Brushing Your Dog or Cat's teeth
Updated: Jan 25
Brushing your dog's teeth is a golden standard for taking care of their dental health.
At first it may be a little challenging, so it's important to introduce your dog to teeth brushing slowly and gradually. Remember to be patient and don't give up too quickly.
Starting when your dog is a puppy certainly makes teeth brushing easier than trying to train an adult dog to get used to this new sensation, but it's definitely worth it at any age.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DOG TO ACCEPT TEETH BRUSHING
For the first few days just start touching your dog around their face and gums to get them used to you being around their mouth. This way the whole process will seem more natural to them.
Get your dog used to the taste of the toothpaste by smearing a small amount of it on your fingertip and allowing them to lick it. Veterinary toothpastes usually have meaty flavour so they should like the taste and be keen to eat it. DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE.
Introduce the toothbrush. Hold the toothbrush in front of their nose and let your dog investigate, sniff, lick it as they fancy.
If your dog is happy with all the previous steps, you can start brushing. Start with just a few teeth, for example canine teeth or premolars. Do not start with the incisors at the front as this is a more sensitive area of the mouth. Your dog will probably lick around their mouth while you are brushing and this is completely normal. Stop if your dog is reacting dramatically.
Reward your dog for being patient.
If your dog tolerates brushing of his canine and premolar teeth you can start building it up. You can increase the length of time and the number of teeth you brush. To get to the molar teeth you will need to slip the brush inside the cheek, and then repeat on the other side. To brush incisors lift the top lip at the front of the mouth, do it gently. Remember to brush both sides of the teeth. To make that a little easier for yourself consider getting a double headed toothbrush with bristles at a 45 degree angle.
The more regularly you brush, the more your dog will get used to it and the better their dental health will be. For best results brushing should be at least once a day and can be combined with other, passive methods of caring for your dog's oral care like dental treats, supplements or gels.
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR CAT TO ACCEPT BRUSHING
The same rules apply to cats. Remember to introduce them to brushing gradually and be patient.
Not all cats will allow teeth brushing, so if your cat tries to bite or scratch you, please stop. Your health and relationship with your cat is more important!
Here are some additional tips on brushing your cat's teeth:
1. Obtain a toothbrush designed for cats. Cats are not small dogs and their needs are a little different.
2. Obtain special pet toothpaste in a flavour that your cat finds tasty. DO NOT use human toothpaste.
3. Choose a routine time each day.
4. For the first few days just put a little bit of toothpaste on your finger and let your cat sniff it, lick it.
5. Have your cat's back to you when you start. They may try to reverse and it is less confrontational. Sometimes it's easier to have someone help hold them.
6. For the next few days move on slowly, retracting the lips and touching the teeth with the toothbrush, then stop and reward them.
7. If your cat tolerates that you can start gentle brushing, building-up to cover all the teeth.
If your cat doesn't tolerate toothbrush, but allows you to touch their teeth you could try, instead of brushing, just wiping the teeth with gauze. Start at the back, putting your finger with gauze under the cheek and move towards the front. Do it daily and you will significantly decrease the amount of plaque on your cat's teeth.
For more stubborn cats we recommend passive methods of oral care, like PlaqueOff supplement which you sprinkle on their food.
Remember to use it only if your cat doesn't have thyroid problems, as PlaqueOff contains natural iodine.