Brushing Your Pet's Teeth
STEP ONE: When your dog or cat comes seeking attention, pet and praise him and touch the muzzle and sides of the jaw. Reward with a treat. Play with his mouth for several weeks, working up to gently lifting the lips and rubbing the teeth with your finger. With a little patience, they will soon accept your attention. Use lots of love and praise to gain his confidence. Let him lick the pet toothpaste off your finger or toothbrush. Choose a flavor of toothpaste he enjoys. Choose a training phrase such as ‘brush time’ so he can associate the attention with a yummy treat to follow!
STEP TWO: After your dog or cat has gained confidence in you, you will be able to rub the teeth and gums with your finger. Place toothpaste on the toothbrush and work on the long canines that are on each side (upper and lower) for a couple of weeks, then work up to more teeth, concentrating on the large canines, premolars on top and molars on bottom. These teeth tend to build up the most calculus due to the salivary gland that excretes minerals near these teeth. You can brush with the mouth closed if that is less stressful for your pet.
STEP THREE: Once your dog or cat accepts the handling of the mouth, the toothbrush on the front and back teeth, and sits patiently, you can work on brushing technique. Hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the tooth and brush from the gum line down to the tip of the crown. A light touch is all that is needed. If the toothbrush becomes bloody, we recommend an exam. Toothbrushing should not be painful! Chewing on the bristles during a tooth brushing session is fine and may help to remove plaque.
Take your time! If your dog or cat resists your efforts, stop and start again at step one. Remember, you are training – take it slow, use lots of praise, affection and rewards!
Never use human toothpaste on your pets! The fluoride content is toxic to your kitty or puppy and some toothpaste is flavored with artificial sweeteners that are potentially fatal!