Updated: Feb 13, 2022
...and you notice they seem itchy and have bad breath.
BATHING: First, let's tackle the itchiness. That can be very common as the pups are entering a brand new environment. Something in the air, the grass, the trees, can be causing mild allergies. The best way to help relieve this is Oatmeal Shampoo. Any good Oatmeal Shampoo will work! This will help soothe their skin. Be sure to get them fully wet and then gently massage it in everywhere, getting all the way down to the skin. If this continues to persist after your pup has been home with you for about two weeks, I recommend discussing this with your vet.
*Hot tip - I've heard using a mesh loofah can be extremely helpful during bath time, so if you have an extra one laying around - try it out! :) Helps a little shampoo last much longer and helps froth it up more too!
BRUSHING: Second, the bad breath is, unfortunately, that wonderful puppy breath that will last for a bit. BUT this is a great time to get them used to your fingers in their mouth (safely) and brushing their teeth. So let's learn how to brush your dog's teeth!
Rub your finger along their gums and teeth. Reward lots in between and after. This will get them used to finger/finger sized item (aka toothbrush) inside their mouth. Do not allow chewing, just calm behavior as you run your finger through their mouth.
Add a small amount of dog toothpaste to your finger or a small brush and allow them to lick it.
Then begin introducing the brush in the mouth.
This video is a great reference for exactly how to brush your dog's teeth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54WroRd1GiA&t=219s
Chew toys, dry kibble, and (supervised) antlers/bones are a great way to help keep the plaque off and teeth clean as well.
*Second Hot Tip...to this day Bella has a hard time with the actual doggy toothbrush. About a year ago our trainer told us to try medical gauze. Wrap that around your own finger, apply the toothpaste to it, then use your finger as a brush. That actually worked wonders, I'm happy to say. So if you find, no matter how much coaxing, your dog just isn't grasping the concept of the toothbrush, I recommend giving this technique a try!