Brushing your Pet's Teeth
Tooth brushing is just as important for our dogs and cats as it is for ourselves, and helps to prevent painful dental and gum disease.
We often get asked, “how often should I brush my pet’s teeth?”- the answer is that every day would be ideal, but once or twice a week is still better than not brushing at all. Puppies and Kittens can start having their teeth brushed (gently) as soon as you get them, the younger they are the easier it will be to teach them.
You will need to buy a dog or cat tooth brushing kit, which contains a finger toothbrush, a handheld toothbrush, and dog or cat toothpaste.
These are available from reception. The toothpaste contains enzymes that help to break down plaque and is flavoured with meat or fish to make it taste pleasant.
HUMAN TOOTHPASTE SHOULD NOT BE USED AS IT IS TOXIC TO PETS.
All dogs and cats should receive a dental check every 6months with the vet or nurse. At Folly Veterinary Centre we offer toothbrushing assistance appointments free of charge. One of the checks can be done at the time of your pet’s vaccinations. By doing this we can spot dental and gum disease early and treat it before it gets worse.
How To Start Tooth Brushing:
Whenever we teach our pets something new, we need to let them know when they are doing it correctly by rewarding them positively, for example with a kind word, a stroke/scratch, or a treat. We should never tell them off if they are not doing it correctly, as this will create fear and anxiety.
Gently stroke the outside of your pets cheeks with your finger(no brush)and slowly lift the lip for about 30 seconds. Reward with praise and a treat at the end of the session.
Repeat as above and also place a small amount of toothpaste on the end of your finger to let your pet sample it. Reward with praise and a treat at the end of the session.
Repeat Day 2 but this time run your finger or toothbrush and a small amount of toothpaste over your pets teeth for 30-45 seconds. Reward with praise and a treat at the end of the session.
Repeat Day 3 adding 15 seconds time to running your finger or toothbrush over your pets teeth. Reward with praise and a treat at the end of the session.
If all is going well run your finger over teeth for 30 seconds and then gently insert the toothbrush and again run over the teeth for 30 seconds. Reward with praise and a treat at the end of the session.
Repeat as Day 5 and increase by 30 seconds if possible.
By now you should be aiming to spend one minute on each side of the mouth. (Provided this is a positive experience for your pet.)
Please note it is better to brush your pet’s teeth for a shorter time than not at all so do have a go.
Be patient, little and often is the key. Build the process up slowly, even if this takes several weeks, so that your pet is comfortable with the process.
Always use praise and/or treats to reward your pet-it’s a new experience for you and your pet and rewarding them will make them learn to enjoy it. You can use dental treats designed to help keep the teeth clean for this.
Always put a small amount of toothpaste on your finger or toothbrush. Your pet will like the taste and will associate the pleasant taste with toothbrushing.
If your pet shows any aggression STOP immediately. Call your vet for further advice.