Something to Smile About: The Easy Way to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

vet checking pet's dental health

Your pet may never need to have that Top Model, pearly white smile, but their oral health is definitely linked to overall health. Just like with us, plaque and tartar can develop on their teeth and progressively deteriorate the teeth and gums. Pet dental disease is not only painful but can also lead to diseases of other organs.

Home dental health is a must for your pet’s well-being and the team at Animal Medical Hospital and 24 Hour Urgent Care is here to help you learn how to brush your pet’s teeth!

Periodontal Disease in Pets

Before we get into the brushing tips, many pet owners wonder why brushing their pets’ teeth matters. They often point to the fact that animals in the wild, including the wolf, don’t need their teeth brushed. Actually, while canids like wolves and coyotes get some natural brushing through their raw diet, most wild animals succumb to an early death due to various health problems, such as dental disease. 

Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar that eventually make their way below the gumline. This can cause tooth decay, tooth loss, and infection that leads to systemic diseases that impact the heart, liver, and kidneys. Brushing your pet’s teeth goes a long way in eliminating plaque and tartar, which is why it is the best approach to prevention.

The Easy Way to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

It may sound like a daunting task, but once you and your pet learn the ropes of brushing, it will be a cinch. Be sure and start them out on this healthy routine at a young age, if possible. With patience and repetition (and plenty of rewards), your pet will get used to the process.

  1. Get your pet’s toothbrush and toothpaste (formulated specifically for cats or dogs). Have a few treats on hand as well, as a reward.
  2. Have your pet seated in front of you or on a counter.
  3. Acclimate your pet for a few weeks by using a fingertip to rub the gums and front of the teeth. Allow them to investigate and lick the toothpaste.
  4. Adding more paste, gently slide the finger across the teeth and side of the mouth.
  5. Once they get used to it, begin using the brush and focus on the front of the teeth, using an up and down, then side to side, then circular brushing motion.
  6. After you are done, give your pet a small reward for a successful brushing session.

Pearly Whites that Smile Bright

Now that you know how to brush your pet’s teeth, we recommend doing so at least 3-4 times each week (daily is even better) for optimal oral health. If you would like additional instruction on pet toothbrushing, please contact us, or ask us the next time you are in with your pet for their wellness exam.