Dental disease is the most common clinical condition we see in adult dogs and cats. Although there are many factors that contribute to dental disease such as breed, genetics, age and diet, there are things that can be done at home to help. If possible, brushing your pet's teeth is the best thing you can do to prevent dental disease. We understand that not all pets will cooperate and finding time to brush your pet's teeth can be difficult, but don't rule it out without giving it a try. With a little training, most pets learn to enjoy the routine of getting their teeth brushed. Daily brushings are ideal but 3 times a week can go a long way in keeping your pet's mouth healthy.
What is Needed
A Pet Toothbrush
The bristles are softer and specially angled to help make brushing easier. There are a variety of toothbrushes on the market for pets, but it is all about finding what works best for you and your pet. Most people find it easiest to start with simply your finger, progressing to a finger toothbrush, and finally advancing to the type shown above. We have free samples at Prosper Trail Animal Hospital and would be happy to give you one to try with your pet.
A Clean Mouth
Starting with a clean and healthy mouth is the key to success. The goal of brushing a pet's teeth is to prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, but it will do little to remove the hard buildup if it is already present. In addition, gum disease that accompanies the tartar and bad breath, can be painful. If you try to brush your pet's teeth and they already have dental disease, it will cause discomfort which could lead your pet to dislike brushing. With every physical exam at Prosper Trail Animal Hospital, an assessment of your pet's mouth will be done and recommendations will be made if a dental cleaning is needed. If your are unsure if your pet needs a dental, please call us to schedule your pet a free dental exam.
A Relaxed Pet
When your pet is resting next to you on the couch or after a long walk is the ideal time to get out your supplies. Pets of all ages benefit from getting their teeth brushed. Yes, that means even your new playful puppy. Even though puppies and kittens will lose their baby teeth, it is important to start the brushing routine at a young age. This makes it more enjoyable for them as they get older and brushing becomes increasingly more important. Get your puppy, kitten or pet of any age worn out with a good play session. When they are relaxed and ready to take a nap, it is the perfect time to brush their teeth.
Now that you have everything you need we can start getting your pet trained for their teeth brushing routine. Remember to take it slow and make it an enjoyable experience for your pet. Gauge your pet's anxiety level throughout the following steps. If they seem upset, stop and try again later. You may need to work on mastering each of the following steps over time, but the goal is they will eventually enjoy the process. The more they enjoy it, the more you will be willing to brush their teeth. This means a healthier mouth that they will thank you for. Below Nicole, the head technician at Prosper Trail Animal Hospital, demonstrates the 6 steps to brushing your pets teeth with her dog Gunner.
That's it! Now you are brushing your pet's teeth and making it look easy! Hopefully you and your pet are able to find this process enjoyable. However, if this is not the case, don't get down. There are other products that can be used at home with or without brushing to help keep your pet's mouth healthy. For more information see our blog post "Dental Products: Caring for Your Pet's Mouth". Also, remember we are here for you and are happy to discuss oral health options for you and your pet. Please give us a call at 972-347-6100 with any questions or concerns you may have.