Cats and dogs can be particularly prone to dental disease because they often do not have their teeth cleaned as frequently as their humans do. Dental check-ups should be a part of your pet’s regular health screenings. Brushing your pet’s teeth is something you can do at home to maintain their oral health.
Next time you’re at the vet, be sure to discuss the condition of your pet’s mouth. Your vet will explain whether getting a professional dental cleaning is recommended. Regular at-home brushing is recommended for cats and dogs in order to prevent plaque build-up. Plaque can lead to gum disease and, on rare occasions, problems that can spread through the body.
If your pets aren’t used to having their teeth brushed, it may take a while for them to warm up to the idea, but with the right tools and a little patience, you can feel better about your pet’s dental health.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- Pet Toothbrush– Pet toothbrushes have smaller bristles and a smaller head. Some of them fit on your finger too. This can make it easier for you to control the movement. If your pet has a smaller mouth or sensitive teeth, even a cotton ball with pet toothpaste applied to it will do the trick.
- Toothpaste – It’s necessary to use special pet toothpaste for your cat or dog. Human toothpaste can be dangerous for pets and make them sick. Plus, pet toothpaste is flavored to appeal to animals, and it’s meant to be swallowed.
- Patience— Your pet will need to adjust to the idea of having your fingers and/or toothbrush in his or her mouth. At first, you might spend a few minutes every day with a soft cloth rubbing his or her teeth. This can help remove plaque too.
- Approach your pet when he’s relaxed. Sit with him in a quiet location and speak in a soothing voice. Next, put the toothbrush to his mouth and gently move it around. It’s ok if you only brush one or two teeth the first few times.
- Try again tomorrow. Your pet will eventually get used to it and will be more relaxed.
- It’s not necessary to brush your pet’s teeth for as long as you would your own. Usually a few seconds is enough to apply the toothpaste which will stick to the surface of the teeth, helping to dissolve plaque, and preventing future build-up.
Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the best way of preventing tooth decay.
What about you? We’d love to hear your stories about brushing your pet’s teeth on our Facebook page!