pet dental health month

How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

February is National Pet Dental Health Month, which means it’s time to be reminded of the importance of caring for your pet’s teeth. Did you know that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show some sign of gum disease by their third birthday? The fact that gum disease can be prevented makes this an especially unfortunate statistic.

The oral health of your dog or cat directly relates to their overall health, just as it does for humans. If they develop an infection in their mouth (such as gum disease), this infection can spread to their other internal organs and cause more serious problems. Luckily there are a few simple steps you can take to improve their oral health that shouldn’t be too difficult to master with a little practice. The first is learning how to properly brush your pet’s teeth at home.

Make Sure You are Using the Right Tools

Pet’s need different dental care supplies than humans do. You should never use toothpaste or toothbrushes intended for humans on your dog or cat. Instead, you should purchase pet toothpaste and a pet toothbrush from your local pet supply store or from your veterinarian. When choosing a toothbrush, pick one that has soft bristles. Many pet owners find that it is easier to control the brushing process with a finger brush, which can also be found at your local pet store.

Associate Treats with the Brushing Process

Instead of jumping into brushing your pets teeth right away, take some time to get them familiar with their toothpaste and toothbrush. Put a small amount of toothpaste on your pet’s toothbrush and let them lick it clean. After they finish, give them a treat. If you do this for several days in a row, they are likely to become more comfortable with the materials you are using to brush their teeth and less likely to resist your brushing efforts.

Brush Your Pet’s Teeth in Short Intervals

Once your pet is familiar with their toothbrush and toothpaste, begin brushing their teeth in short intervals. Try to brush for 5-10 seconds and then stop. Between brushing intervals, pet them and give them lots of praise. This process will help them to form a positive association with the process of brushing their teeth. Repeat this process daily and gradually increase the length of your brushing intervals.

Focus On The Outside Of Their Teeth

In order to make the process a bit easier, don’t worry too much about brushing the inside gum line of your pet’s teeth. The majority of plaque buildup is going to occur on the outside of their teeth. This is where you should concentrate your brushing. A thorough brushing should take between 30 seconds and 1 minute. During this time, try to be as efficient as possible. Brush with quick circular motions and talk to your pet throughout the process so that they don’t get bored or resistant.

Supplement Brushing with Proper Treats and Toys

Certain treats and toys are better for your pet’s teeth than others. It’s a good idea to supplement your brushing efforts with chew toys designed to reduce plaque. Rope toys, rawhide, and plastic toys with ridges and grooves are all great additions to your pet’s oral healthcare routine. On the other hand, smooth toys and balls are not as efficient at removing plaque and should be avoided if possible.

The key to a successful brushing routine is to get your dog or cat comfortable with the brushing process and to make it a habit. Just as your oral health is very important, so is theirs. For more tips about proper dental care for your pets, talk to your veterinarian or visit the website of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Happy brushing!

POSTED IN: Dental Hygiene, Dental Tips, Periodontitis, Pet Dental Health

1 Comment

  1.   Radhika Wadhwa

    very nice blog i appreciate your work. Nice information and generally people don’t know how to brush them and how to care their teeth. I am going through all suggestion here i am going forward to it.

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