Brushing your pet's teeth is a crucial part of pet dental care

If you’re not paying attention to your pet’s teeth every day, you may be overlooking one of the best and easiest ways to give her a healthy life. Studies show that good dental health can contribute to a longer and healthier life for pets. And what better way to start off a new year than a few simple plans to promote your pet’s oral health.

The best plan you can make is to begin daily tooth brushing. Many pet owners gasp, laugh, or roll their eyes when we make this suggestion, but bear with us! With a few simple tips and tricks, and with commitment, you can make this task easier and more effective than you might think. Brushing your pet’s teeth doesn’t have to be daunting!

Pet Dental Basics

Think about how much plaque and tartar would build up on your teeth if you never brushed them or went to the dentist. This is a fact of life for most pets, which is partly why 85% of them have some form of dental disease by the time they reach 4 years of age. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates recommends you start with a clean slate, so to speak. Call us to schedule your pet’s professional dental cleaning. This lets us remove years of plaque and tartar buildup, evaluate every tooth in your pet’s mouth to make sure no bacterial damage has occured, and to extract any teeth that cannot be saved.

Just as people, pets should have regular dental cleanings. But daily brushing can also help keep dental disease at bay.

Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth

Ideally, brushing your pet’s teeth should begin when they are young. Just as in children, the earlier you start, the more comfortable your pet will be with the process as they age. But older pets can still learn to tolerate and even enjoy having their teeth brushed. Here’s how.

  • Purchase a pet toothbrush that’s small enough for your pet’s mouth (you might substitute a finger brush for the longer toothbrush for cats, or if you have a small dog)
  • Purchase pet (not human!) toothpaste
  • Start by letting your pet lick the toothpaste off your finger
  • Gradually slide your finger into your pet’s mouth
  • Substitute the toothbrush for your finger, using the same process
  • Hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the teeth, with bristles pointing toward the gums
  • Work the toothbrush in a circular motion, concentrating on the outside surfaces of the teeth
  • Gradually work up to spending 30 seconds on each side of the mouth

Each of these steps should be performed on a different day. End each tooth brushing session on a positive note. Finally, keep at it! Some pets may take some time to get used to simply having their mouth handled. It may take patience, but the payoff will be a healthier mouth and longer life for your pet.

Keeping your pet’s teeth clean requires a commitment on your part. We’ll do our part to help, and are happy to answer any questions you might have or give you a tooth brushing demo in our office. Please give us a call if you have any questions about brushing your pet’s teeth.