Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
Dental care is an important part of your dog and cat’s health care. Pet dental issues are some of the most common problems seen at Tri-County Animal Hospital. Both dogs and cats need routine dental care, and a good dental program will provide comfort and longevity to your pet’s life as well as make them more pleasant to be around.
Dental disease is not just a cause of bad breath, but can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease and other problems.
We suggest that you start caring for your pets teeth while he or she is a puppy or kitten so that your pet will become accustomed to regular, at home brushing. During your pet’s physical exams, we will give your pet a dental exam and will recommend professional dental cleanings or other dental treatments as needed. We will also offer advice on home dental care and give you options on how to achieve the best results.
At-Home Pet Dental Care
Brushing your pet’s teeth every day will help to reduce or eliminate plaque buildup. Plaque, which is an accumulation of bacteria, will eventually loosen and destroy the tooth and possibly lead to bone loss if left untreated. The infection under the gum line can also spread to the liver, kidneys and heart.
Proper At-Home Pet Dental Care Supplies
- Proper Toothbrush
It’s important to spend some time finding the right toothbrush for your dog or cat. You can use a child’s toothbrush, but it is recommended that you buy a special toothbrush for your pet. It will make brushing easier and will be worth the money.
There are some rules for choosing the best brush for your dog or cat:
- Be sure that the bristles are soft so they don’t damage the pet’s gums.
- Please choose the right sized brush (just make sure it’s’ not too big or too small for your pet’s mouth).
- Check that the handle is big enough for you to comfortably get a grip on the toothbrush.
- Also available, is the “Finger Toothbrush”. This is an Ideal beginner toothbrush to help you and your pet become comfortable with the tooth brushing experience.
- The staff at Tri-County Animal Hospital will be glad to help you select the best toothbrush for your pet.
You cannot use human toothpaste on your dog. Rather, use a special high quality toothpaste with ingredients specially formulated for dogs. You need to spend some time choosing your toothpaste too. Cheaper brands might use ingredients that are harmful to your pet, and there are some common ingredients can make your pet sick. Read the labels carefully and check that the toothpaste does not contain salt, detergents or enzymes as these are dangerous for your pet. Feel free to stop by our office and we will be happy to recommend a pet toothpaste that is safe and effective for your pet’s proper dental hygiene.
How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth
Brushing your pet’ teeth for the first time can be difficult; especially if they are not used to it. This can be avoided by starting when they are puppies or kittens – but if it’s too late for that don’t worry. The key is to be gentle, speak in a soft voice and do not force the pet. The key is to make it an enjoyable experience. Start from the back of the mouth and work your way forward in small circular motions.
If your pet really does not want to allow you to brush his teeth without a fight, you may want to try the finger brush with a beef or chicken flavored toothpaste. Try rubbing his teeth so he gets used to the sensation as well as your fingers in his mouth. Speak encouragingly and softly. After a few patient weeks the pet should allow you to brush his teeth without any hassles.
Start a Dental Routine
You should be brushing your pet’s teeth daily; but if you can’t manage that – once every second day should be fine. It’s important to stay consistent in order to avoid problems.
Please call us to schedule a dental exam with one of our veterinarians for your dog or cat, especially before starting a new dental care regime.