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Tips and Information on How to Brush your Pet's Teeth

Dog and Cat Teeth Brushing

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Tooth brushing is the single most effective means of removing plaque from the visible surface of the tooth and is a very important part of your cat or dog's overall health care routine. We have some suggestions:

  • Tooth brushing is best done at the same time each day, for examplebefore the evening meal. Select a brushing device (toothbrush, finger brush, etc.) and select a pet toothpaste (do not use human toothpaste). Pet toothpastes are designed to be swallowed, taste good to pets and contain enzymes or antiseptics that help control plaque.
  • Concentrate on brushing the outside of the upper teeth and ignore the insides completely. A back and forth motion for 30-60 seconds each side should be adequate if done daily.
  • You might need to desensitize your pet to the tooth brushing process. To accomplish this, gradually introduce your finger or toothbrush into the mouth for short periods of time and give a strong reward immediately afterwards.
  • Dogs: In order to maintain control, we recommend that you keep the dog's mouth closed with one hand on the muzzle and brush the teeth with the other. A finger brush or pet toothbrush are good brushing devices.
  • Cats: Cats can be trained to tolerate brushing of their teeth. First thing is to start early if you can as kittens are much more likely to allow this invasion of their privacy. If you need to start as an adult then you need to find a strong reward!!! The trick for cats is to introduce your finger or a small device such as a Q-tip for only a short (1-3 seconds) period of time immediately followed by the strong reward. A favorite flavor on the Q-tip or finger would be ideal. This needs to be repeated many times before anything significant can be accomplished in removing plaque. If you overwhelm the cat by being too aggressive all will be lost. If you can get your cat to accept something in its mouth you have come a long way. This is going to require patience and persistence on your part!
  • If you are patient and persistent, your pet will soon look forward to the brushing experience.
  • Place pet toothpaste inside a Kong toy. Your pet will gnaw away at the Kong for long periods of time´┐Żand will be brushing his teeth at the same time!