Tips to Help Make Brushing Your Dog and Cat’s Teeth Easier at Home
By: Dr. Clayton Greenway, B.Sc., DVM | Nov 4, 2016
Dr. Greenway offers tips on how to make brushing your dog and cat’s teeth easier and more effective at home. Topics covered in this video include daily brushing, enzymatic toothpaste, antibacterial, dental disease, tooth decay, neck lesions, cavity, gingivitis, when to perform a cleaning, general anesthesia, blood work, heart, scaling, tooth assessment, dental X-rays, oral infections and tooth decay.
I’m Dr. Clayton Greenway with healthcareforpets.com. What I want to talk about is brushing your pet’s teeth. I don’t think enough people do this for their pets and it’s really pretty easy and what I try to do for clients is make it easy so that they can do it often and consistently.
I see a lot of people who go to the groomers and the groomer will brush their pet’s teeth. The problem is you’re only going to the groomer maybe once a month or once every other month, that’s really not enough at all. It’d be like us brushing our teeth four or five times a year. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense and the dental disease will advance regardless so it’s very important that you do it often enough to make a difference and that would be almost daily just like us. There’s not a lot of difference between pets and humans when it comes to dental health care, they need it just as consistently as us. I think the person who maybe goes to the groomer and gets their pet’s teeth brushed once a month or every couple months is not very useful. It’s one of the cheapest things you can do for your pet that really maintains a high level of health care so here’s a few tips about it.
The first thing is you want to start when they’re as young as possible and you want to introduce it very, very slowly. A lot of adult dogs and cats, it will feel very foreign to them if you just start brushing their teeth out of nowhere, you want to get them used to it.
So first what you want to do is you want to find a dental toothpaste that is meant for dogs and cats. We can’t use human toothpaste, it’s got fluoride in it and that’s not healthy for them so you find one that is enzymatic. Enzymatic toothpaste has an enzyme in it that helps kill some of the bacteria in the mouth and really helps their level of dental health.
So how to go about brushing teeth. The first thing is you just want to get them used to the toothpaste so just offer it to them so that they can lick it or taste it. Then you want to move on to putting it on your finger and potentially rubbing it on their teeth. Go very slow with this and every time they allow you to do it and you definitely want to praise them or give them a treat afterwards so they start to get used to it. Then you want to move up to either a finger thimble brush or an actual toothbrush. You want to apply the toothpaste to that and again just place it in their mouth or on the teeth before you start to move it or brush the teeth. Finally once you’ve gone through this, you can get to the point where you’re really brushing the teeth and the way to do that is you want to hold their face while they’re looking at you. I really encourage you to go and look at our video about how to brush a dog’s teeth because we’ll show you in detail how to do that, so if you hold their face with them looking at you, what you can do is you can just slide your finger or toothbrush up and down the teeth between the teeth and the cheek on either side of the mouth. You don’t need to crank the mouth open and get the insides of the teeth, the tartar really accumulates on the outsides and that’s one thing that clients don’t know about. By doing just the outsides of the teeth, that’s all you have to do it and it makes it really, really easy.
Remember to keep praising them and giving them treats so that makes them happy to have their teeth brushed and once you get them used to it, it’s one of the greatest things you can do for your pet. So try to do it as often as you can, you can talk to your vet about it but go and take a look at our video as well.
If you’re able to do this you’re really going to cut down on the need to have dental cleanings in your pet, it’s going to be very cost-effective and it’s really going to improve their health because what’s most important to us is your pet’s health here at healthcareforpets.com.
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