Tooth Brushing Tips for Dogs and Cats
- Supplies: soft bristled brush in an appropriate size for your pet
- dog/cat toothpaste (available in many different flavors)
- patience (especially at first)
Daily removal of plaque is the best tool we have to prevent oral disease in pets. It prevents calculus formation, which irritates gums and leads to infection, tooth attachment loss and ultimately tooth loss. Brushing can be fun and rewarding for both you and your pet. Keep the sessions short and upbeat. You don’t need to brush all of the teeth in one sitting. Practice each step for a few days before moving on to the next one. It is important to use only pet toothpaste. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that shouldn’t be swallowed.
1. Start slowly and gently! Getting your pet to accept the toothpaste is the first step. For example, try letting them lick it off your fingers as a treat. Give this a few days before moving on to the next step.
2. Next is getting them accustomed to having something placed in their mouth. This can be the tooth brush, your finger, or your finger wrapped in a bit of cloth. Apply a little of the toothpaste, and rub gently on the front teeth. Praise and reward your pet.
3.Now that both you and your pet are comfortable with the toothbrush and the toothpaste, it is time to start brushing. Gently lift one lip and holding the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gumline, move the brush back and forth. Start with easier to reach teeth, a few at a time, gradually adding teeth, remembering to keep it fun and up beat. The good news-you only need to brush the outer surfaces of the teeth!
*Toothbrushing should be done at least three times a week to see any benefit, preferably daily!
*Toothbrushing can be started as soon as they have teeth!
*After a professional cleaning is a great time to start toothbrushing to prevent tartar and plaque and prolong the time between cleanings!