Caring For Your Pet’s Teeth

By December 18, 2018Healthy Teeth

We all love our friendly canines and felines! If you are a pet owner, you know how important your pet’s health is. One thing that often gets overlooked when caring for your pet is dental care. Just as important as it is for you to brush your teeth every day, Brushing pet’s teeth is extremely important to keep your dog or cat healthy and happy. You want your furry best friend to have healthy teeth and so do we!

Dog holding an electric toothbrush in it's mouth to demonstrate brushing pet's teeth.

Why Brushing Pet’s Teeth is Important

Brushing pet’s teeth is a crucial aspect of keeping your pet healthy and pain-free. We often don’t understand that dog dental care and taking care of cat’s teeth can affect the overall well-being of your animal. Brushing pet’s teeth is one of the major ways to stave off gum disease, which causes pain and serious side-effects.

Gum disease, more formally called periodontal disease, can cause pain, bone and/or tooth loss, and even organ failure. Periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs and cats, with most dogs and cats showcasing evidence of the disease by age three.

Periodontal disease begins as plaque and calculus spread in and under the gum line. If left untreated, this disease will eventually lead to tooth loss for the animal. The infection can also enter the bloodstream, spreading to the organs and causing damage.

On top of all this, if your pet is experiencing periodontal disease, they are also most likely in chronic pain. No pet owner wants their dog or cat experiencing any pain, but often it is hard for the owner to tell that anything is going on.

The great thing though, is that you can help your pet keep a clean mouth, leading to a lower risk of the disease. Brushing pet’s teeth daily is one of the best ways to prevent periodontal disease, along with check-ups from your veterinarian or veterinary dentist.

Woman and dog smiling to show healthy teeth.

How to Care for Your Pet’s Teeth

Experts recommend brushing pet’s teeth daily, so try to create a positive habit for you and your pet every day. When you begin brushing your pet’s teeth though, be patient and take it slow. Most pets are not accustomed to dental care, so it will take some getting used to. If you cannot brush pet’s teeth every day in the beginning, that’s fine! Just keep trying to familiarize your dog or cat with the process and eventually you both will be trained in cat or dog teeth care. Here are some easy steps you can take to begin the healthy habit of brushing your pet’s teeth.

Step One: Get Supplies

When you begin dog dental care or taking care of your cat’s teeth, make sure you are using the correct tools and supplies. First, you will want to purchase a toothbrush that fits the size of your pet’s mouth. You can use a toothbrush made for humans to brush your pet’s teeth, but since there are so many different kinds of toothbrushes available make sure you are choosing a soft-bristled toothbrush.

They do offer toothbrushes made specifically for animals as well. Some animal-friendly toothbrushes even slide over your finger, making the brushing process easier and more precise. For taking care of your cat’s teeth, you can purchase an infant toothbrush as well since their mouth and teeth are smaller.

You will also need to acquire toothpaste made specifically for animals. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that are harmful to swallow, so make sure you aren’t missing this step. Toothpaste made for animals also come in different flavors like meat and poultry, so it may make brushing easier if your dog or cat will enjoy the taste. You can also try different flavors in an effort to find a flavor that your pet likes.

Step Two: Start Slow

To begin brushing pet’s teeth, let your dog or cat get accustomed to the toothpaste and you handling their muzzle. Gently start placing your hands around their mouth so they get used to the feeling. Also, let them familiarize themselves with the toothpaste and toothbrush by allowing them to sniff and lick the items before you try to start brushing. You can use treats in this process as well in order to make your animal more comfortable and relaxed.

As you start brushing, work in circular motions and make sure you are brushing the gum line as well. The first few times you start brushing pet’s teeth, you may only be able to brush for a short time and maybe only the front teeth. That is fine. Just try to work your way up every day. Eventually, your animal will become accustomed to the process, allowing you to brush their front and back teeth for about 30 seconds for each section.

Step Three: End with a Reward

Make sure you are ending the brushing process with a reward. This may be a treat, playtime, or even just affection from you. This will make the experience more positive for your dog or cat. If your animal starts to associate the positive experience with brushing their teeth, they will be less resistant and hesitant as the process continues.

Step Four: Supplement Brushing with Toys and Check-ups

Brushing pet’s teeth daily is a great way to keep your animal healthy, but check-ups and chew toys are great supplements to brushing. Certain dog chew toys can help with dog teeth care by helping scrape away plaque and dirt- just make sure you are getting the right toys. When looking for a chew toy for your dog, look for the “VOHC-approved” stamp. This stamp means that the Veterinary Oral Health Council has approved those products as meeting their established tooth cleaning protocols.

Taking your dog or cat in for a professional cleaning is just like your annual dentist appointment. The veterinary dentist will deep clean your animal’s teeth as well as look for any signs of disease. Most pet owners do not notice any side effects for gum disease besides bad breath, so it’s a great idea to let a professional check for any issues.

A veterinarian dentist treating dog dental care by brushing dog's teeth

Now Go Start Brushing!

So, now you know how important it is to be brushing pet’s teeth daily. This will fight off periodontal disease and keep your furry friend healthy from head to tail. If you start noticing lingering bad breath, swollen and red gums, discolored teeth, or oral bleeding, head to your veterinarian for a check-up. In the end, oral health is extremely important for all animals so make sure you are taking care of your pet’s oral health. For more information on healthy teeth for you, check us out here!