Imagine if you never brushed your teeth or had them cleaned. Pretty scary, right? As you can guess, things would eventually start to go very bad inside your mouth: teeth would decay, gums would become inflamed and infected. Bacteria from those rotting teeth would eventually travel into your bloodstream and could cause other serious health problems. And we haven’t even mentioned the daily, debilitating pain.
It’s the same scenario for your dog or cat. In fact, if your pet is over three, chances are they have some symptoms of periodontal disease. Your Bethany Family Pet Clinic veterinarian can instruct you on how to brush your pet’s teeth, and below are a few helpful tips to get you started.
- Get comfortable. Instead of standing over your dog, try kneeling or sitting in front of him or her. Practice lifting your pet’s lip to see their teeth and reward with praise.
- Use a toothbrush and toothpaste made for pets. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that may hurt your pet’s stomach. Finger brushes work well for smaller dogs and cats; you’ll need a larger brush with a handle for big dogs.
- Go slow at first. Start with rubbing your pet’s gums and teeth with your finger to see how well they tolerate it. Before using the brush, let them lick some of the toothpaste off your finger or the brush.
- Brushing success. Brush teeth and gums gently and finish with the bottom front teeth. Focus on the outside of the teeth—the surface facing the cheek is the most prone to plaque and tartar buildup. When finished, offer lots of praise!
Getting used to brushing might take several sessions, so be patient. Your pet’s gums may bleed a little at first, but it’s only an emergency if they don’t stop.
Have questions or need more assistance? Call us at 503-828-9177.