We get it – brushing your pet’s teeth, especially on a regular basis, is not a whole lot of fun. In fact, for some of us it can be a downright struggle! That’s why we’re offering you these 4 simple steps to make brushing easy and (dare we say it?) FUN. Read on for your list!
Let’s get started…
First, you’ll want to have your pet get used to just having your fingers in their mouth. While some owners will routinely play with or scrape their pet’s teeth while they are sleeping, we know not everyone does this…so your pet may not think this is no big deal! Proceed slowly, gently and with caution! Try to choose a time when your pet is already relaxed. Choosing the same time each day for a few days will help set a routine for both of you, and may make the process easier.
Now what do I do?
Once your pet is used to you touching their mouth and teeth, it could be time to introduce a pet-safe toothbrush. While some pets may not mind a standard human toothbrush, there are also over-the-finger types specifically sold for this purpose. If your pet hates both of those options, then a figure covered in clean gauze will also effectively rub away plaque. Some pets find this part of the whole process a lot more enjoyable when their toothbrush or gauze has been dipped in a little chicken broth. Another option here is a pet-safe toothpaste – NOT toothpaste designed for humans! Toothpaste with foaming agents or baking soda can be harmful to pets, so always be sure to choose something that has been approved for pet use.
You’re ready to brush!
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! It’s time to try actually brushing your pet’s teeth! Brush the visible area of their teeth by gently lifting their lips. Don’t worry about brushing the tongue side of their teeth – just what you can see is fine to start! Some pets may allow more, and if so that’s wonderful also. Remember to go slow, offer treats, and be gentle.
That didn’t go the way I planned…
Okay, so your pet was super resistant to having their teeth brushed – or maybe you just don’t have the time to brush their teeth on a regular basis. We get it, and we aren’t judging! If this applies to you, try offering more hard treats, such as carrots or Greenies (available for dogs and cats). There are also lots of toys designed to help clean your pet’s teeth while they play. We like the Benebone Dental Chew for our toughest chewers (and no, we are NOT being paid to say that, we just really like them!) but there are many wonderful brands available for pets of all sizes. Your vet can also recommend kibble that is appropriate to your pet’s dietary AND dental needs.
While brushing your pet’s teeth and lots of crunchy snacks are important frontline defenders against periodontal disease, nothing replaces a checkup at the veterinarian to make sure things in your pet’s mouth are going smoothly. Your vet may recommend routine dental cleaning to keep things healthy. If that’s required, don’t forget to ask them if RediHeal Dental Care is appropriate for your pet (especially if your pet needs an extraction – ouch!)
See, we promised to keep it simple for you. Just remember to give yourself and your pet the gift of time and patience if you’re brushing at home, and remember that none of your efforts are wasted! Have more questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinarian now, during Pet Dental Health Month, or at any time of the year that you are concerned. Your pet is counting on you to advocate for them! Need a short and sweet pdf of this to hand out to your clients, complete with pics of our doggie model, August? Just click here for a download!
Have a minute? We’d love it if you’d help us spread the word about pet dental care. Please share this page (or the pdf) on your Facebook page or website to get the word out to all our fantastic pet owners out there.