If you resolved to take better care of yourself this year, how about including your pet in your new routine? Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth is a great place to start!
Imagine if you never brushed your teeth or had them cleaned. Pretty scary, right? As you can guess, things would eventually start to go very, very bad inside your mouth: teeth would decay, gums would become inflamed and infected. Bacteria from those rotting teeth would eventually travel into your bloodstream and could cause other serious health problems. And we haven’t even mentioned the daily, debilitating pain.
It’s the same scenario for your dog or cat. In fact, if your pet is over three, chances are he or she already has some symptoms of periodontal disease. Your Best Friends Animal Hospital veterinarian can show you how to brush your pet’s teeth, and below are a few helpful tips to get you started.
- Get comfortable. Instead of standing over your dog, try kneeling or sitting in front of him or her. Practice lifting your pet’s lip to see their teeth and reward with praise.
- Use a toothbrush and toothpaste made for pets. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that may hurt your pet’s stomach. Finger brushes work well for smaller dogs and cats; you’ll need a larger brush with a handle for big dogs.
- Go slowly at first. Start with rubbing your pet’s gums and teeth with your finger to see how well they tolerate it. Before using the brush, let them lick some of the toothpaste off your finger or the brush.
- Brushing success. Brush teeth and gums gently and finish with the bottom front teeth. Focus on the outside of the teeth—the surface facing the cheek is the most prone to plaque and tartar buildup. When finished, offer lots of praise!
Getting used to brushing might take several sessions, so be patient. Your pet’s gums may bleed a little at first, but it’s only an emergency if they don’t stop.
If you’re spending more time with your pet these days, think about how you can incorporate brushing their teeth into your health care routine. And remember, just as we humans need to see a dentist regularly, routine visits to our clinic for your furry friend’s oral maintenance are a necessity; dental disease can be prevented through routine cleanings performed by our highly skilled doctors and veterinary technicians.
Have questions or want to schedule a dental exam for your pet? Call us at 818-766-2140.