The thought of brushing your pet’s teeth can be overwhelming for many owners. With a few tips and a step by step routine you will feel confident to incorporate brushing into your pet’s daily routine.
- Getting your pet used to having their mouth area touched in the first step. Hold the muzzle area for a few moments everyday until your pet is comfortable. It is best to do this during a low stress time for you and your pet. Ending with positive praise or a small treat will increase your pet’s acceptance.
- Now that your pet is used to having his or her mouth touched you can introduce the pet toothpaste *. Start with a small amount of your finger. Start first with the canine teeth and work your way through the whole mouth including the gums. Take this process slowly observing your pet’s response.
- Time to introduce the toothbrush. Choosing the right sized toothbrush for your pet can make a difference. Toothbrushes with a smaller bristle area can work best for cat and small dog mouths where the larger surface area of a regular sized toothbrush can work best for larger dog teeth. Your veterinarian can help you choose the right toothbrush for your pet. Wet the toothbrush first and place a small amount of toothpaste* of the brush ensuring it stays on the bristles. To have better control of the toothbrush you can place your finger on the bristle head. Start with the canine teeth on one side of the mouth and brush in circular motions ensuring the brush the gums as well.
- Start with the canine teeth on one side of the mouth and brush in circular motions ensuring the brush the gums as well. Continue to brush in circular motions to the back of the mouth then move to the other side. Tartar mostly accumulates on the outer surface of the teeth so it is not necessary to brush the inside of the teeth.
- The final step is brushing the incisor teeth or the front teeth. This may be an area for your pet that is more sensitive that they may not be as accepting for you to brush. Gradually build up the time you spend cleaning the teeth if you are having trouble. Lift the upper lip and brush in an up and down motion cleaning both the top and bottom at the same time.
Making brushing part of your pet’s regular routine will greatly improve their overall dental health now and in the future. Your veterinarian and the veterinary team can help you chose the right toothbrush, toothpaste and get you and your pet starting on a brushing routine.
* Human toothpaste includes high levels of fluoride that can be toxic to dogs if ingested. Be sure to consult with our team members about pet safe toothpaste.
Written by: Jessica Bucci, RVT