We get asked all the time, “Do I really need to brush my pet’s teeth?” The answer is yes! Why? Because pets, like humans, can get dental disease that can lead to serious health issues when left untreated. These health problems (and expensive vet visits) can be avoided by brushing and caring for their teeth. It may come as a surprise, but brushing their teeth can be quick and easy!
Start by getting your pet get used to having your fingers in his mouth. You can do this by letting him lick a yummy treat like peanut butter off your finger while you gently rub his teeth and gums.
3 Steps to Brush
Once your pet is comfortable with you handling his muzzle, follow these three easy steps to brush your dog’s teeth.
1. Gather supplies
- All you’ll need is a toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for pets.
- Toothbrush: use either a finger toothbrush that just slips over your finger or a full-sized pet toothbrush.
- Toothpaste: use a pet toothpaste with a flavor your pet likes. Never use a human toothpaste because it can make your pet sick!
- Put some of your pet-safe toothpaste on your brush and give your pet a taste of the toothpaste so they can get used to it. Experiment with different flavors (like chicken or peanut butter) to find one your pet likes best.
- Start by brushing the outside of their teeth – both top and bottom. Bonus tip: You do not need to brush the inside of their teeth as their tongue naturally cleans there.
- Gradually increase the number of teeth you brush, reapplying the toothpaste as needed. And if you can’t get them all the first few times, don’t push it. You can pick up where you left off on the next brushing.
- When you are done brushing, praise your pet like crazy and reward them with some play.
Once you and your pet get used to this new routine, it should only take a minute to brush their teeth – and they may even come to like it!
Watch our Product Specialist, Melissa, brush Morgan’s teeth in this step by step how-to video.
Additional Dental Care Boosters
While brushing your pet’s teeth is best – there are some other great products that can help keep their smile pearly white. While these items won’t replace the need to brush, they can help reduce unwanted plaque and tartar buildup.
- Dental Chews – Dental chews can help scrub tartar and plaque off teeth. And most dogs enjoy a good chew over a brush. Below are a few brands that we love.
- Greenies – Designed to clean teeth as your dog bites down and chews.
- Ark Naturals – These dental chews help clean teeth and freshen breath as your dog chews plus they contain a patented “toothpaste” center with plaque-fighting ingredients.
- Whimzees – Fun shaped chews designed to scrub away plaque as your dog chews.
- Food and Water Additives – Another alternative to chews are food or water additives. They contain ingredients that help reduce bacteria and prevent tartar build up.
There are a variety of options when it comes to caring for your dog’s teeth. Regular brushing along with dental chews, treats and supplements work together to provide the best defense against dental disease. Caring for your dog’s teeth now – before problems arise – will save you both hassle and heartache. We can help you get started with all the essential products you need. Come see us!
Note: Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice.