Periodontal disease is all too common in dogs and cats and affects over 85% of pets by three years of age. Fortunately periodontal disease is very treatable and preventable. Pet owners that practice home dental care can help spare their pet the pain and illness of dental disease… and save money on future dental problems.
Prepare For Your Pet’s Dental Needs
Make sure you have all the tools you need to start your pet’s dental care program. Our hospital carries a wide variety of dental care products such as oral rinses, pet toothpaste, dental chews, and prescription dental diets. Consult with one of our staff for the best options for you and your pet.
- Pet Toothbrush
Only use a soft bristled toothbrush (either with a handle or fingertip brush style). Dental wipes do not offer the same effect as a bristled toothbrush and will not get below the gum line where most dental problems begin.
- Pet Toothpaste
Do not use human toothpaste or baking soda as these will cause health problems for animals. Pet toothpastes are enzyme based, have flavors that are appealing to pets, and are safe when swallowed.
- Clean Mouth
It is best to start brushing on a clean, healthy mouth that is free of dental disease. Good dental hygiene should start when your pet is young, or after your pet has had a professional dental cleaning. Brushing teeth on a pet with obviously infected teeth or bleeding gums will be painful for the pet, and not address the bigger dental issues present.
How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth
- Pick a time of day that you can be consistent and make your pet’s dental care part of your daily routine. Reward your pet after tooth brushing with a treat, affection, or a walk. Soon your pet will be looking forward to tooth brushing time.
- Start by offering your pet a taste of pet toothpaste. Then apply toothpaste to your finger and rub along the gum line of the upper teeth. Gradually work up to the toothbrush with toothpaste.
- Align toothbrush along gum line of upper rear teeth. Angle the bristles slightly up to allow bristles to get under the gum line.
- Brush from back to front, making small circles along the gum line. Focus only on the outer surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. Spend no more than 30 seconds to brush your pet’s teeth. Practice brushing in small increments and do not try to brush the entire mouth at first.
- If your pet only permits brief tooth brushing, focus your efforts on the outside of upper teeth since this is a common problem area for periodontal disease.