Tips for Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
Did you know that by the time a pet is 4 years old, 85% have some form of dental disease? It’s a sad fact that most of us don’t know what’s going on in our pet’s mouths. After all, who really wants to go poking around in there with all those sharp teeth?
Because one of the best ways to prevent plaque and tartar buildup on your pet’s teeth and gums is daily toothbrushing, getting familiar with the inside of your pet’s mouth is exactly what we are encouraging you to do! You may be rolling your eyes or giggling at that, but bear with us! Brushing your pet’s teeth is not as hard as you think. And Blue Valley Animal Hospital is here to give you the dish on exactly how to do it.
Dental Disease Basics
First things first. Dental disease is one of the most common and preventable diseases in pets. It can also wreak havoc on their health. Aside from causing bad breath, dental disease is very painful for your pet, causing bacterial infection, bleeding, inflamed gums, and potential tooth fracture and loss. But the bacteria that causes dental disease doesn’t just stay in your pet’s mouth, it can enter the bloodstream and cause irreversible damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
Brushing is a great way to combat these potential problems. Before you begin a toothbrushing program, we recommend you start with a clean slate, so to speak. Contact us to schedule your pet’s professional dental cleaning, which will allow us to examine all her teeth for damage and decay and clean and polish all the tartar and plaque away with our ultrasonic scalers.
Make sure you purchase the right tools for the job. You’ll need pet toothpaste (human toothpaste will make pets sick) and a small size pet toothbrush or fingerbrush. Next, you can begin to brush your pet’s teeth, using the following steps:
- Gently pet and touch your pet’s closed mouth, so they get used to being handled on and around their mouth
- Let your pet lick the toothpaste off your finger
- Gradually slide your finger into your pet’s mouth
- Substitute the toothbrush for your finger, using the same process
- Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle toward your pet’s gums
- Use a circular motion to brush your pet’s teeth, concentrating on the outer surfaces of the teeth
- Work up to 30 seconds on each side of the mouth
Each of these steps should be performed on a different day. Keep it positive and practice sessions short. Reward your pet for progress!
Brushing your pet’s teeth takes patience and a commitment. But the payoff is great – a pet with a healthier mouth and a longer, happier life. If you need assistance or would like a lesson in brushing your pet’s teeth in our office, please contact us. We’re here to help in any way we can!