Handout – How To Brush Your Pets Teeth

Handout – How To Brush Your Pets Teeth


How to Brush Your Pets Teeth

The first step is to start with a clean, healthy mouth. Good dental hygiene should start with a young pet with healthy new teeth and gums, or after your pet has had a professional dental cleaning

You will need a soft bristled tooth brush, and veterinary toothpaste. Human toothpaste and baking soda may cause gastrointestinal upset. Furthermore, veterinary toothpaste has flavors that are appealing to dogs, enzymes to break plaque down, and are made to be swallowed.
Anything other than a bristled tooth brush will not get below the gum line, which is the most important area to brush.

There are several important facts about our pets mouth that tell us when, where and how to brush. Periodontal disease usually affects the upper, back teeth first and worst. Plaque builds up on a tooth surface daily, especially just under the gum line. It takes less than 36 hours for this plaque to become mineralized and harden into “tartar” (Calculus) that cannot be removed with the brush. Because of this progression, brushing should be done daily, with a brush to remove the plaque from above the gum line.

Pick a time of day that will become a convenient part of your pet’s daily routine. Just before a walk or before a daily treat can help your pet actually look forward to brushing time. Take a few days to let both of you get used to the process. Follow with praise and a walk or treat each time.

To brush, simply hold your pet as you normally do when petting him/her. Gently stroke the outside of your pet’s cheeks with your finger for a minute or two per day. Then, after a few days place a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and let your pet sample the flavor. Pets seem to like the flavors of some pet toothpaste and soon will consider it a treat.

Next introduce your pet to a toothbrush or finger brush. A soft bristle small head children or toddler toothbrush is ideal. Place a small amount of toothpaste on the brush and gently brush one tooth with a slow circular motion gradually increase the number of teeth brushed until you have built up to 30 seconds of brushing per side. It is important to reward your pet with a healthy treat and plenty of praise after every step of the process. Soon, both you and your pet will look forward to the time spent together during this important health care procedure.

The brush should rotate in a circular fashion at a 45 degree angle with emphasis on the stroke, away from the gum line. Brushing should be performed daily to at least every other day in the evenings. As with any other routine, its best to begin dental care programs when pets are young, however, dogs and cats of all ages are generally receptive to tooth brushing.