Pet owners are some of the most responsible, caring people out there. They usually know exactly what their best friends need, and try their hardest to provide it. 

Despite this commitment, it can be very challenging to maintain a dental care routine at home. Sure, there are some great food products designed to reduce plaque and tartar accumulation. But there really isn’t a substitute for brushing your pet’s teeth at home. 

We know it can be hard to start, but our tips aim to help you establish a safe, nurturing habit.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Pet

Taking care of your pet’s teeth and gums is essential for their overall health and well being. In fact, by reducing plaque, tarter and inflammation, routine care can actually extend a best friend’s life. 

We recommend annual dental exams and professional cleanings under anesthesia. The opportunity to examine and evaluate the health of an animal’s teeth and gums can direct a long term plan for optimal wellness.

Without routine care (professional and at home), pets can become victims of bone loss, jaw fractures, pain, and systemic illness.

Easy Street

Providing dental care at home doesn’t always come easy, but when paired with regular screenings and professional cleanings, it is part of a comprehensive health plan. The best part? You get great results. With less pain and fewer bills, brushing your pet’s teeth at home is a must.

Vast Majority

More than 80% of adult and senior pets suffer from some degree of periodontal disease. To prevent this from happening, try establishing the following at home:

  • Acquire a pet-specific toothbrush because they are smaller and softer than those for people. Sometimes, using your pinky finger can help you access those back teeth a bit easier and is more tolerable to your pet.
  • Only use pet toothpaste, as products designed for people are toxic to animals. There are many to choose from, and it might take time to figure out what flavor your pet prefers. 
  • Before you begin, provide a fun exercise opportunity to dispel extra energy. 
  • Stay calm and don’t force the experience. If they show fear or resistance, give praise and affection. Try the next day, but please don’t give up.

Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth

You’ll have to introduce your pet to their toothbrush and toothpaste. With praise and rewards, start to rub a finger or the brush against the teeth. If they are unaccustomed to this sensation, it may take considerable amount of time to get them used to it.

After they show signs of acceptance, use slow, circular motions on the teeth at the back of the mouth and move toward the front. The outside surface of the teeth, along the gum line, have the most plaque and tartar build up.

Aim for once a day or at least 3 times a week.

Barriers to Success

Knowing that the benefits of proper dental care impact a pet’s day to day health, as well as extending their lifespan, we hope that more pet owners will commit to a routine. 

If you have further questions about brushing your pet’s teeth at home, please contact us. We’re always here for you at Shiloh Veterinary Hospital.