Brushing your pet’s teeth

Brushing your pet's teeth
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Are you brushing your dog’s or cat’s teeth twice a day? Are you brushing their teeth at all? Although the answer is most likely no, you should! As it is often very difficult (or even impossible in some cases) to do so, this answer is not surprising.

Apart from fighting bad breath, by brushing your pet’s teeth properly and frequently, the process of periodontal disease can be significantly delayed.

As with humans, it is recommended to brush your dog’s or cat’s teeth at least twice a day.

Pet tooth brushing

Tooth brushing is a physical thing, meaning there is no right or wrong way as long as you supply some degree of resistance to the teeth in order to remove the disease-causing plaque.

Today, there are many commercial pet toothbrushes and finger brushes, carnivore toothpastes and dental rinses available from pet shops, vet shops and veterinary practices. Specialised pet toothbrushes are soft and allow easy access and use by the owner. Do not use human toothpaste for dogs and cats! Carnivore toothpastes are safe to swallow and usually flavoured to make them taste better and give a better experience to the dog or cat.

In the two videos below, Dr Sheldon Rubin and the staff at Drs Foster & Smith also explain the process of gum disease, introducing the process of tooth brushing and some combinations or alternatives.

Brushing your pet’s teeth in summary

1. Start the introduction process gradually by only introducing the brush and toothpaste for the first few days. Allow the pet only to taste the toothpaste.
2. Introduce the physical part of brushing by rubbing the toothpaste on the gums using your finger. Do this for a few weeks to a few months until the pet gets used to it.
3. Give lots of praises and treats during the first two steps in order to make this a positive experience for the pet.
4. Start brushing the teeth using the toothbrush with toothpaste.
5. Rinse the teeth afterwards with an oral rinse.

About the author
About the author
Renier is a qualified, experienced companion animal veterinarian whose main interests are animal health and strengthening pet-owner relationships.
View all posts by Dr Renier Delport (BVSc.)

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