How to Brush Your Dog or Cat’s Teeth
Brushing Fido and Fifi’s teeth is vital to their health, but that doesn’t mean Fido or Fifi will be on board with the hygienic habit. Some pets are naturally more easygoing when it comes to grooming, but if your dog or cat gets frisky or frazzled when the toothbrush appears, these grooming tips learned through years of working at our Frisco pet clinic, LazyPaw Animal Hospitals, might help you maintain proper dental care for your pets.
Start the habit early.
The earlier you introduce your pet to the habit of tooth brushing, the easier it will be to keep their teeth clean over the course of their lives. If your pet is older, it’s never too late to start brushing habits, but teaching from puppydom will be easiest.
Don’t treat your pet’s first interaction with the toothbrush like a power hour at the dentist. Be gentle and go slow. Let your pet sniff and touch the toothbrush, then gradually introduce them to the feeling of it on their teeth. Hold your pet gently but firmly and talk to them in a calm, encouraging voice.
When you give your pet treats, have the toothbrush in plain sight. Leave small treats on top of the toothbrush so they begin to relate seeing it with good things in their mouth. You can also offer non-food incentives by petting and saying nice things (“Good boy!”) while brushing. Whenever you finish brushing, however brief the cleaning session was, give your pet plenty of praise.
Use the right products.
Never use non-pet toothpaste on your animal since human products can be poisonous. Instead, ask your local animal hospital for recommendations on what type of toothbrush and paste is best for your animal, since different sizes and types of brushes and various types of paste are widely available. Lots of toothpastes come flavored to make brushing more fun. Your local vet clinic can recommend or sell you the best products for your particular animal.
Don’t give up.
If your pet’s teeth aren’t kept clean, over time gingivitis, periodontitis, and chipped or cracked teeth can become painful realities for your animal. In addition to brushing daily, bring your pet to your family animal surgeon at least once a year for professional dental cleanings.
For tutorials on how to brush your pet’s teeth, check out Dr. Julaine Hunter’s helpful videos on the LazyPaw Animal Hospitals website. The dog brushing tutorial is available here, and the cat tooth brushing tutorial is available here. If you’re not sure whether your pet’s teeth are clean enough, you can also check out these helpful oral hygiene tips from the ASPCA.