February is Pet Dental Month. We often downplay the importance of dental health in pets. From periodontal disease to infections, we are here to remind you that brushing your pet’s teeth is just as important as brushing your own.
Here are some tips on how to brush your pet’s teeth.
Pick a calm time to brush.
Choose a room that’s away from any other animals or activities. Make sure your pet is comfortable and that your lighting is good to see. Perhaps as you get into a routine, make it “teeth-brushing” time as you would for meal times or walk times.
Start with just using your fingers.
If your pet isn’t used to getting their teeth brush, start slowly. Use your fingers to gently pull their lips back, touching the gums and the teeth gently.
Use a dog toothbrush and toothpaste
There are toothbrushes and toothpaste that are specifically made for pets. First start with just the toothbrush. Begin at the back of the teeth, using a circular motion. Make your way to the front. The inside of the teeth is the trickiest, so you may have to work your way up to this with your pet. Keep the brushing short, with 2–3-minute sessions. Introduce the toothpaste by letting your dog lick some off your finger. Once they seem comfortable with the taste, then add it to the brush.
Praise and reward
All throughout this process, use soft and encouraging tones with your pet. It can be frustrating but staying calm can help. And of course, use treats to praise too! Make teeth brushing a calm and positive experience to get the best results.
Consult Your Vet
If there is a lot of bleeding or you aren’t sure about anything, consult your vet.