HOW TO BRUSH YOUR PET’S TEETH

Pets are an important part of our lives for many years. As such, dental care is important to extend your pet’s good health and quality years with you. Dental disease is the most common problem seen in our pet population today. More than 85% of all dogs and cats presented to veterinarians are affected by dental problems. Periodontal disease is what causes bad breath, as well as eventual tooth loss.

We recommend daily dental care at home for your pets, just like the rest of the family. It is best to begin home care at an early age (8-12 weeks) during puppy or kittenhood, but it is never too late. Visible tarter should be removed ultrasonically in a process known as scaling and polishing, just like when people go to the dentist. This makes your home care efforts easier and more effective. Always remember to make it fun.

GATHERING SUPPLIES:
Washcloth or Toothbrush
Pet Toothpaste

WEEK 1 – SLOWLY AQUAINTING YOUR PET WITH MOUTH CARE
Using your hand, gently open the pet’s mouth and run your finger around his/her lips, lifting the lips etc. This should begin for just 30 seconds on day one and progressing to a couple of minutes by the end of the week. Reward your pet with a small treat at the end of each session. No people food please!

WEEK 2 – INTRODUCING TOOTHBRUSH OR WASHCLOTH (WITHOUT TOOTH PASTE)
This week, use either a wet washcloth wrapped around your index finger or wet toothbrush on the teeth. Lift lips. Massage the outer surfaces only of upper and lower teeth using a circular motion. Do this for 30 seconds on day one, progressing up to 3 minutes by the end of the week.

WEEK 3 – ADD TOOTHPASTE – EXTEND BRUSHING TIME
This week use your pet’s toothbrush and now ¾ inch of toothpaste to brush the outer surfaces only of upper and lower teeth in a circular motion.

A FEW POINTERS:

*Do not rush the process or else the pet may become resistant

*Always treat at the end of each session – making it enjoyable PRAISE HIGHLY

*If your pet shows any indication of aggression (growling, bearing teeth, biting, scratching. Stop immediately. Call the hospital for further professional assistance.

*NEVER USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE! Vomiting is common if this is done.

*Cleaning at home will reduce the frequency of professional care needed.

*Won’t a MILKBONE a day take care of it?? NO!! If you ate a milk bone a day, would you never brush your teeth? Of course you would still need to brush. MILKBONES help, but they alone cannot do it!

*T/D Diet can also be helpful in preventing plaque formation