Goldie's Bristly Dental Set Christmas gift finally arrived a few days ago! Here's my review.

The (slightly crumpled) package I received had three items in it: the big, green, sturdy Bristly itself; a smallish tube of "Bristly pre-biotic toothpaste"; and a triangular blue, umm… thing… which is apparently a tongue cleaner. It has a wide, round suction cup on the back so you can stick it to the floor for your dog. I'm not sure how useful it is, though, since Goldie ended up doing a great deal of licking on the Bristly itself.

While I couldn't really detect it, Goldie very much liked the added-on "meaty" smell of the Bristly toothbrush! She was happy to take it after I tore off the packaging and offered it to her. She took a few chews & held it between her paws the way they show in the video… but then she seemed a bit put off by the spiky bits, so a few licks later she paused… then quit. I'm guessing the taste didn't match up to the smell?

So then I brought out the meat-scented toothpaste — that certainly caught her attention as well, since she gave it too lots of sniffing as I opened the package! I tried to pour some down the inside of the Bristly, like they suggest in the video, so it would ooze out the little holes further down — but the large, round, squeezed-out 'worm' of toothpaste wouldn't go at all into the narrow opening at the Bristly's top. The toothpaste is also much runnier than human toothpaste… which I messily discovered when I tried to simply layer some on the outside of the Bristly. However, Goldie really liked it — she enthusiastically licked it all off my fingers and the Bristly. I guess at least her tongue got nice and clean? :)

No chewing yet, though. I even left the Bristly for a day out where she could get to it easily to see if that encouraged her at all… which it did not. So my third try was, in my head, the Bristly's final chance: I took a blunt table knife and used it to gently work toothpaste down into the Bristly through the narrow opening at the top. Then I smeared a bit down two of the four sides, and then I even added a little bit of peanut butter (a real favorite for Goldie) on the other two sides.

Doing so, I also noticed that the toothpaste which had dried on the tube's outside cap had turned into a thin, gummy substance rather like rubber cement! I peeled that off & made a mental note to always clean off the tube before putting it away… and then handed the Bristly off to Goldie. She was — as always, with peanut butter — excited… and I was watching to see if the Bristly was a win or a fail.

Unsurprisingly, Goldie first carefully licked off all the peanut butter and toothpaste on the outside of the Bristly… but then she could still smell, and occasionally taste, the toothpaste inside. She initially tried licking the more spiky bits, but seemed put off by the texture… and then, to my great delight and relief — she chewed a little bit on the Bristly! That became her pattern: chew a little, lick a lot, chew a little, lick a lot, and so on.

So I'm going to tentatively say the Bristly is a success, since Goldie loves the toothpaste, and I'm willing to put the toothpaste into the Bristly to encourage her to chew more. Admittedly, I'm not thrilled that the toothpaste is about $14 per 4 oz. tube, but hopefully I'll find something else that's runny enough to put into the Bristly, that she also loves to lick up. With time, practice, and some encouragement from me, Goldie will hopefully get used to chewing more on the Bristly, and her current dental hygiene will improve.

Hope this helps all you dog owners! :)

Later edit: I've discovered one very unfortunate side effect of squeezing toothpaste (or any gooey substance) into the inner well of the Bristly. Because the Bristly cannot be taken apart for cleaning, and Goldie is still not chewing very much on it, the gunk inside dries into a hardened mess! I'll try washing the Bristly in the upper shelf of the dishwasher later today — hopefully it's sturdy enough to withstand that.

Even later edit: the toothbrush easily withstood the upper shelf of the dishwasher. Unfortunately the little inner well is small enough that the hot water couldn't really get into it. Thus about 15 minutes of scrubbing with a bottle brush and a lot of swearing was required to finally get it completely clean. Considering Goldie doesn't chew on the brush unless she's after something in the little well, and crap dries into a sticky and difficult-to-remove mess in there, I'm afraid the Bristly toothbrush is definitely not a win for us.

Final edit: I gave the Bristly kit to a good friend whose dog Fletcher is more chewing-oriented than Goldie, in the hopes that Fletcher would get more out of it. Unfortunately, two or three days later she reported to me that while Fletcher did indeed chew enthusiastically on the Bristly… he managed to chew the entire top off in a ten minute period where she was busy elsewhere!

So I'd have to say the Bristly was not a win… for either of us. Hopefully their next generation will be better!

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