Should I Brush My Dog or Cat’s Teeth?
The short answer is yes, you should be brushing your dog or cat’s teeth.
Just like their humans, dogs and cats are subject to the same or similar problems with their teeth and gums, especially if their oral hygiene is neglected. Some pet owners may find the idea of brushing their pet’s teeth strange or aggravating, but it can be done if the idea is introduced to the pet slowly, consistently and is a generally positive experience.
How Should I Brush My Dog’s Teeth?
You should invest in a toothbrush that is designed specifically for dogs. Their teeth and gums are different from humans and can be damaged by normal toothbrush bristles. A dog needs its own toothbrush for practical and sanitary reasons. You can find finger brushes made from rubber or silicone (on Amazon or at most pet stores) that will help to introduce your dog to a proper oral care routine. Once they become more comfortable, you can switch to a more traditional brush that will be more effective in cleaning teeth and mitigating plaque.
Another crucial aspect of pet oral care is that dogs shouldn’t use human toothpaste. Our toothpaste can irritate canine digestive systems and lead to additional issues. Dog toothpaste comes in flavors and smells that are more palatable to dogs, making it easier to get them to cooperate during brushing time. If you are having trouble getting your dog to sit still or open their mouth for brushing, try using some different flavors of toothpaste.
After the dog has picked their favorite toothpaste, it’s time for the brushing. Snap a leash on the dog’s collar, and lead it to a corner, and have it sit. Steady the leash with one knee while keeping it a bit slack. Then, apply a pea-sized dot of toothpaste to the brush, raise the dog’s side lip and brush the teeth. You may only be able to brush a few of the teeth at first. However, you will be able to brush more teeth as the dog gets used to the brushing routine and opens its mouth a bit wider each time. Concentrate on the gum line and the outer surface of the teeth, and make sure to lavish the dog with praise.
When the brushing is done, allow the dog to go with a special command such as, “Brushing all done!” that is not given for any other action. Unfortunately, you can’t reward your dog with a normal treat (as you just finished brushing), but you can give them some coconut oil. Coconut oil is beneficial for teeth and will help with positive reinforcement.
How Should I Brush My Cat’s Teeth?
Brushing a cat’s teeth can be more challenging than brushing a dog’s teeth, but it can be done with patience and planning. As with a dog, cats need their own toothbrushes and their own toothpaste.
Begin the process by helping your cat get used to having its mouth handled. Most cats will eventually used to this, especially if they’re greatly praised while cooperating. Once you have established trust, wrap a bit of moistened gauze around your finger, and run it along your cat’s teeth. Eventually, you can add cat toothpaste to the gauze, then gradually introduce the cat to the toothbrush. Finally, use the toothbrush to gently clean the outside of your cat’s teeth and under its lips.
Benefits of Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth.
Your dog or cat can’t tell you when their teeth are causing them pain. Poor oral health can lead to plaque, cavities, gum disease and tooth infections. Tooth abscesses are particularly dangerous as they can lead to serious health issues and complications.
Regular dental care for your cat or dog can also help to save a lot of money in the long term. Veterinarians generally have to sedate a pet to give their teeth a deep cleaning, resulting in a significant bill that generally runs from $700 to $1000.
Help protect your pet by keeping them happy and healthy with proper oral care. If you would like to learn more about pet oral care or would like to improve your own oral health, please get in touch with our team today!