We recommend daily brushing of your pets’ teeth. Oral hygiene in cats and dogs is just as important for them as for their people. The sooner you get your kitten or puppy used to the toothbrush and toothpaste, the easier it is to brush their teeth. We also recommend yearly dental cleanings for pets three years and older or sooner depending on their dental health. We carry a complete line of home dental care products and would be happy to answer any questions you have about your pets’ oral hygiene.
To get started with a tooth brushing routine, follow the steps below:
When beginning any new routine with your pet, remember to start easy and go slow.
To brush your pet’s teeth, you will need: 1 dog or cat toothbrush (we have appropriately sized brushes), dog or cat toothpaste (do NOT use human toothpaste – ingredients in these are toxic to pets), your pet’s favorite treat, and some patience.
After each step, provide your pet with his or her favorite treat and praise. Positive reinforcement is the key to success with establishing a tooth brushing routine.
- To begin, find a room in your house where you can brush your pet’s teeth every day. Dogs and cats love routine and especially if they are nervous, being in the same place each time will ease anxiety during the rest of the day. We suggest the bathroom – when you brush your teeth, brush your pet’s teeth, too. That way, it won’t get easily forgotten.
- Prepare your toothbrush before you get Fido in the bathroom. Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste on the brush and set it somewhere within reach.
- Get Fido in the bathroom. If he is nervous, coax him into the bathroom with a treat. If it requires much coaxing, give him the treat and stop here for this time. Get him comfortable coming into the bathroom by repeating this several times over the course of the next few days. Once your pet is comfortable entering the “tooth brushing room”, proceed to the next step.
- Offer the toothbrush to your pet – let him or her smell it. You probably have picked out an appetizing flavor of toothpaste so he or she may just want to lick it off the toothbrush. Encourage your pet to be interested in the toothpaste. If interest isn’t there, don’t give up. Sometimes just the fact of it being something new might be intimidating. If you don’t get the response you want, try bringing Fido into the bathroom on several occasions and keep offering the toothpaste. You can also try putting the toothpaste on your pet’s favorite treat to get him or her accustomed to the taste. If you absolutely cannot get him or her interested, you may want to try a different flavor or brushing without any tooth paste.
- Once the location and toothpaste have been pet-approved, you want to get your cat or dog used to the idea of having the toothbrush in his/her mouth. In your approved location, offer the toothbrush (with toothpaste on it) and gently place it along the outside of the teeth. Allow them to chew on it, etc. for a few seconds and then remove it. Offer the toothbrush again and allow your pet to lick off any remaining toothpaste. Don’t forget to provide ample praise!
- If you’ve successfully gotten your pet used to the toothpaste and having the toothbrush in his/her mouth, you’re nearly there! This time when you go to brush your pets teeth, try scrubbing the brush gently around the outside of your pet’s teeth. Take breaks if needed. If all goes well continue to brush until you’ve reached all corners of your pet’s mouth. If he or she begins to show any sign of becoming agitated or resist, stop immediately and try again the next day. Make sure to offer lots and lots of praise. Once your pet has become accustomed to this, start brushing the inside surfaces of the teeth as well. We want all aspects of your pet’s teeth to be brushed. But, if your pet will allow brushing on the outside but not the inside, brush what they will tolerate.
- You’ve learned how to brush your pet’s teeth and gotten your pet comfortable with the new routine. Now, just make sure you brush your pet’s teeth regularly (every day is best) and perhaps next time you visit the vet, you won’t hear “It is time to get Fido’s teeth cleaned again….”