Dental care isn’t just important for humans! If you have a pet, you have to take care of their oral health too. Like humans, pets can develop painful gum disease if their teeth aren’t properly cared for. We understand that it may not be easy to clean your pet’s teeth, but these tips will make the process much easier and safer for you and your pet.
Your local pet store should have pet-friendly toothbrushes and toothpastes (human toothpaste is toxic for dogs and cats!), or you can order them online. To start, however, you may just want to wet your finger or a piece of gauze to get your pet used to you touching their mouths.
Like training, let brushing your pet’s teeth be a slow-going process to start. Start by picking a comfortable spot to have your pet lie down and later associate getting their teeth brushed with relaxation. Once you get your pet to relax, gently lift its lips and touch its gums and teeth for just a few seconds at a time. Slowly introduce a piece of wet gauze and rub it over their teeth. Over the next few days or weeks, introduce a piece of wet gauze with toothpaste, and then introduce the toothbrush alone. Don’t be discouraged if your pet doesn’t take to getting their teeth brushed quickly!
Make sure to reward your pet with lots of treats and praise when they cooperate, and don’t punish them for not cooperating. As frustrating as it can be to not be able to brush your pet’s teeth right away, it will be easier and safer for you to clean their teeth in the long run if you use force-free methods to clean their teeth.
Brush your pet’s teeth every day if you can, or at least a few times a week. Your pet’s diet is more carbohydrate-rich than their ancestors are used to, so you want to prevent plaque and tartar buildup as much as you can.
Seeing your dentist is the best way for you to make sure that you don’t have any underlying oral health issues, so it’s important to have your pet’s vet take a look at their teeth and gums to ensure that their oral health is in good shape too! Your vet may recommend that your pet get a professional cleaning or provide tips on how to improve their oral health through their diet.
Set a good example for your pet as their pack leader and get your own teeth cleaned and examined twice a year. Our team at Riccobene Associates Family Dentistry looks forward to seeing you at one of our locations. Contact us to schedule an appointment!