Brushing Your Pets Teeth

Keeping your pet’s teeth healthy is important as they use their mouths for many things: eating, playing, fetching, grooming! Nobody likes the smell of “dog breath” which is caused by the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth in the form of tartar. Establishing a dental plan for your pet is best started when they are a puppy or kitten but even older dogs and cats can be taught these “new tricks.”

How to brush your pet’s teeth:

1. Brushing should ideally be performed once a day.

2. Place the toothbrush in your cat or dog’s mouth at the gum margin (where the teeth and gums meet) starting at the back of the mouth.

3. Brush the outer surfaces of the teeth in an oval pattern or swirling motion, moving from back to front for about 30 to 60 seconds on each side.

4. Finish by brushing the incisors (front teeth).

5. Focus on the outer, upper surfaces of the teeth; brushing the inside surfaces of the teeth is not necessary as the tongue does a good job of cleaning this part of the teeth.

6. Use toothpaste approved for dogs and cats (we recommend CET toothpaste.) Never use human toothpaste as it contains too much fluoride that can be toxic to pets when swallowed.

7. You can use a toothbrush approved for dogs and cats, a children’s or infant’s toothbrush with soft bristles, or a finger brush.

8. If your pet does not like the toothbrush initially, start by placing just toothpaste in the mouth or using gauze pads or a washcloth to gently wipe the teeth.

What to do when your pet won’t allow you to brush the teeth:

1. We recommend using an oral gel (like Maxiguard gel) once a day.

2. You can use dental treats (like CET chews.)

3. You can use a dental diet to supplement with your pet’s regular diet. We recommend Hill’s t/d.

There is no substitute for daily brushing. Periodic professional dental cleanings may still be necessary, so we recommend a once yearly examination to evaluate your pet’s oral health.