowed, which happens frequently.