important to your pet's health is home dental care, including brushing your
pet's teeth daily if possible. Although it is easier to start brushing
when your dog or cat is young, older animals will also adjust to brushing if
you introduce it gently and slowly.
your pet to the idea of brushing teeth, dip a finger into beef bouillon (for
dogs) or tuna water (for cats) or even some flavored pet toothpaste and
gently rub along your pet's gums and teeth. Focusing on the gum line
(the area where the gums meet the teeth) start at the front of the mouth,
then move to the back upper and lower teeth and gum areas.
You may then
introduce gauze over your finger or move to a toothbrush designed for dogs
or cats or a very soft, ultra-sensitive toothbrush designed for people.
The bristles should be held at a 45 degree angle to the tooth surface and be
moved in an oval motion. Again, focus on the gum line, as this is
where the odor and infection begin. Never use people toothpastes as
this can upset your pet's stomach when they swallow. (They do not
rinse and spit!)
have achieved brushing the "outside" of the teeth, you can then move to the
"inside" of the teeth. Gently place your hand over your pet's muzzle
from the top and push the toothbrush inside the mouth to brush the inside of
the teeth. Most of the tartar and infection will start on the
"outside" of the teeth, so your focus and time should be spent there.
process should only take a minute or two. Another hint, since pets are
very much creatures of habit, brushing your pet's teeth at the same time in
the daily routine will make the entire process easier for you and your pet.
Above all, keep sessions short and positive. With plenty of praise and
reassurance, followed by a specific treat or reward your pet will actually
look forward to the tooth brushing.
dental exams by your veterinarian are still very important to maintaining
your pet's dental and overall health.
Center Animal Clinic, PCAC,
is a full service veterinary
animal hospital located in Parker, Colorado.