Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth

Your pet’s major dental problems, from a lack of proper care, rank among the top reasons for veterinary  visits.  Yet, many of these expensive bills can be avoided with simple, preventive dental care performed regularly at home, and also with semi-annual cleanings from All Creatures Veterinary Clinic.

There are many products that make the at-home cleaning easier on you and your pet.  There are a variety of cleansing pads, veterinary dental solutions and brushes for home use to help keep your pet’s teeth and gums disease-free.

Trouble begins when food particles and bacteria build up in the mouth, forming plaque and tartar, which, if left untreated, lead to painful tooth decay, bad breath, bleeding gums and in severe cases, tooth loss and potentially dangerous infections.  This is why brushing two to three times a week is important! 

Brushing your pet’s teeth should not be a chore or a burden to you or your pet.  This is a VERY gradual process, and with patience, your pet will learn to tolerate having their teeth cleaned regularly.  Introducing your pet to the process while they are younger makes it easier on them, and keeps them healthier over their life span.  But it is never to late to start brushing your older pet’s teeth at home to help them live a longer life. 

Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth - Instructions and Tips

 Brushing three times each week (or daily is even better!!!) in conjunction with a drinking water additive such as CET Aquadent, Breathalyser, or HealthyMouth, will help to DECREASE plaque & tartar build-up, dental disease, and the need for anesthetized dental cleanings.

VERY IMPORTANT: With each step make sure that the pet is comfortable with it and doesn't react much before moving on to the next step!  I know that the steps look LONG but they actually go by very quickly as your pet gets used to you handling their mouth.

Step 1 - Start out with gently lifting your pet’s lips several times each day.

Step 2 - Use your finger with a little bit of water on it: Brush front incisors only
Brush front incisors and one side over front “cheek” teeth
Brush front incisors and both sides over front “cheek” teeth
Brush front incisors and one side over all “cheek” teeth, including back teeth
Brush front incisors and both sides over all “cheek” teeth, including back teeth

Step 3 - Use your finger with a wet gauze wrapped around it, dipping the gauze in a solution of +/- 1 tsp baking soda in ~1 oz of water: Brush front incisors only
Brush front incisors and one side over front “cheek” teeth
Brush front incisors and both sides over front “cheek” teeth
Brush front incisors and one side over all “cheek” teeth, including back teeth
Brush front incisors and both sides over all “cheek” teeth, including back teeth

Step 4 - Use a wet toothbrush, dipping in a solution of +/- 1 tsp baking soda in ~1 oz of water: Brush front incisors only
Brush front incisors and one side over front “cheek” teeth
Brush front incisors and both sides over front “cheek” teeth
Brush front incisors and one side over all “cheek” teeth, including back teeth
Brush front incisors and both sides over all “cheek” teeth, including back teeth

Step 5 - Use a toothbrush with cat/dog toothpaste: Brush front incisors only
Brush front incisors and one side over front “cheek” teeth
Brush front incisors and both sides over front “cheek” teeth
Brush front incisors and one side over all “cheek” teeth, including back teeth
Brush front incisors and both sides over all “cheek” teeth, including back teeth

 If starting this process later in life when there is already some plaque and tartar built up on the teeth, we suggest getting an anesthetized dental cleaning done to scale the teeth, giving you a "clean slate" to put your newly learned skill to the test!