Oh boy, brushing the teeth of your cat or dog sounds like a good time, right?
Actually, it is (albeit a bit frustrating at times); however, regular brushing will help do the same thing for your pet’s teeth as it does for yours: removes plaque and tartar, which will keep your pet healthier and feeling better while preventing costly, uncomfortable and potentially illness-inducing dental problems down the road.
Here’s some tips on how to get started:
Start with the right tools: You need a toothbrush designed specifically for a pet. You can also get a finger brush that slides over your finger and then you gently rub your pet's teeth and gums with it (the brushing side has little nubs). Do not use human toothpaste; instead, get pet specific toothpaste, which will not upset their stomach or make them sick. Also, pet toothpaste comes in flavors they’ll love vs. mint, which they won’t.
Start slowly by introducing your pet to a small amount of the toothpaste applied to the brush. Let them simply lick it off. Then you’re done for the day.
Once your pet is comfortable with the toothpaste, try just a little bit of brushing. Don’t force it, simply do a little bit at a time. Try about half a minute at a time. At this stage of the game, you’re working toward getting your pet more comfortable. Maybe just a tooth or two to start. And then gradually progress to more teeth and more time.
As you develop the routine, make sure you do this regularly. It keeps your pet comfortable with the idea or oral hygiene while also ensuring the best outcome for your pet.
It really isn’t that hard if you practice patience and are gentle and supportive. But, no matter how slowly you take this, some pets just won’t have it. That’s when you can look at some toys or treats specifically designed to help with your pet’s oral hygiene. They can help when you can’t manage to get your pet comfortable with the idea of a regular session with the brush.
A Healthy Mouth is a Happy Mouth
Imagine if you went years without brushing your teeth. Not just gross, but very unhealthy. It’s the same for your pets. That’s why this is so important and worth all the time and patience it takes to make it happen.
Your dog or cat might not enjoy it at the start, but over the long term, they’ll be happy to keep their teeth and have fewer issues with their mouths. That’s what regular brushing can help do.