The key to consistently dazzling pearly whites is always to keep that mouth HEALTHY. This rule not only apply’s to us but our furry family members as well. Did you know this is the number one area that is neglected in CAT & DOG health? Yep it’s true. Pet owners suck across the board taking care of this one.
We all love those Puppy & Kitty kisses, but sometimes that halitosis can almost knock you off your feet! I know some of you have just become immune to the smell, but I promise it doesn’t have to be like that.
Dental sticks and supplements that you add to water are great but just do not take the place of brushing your pets teeth.
This article will help take the dread out of doing this essential task for all of you and give you a simple step by step process to get the deed done. As always I believe in keeping things fun and motivated for everyone included. If you do this properly your pets will not only tolerate getting their teeth brushed but enjoy it… yep you’ve read right enjoy it.
So how often do you think your pets teeth need to be brushed? The answer everyday… but to get everybody started especially if you’ve never brushed their teeth before we’ll have to start slower like twice a week.
So let’s begin. If you have it give your pet a little calming formula to relax them. Next I always believe in setting a CALM room environment. Put on soft, slow, music on a low volume in the center of the room. Let this music play for at least 5 to 10 minutes before approaching your pet. This will help both of you decompress and be calmer. Make sure you 2 are alone so there are no distractions.
Once you’ve done this decide where you are going to brush your pets teeth. For example on the couch, Make sure you have a medium to large towel or blanket in reach to put on your lap. Make sure all your tools are right next to you for easy access. Your pets toothbrush, and toothpaste (also DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE for this it must be for your cat or dog only).
Place your pet on your lap and just hold, stroke and snuggle them for a couple of minutes. Begin by putting a little toothpaste on your finger and letting your pet lick it off, all the while softly praising them.
Next begin to massage your pets shoulders and lead up to the head, continue gently stroking the sides of the face by the nose and mouth area. This is getting your pet ready for you to handle his mouth.
Step by Step instructions to brush your DOG’S TEETH
- Choose a calm time to brush your dog’s teeth. It should be you and the dog without a living room full of active children or other pets
- Buy a canine toothbrush. These are available at pet stores or online pet supply outlets. They have a longer, curved handle that makes it easy to reach the back teeth. Only use toothpaste that is specifically for dogs. While it works well for us, human toothpaste can irritate your dog’s stomach.
- Choose the location for brushing your dog’s teeth. Make sure you have good lighting.
- Touch the teeth and gums without the brush. Can you do this initial step? Lift the top lip up and hold it while you touch the teeth; then pull the bottom lip down and touch the bottom teeth. Please be gentle here.
- Touch the toothbrush to the teeth. Touch the front, side, and back teeth on the top and bottom. Praise and reward your dog for tolerating this step. Use your Mommy or Daddy voice for this part.
- Introduce the toothpaste to the dog. Start by showing your dog the toothpaste and letting him lick it from your finger. All the while praising them.
- Add the toothpaste to the toothbrush. Not a big amount just from end to end of the toothbrush.
- Start brushing the top teeth. Hold the upper lip up. Brush the front teeth. Praise your dog in your Maternal voice.
- Move from the front teeth further back to the side and back teeth on the top. If they start to resist do kissy noises and keep going.
- Start brushing the bottom teeth. Hold down the bottom lip and brush the bottom teeth. Start with the front teeth, then move to the side and back.
- On the bottom teeth, now brush the sides and back. If your dog is tolerating toothbrushing, you can brush both the outside and inside of the teeth when you are brushing. The inside of the teeth will be a little harder to brush, so if necessary, work on adding this step after your dog is calm with the outsides of the upper and lower teeth being brushed.
- Praise and treats. Getting their teeth brushed is unnatural for dogs. To make this a positive experience, frequently praise your dog. You can also reward your dog with a small treat at each step. This seems counterintuitive because you are cleaning the teeth and then giving some food. However, the initial goal is teaching the skill and later you can work on removing food from the equation.
Step by Step instructions to brush your CAT’S TEETH
- You can purchase a cat-sized dental brush at your veterinary clinic, online or at a pet store. These toothbrushes are typically smaller, softer and more flexible than dog toothbrushes. You can also use a soft, rubber brush that fits over your first finger if that is more comfortable for you.
You’ll need to buy some feline toothpaste. Manufacturers know that cats love the smell and taste of fish, so they flavor the toothpaste with either fish or chicken to make it more palatable for your cat. Note: Never use human toothpaste with your pet, because it contains chemicals that may be harmful to her digestive system.
- Hold your kitty in your lap and let her get comfortable.
- Once she is relaxed, gently raise her lip on one side of her mouth and begin brushing on the outer portions of her teeth. Always brush down & away from the gum line so that you loosen any embedded food particles and push them out of the mouth.
- On the bottom jaw, brush up away from the gum line. You may need to open her mouth by gently pinching her two cheeks between your two fingers, but cats will generally open up on their own once they taste the toothpaste.
- Continue working your way around the outside of her teeth on both sides until you have brushed the entire mouth.
- You don’t need to rinse her mouth with anything at this point because the toothpaste is made to be eaten — there are no chemicals that can hurt her tummy. Allow her access to her water bowl once you’re finished.
- I always end toothbrushing with a one on one play session with Kitty.
What if my CAT resists?
If she resists sitting in your lap for the brushing, you may need to resort to wrapping her in a towel like a burrito to accomplish the job. I don’t recommend this if she’s an older cat or if she has any health issues, as you don’t want to over stress her.
If wrapping her is not an option, try just brushing two or three teeth at a sitting until you get them all cleaned, spreading out the process over a couple of days.
A special thanks to the A.K.C. Vet staff & Vet Cate Burnette you guys are awesome!
Got Questions? I’d love to help call (310) 743-9643
REMEMBER PETS RULE!