Brush Those Teeth!

posted: by: Dawn, RVT Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

So now that you've taken advantage of our $15 off dental special and your pet's teeth are squeeky clean, how do you keep them that way?

The best way, of course, is to brush their teeth.  Ideally pets should have their teeth brushed daily, just like people.  Most pet owners out there say no way is that possible!  Our days are so jam packed that daily brushing is near impossible.  But how about once or twice a week?

Look for a few minutes in your schedule to fit in a tooth brushing for your pet.  It doesn't take long, especially once your pet is used to it.

Start by running your fingers along the outside of your pet's teeth, just to get them used to having your fingers in their mouth.  You may dip your fingers in water, low sodium chicken broth or even tuna juice to entice pets to accept your fingers.  Do this several times a day for a few days, each time rewarding your pet with praise or a small treat.

Next add some toothpaste to your finger.  Use only PET SAFE TOOTHPASTE!  No human toothpaste which is harnful to pets!  Also, pet toothpaste is usually flavored (poultry, malt, etc). Repeat as above with the toothpaste on your finger, again rewarding your pet for behaving.  Your pet may be more interested in eating the paste, but that's alright as long as some is getting on the teeth.

Now you are ready to brush!  You may use a small gauze square, soft bristled toothbrush, or a finger brush (covers your finger much like a thimble).  Apply a small amount of toothpaste to the brush or gauze and rub or brush it on your pet's teeth, starting at the gumline and working to the end of the tooth.  Concentrate on the Canine (fang) teeth and the larger teeth on the sides toward the back (premolars & molars).  These teeth often accumulate the most tartar.

Once your pet is used to having his or her teeth brushed, it should only take you 5 minutes (or less!).  Always reward your pet with a special treat, toy, or praise.  If your pet is struggling with allowing their teeth to be brushed, stop and give your pet a break.  Go back a step or two and work towards your pet accepting the teeth being brushed.  Not all pets will allow this, but most, with a little time and patience, will.

So remember, pet toothpaste only (no human toothpaste!), patience, and practice.  And don't worry if your pet isn't happy with tooth brushing.  We have other options!!

Suburban Animal Clinic has pet toothbrushes and toothpaste for sale for pet owners who wish to brush their pet's teeth.

Please visit the following links to learn more about pet dental disease and dental care: (managed by AAHA) & the AVMA are reputable sources for information on pet health care.  The AVMA link has a video demonstrating tooth brushing.

Remember, Pets Need Dental Care, Too!!