Brushing a Dog's (or Cat's) Teeth
Posted: March 3, 2010
Does your dog have bad breath? Well, maybe you are not employing the use of proper oral hygiene. After all, us humans need to maintain a level of oral care so that we don't have halitosis. Also, just like people, dogs and cats can get gum disease--and if a dog or cat's gums are infected and abscessed, bacteria can enter the bloodstream, causing liver, kidney, and even heart malfunctions. So, what's a good way to brush your best friend's teeth?
Here are some tips for brushing your pet's teeth:
#1 Start off slowly. Make sure to use a toothpaste formula that is specifically made for animals, since human toothpaste can give stomach upsets to animals. Have your pet lick the paste off of your finger, and you might need to try a few different flavors to find one that your pet likes.
#2 Once you can get toothpaste into the animal's mouth, use a slight amount on your finger and run it across the dog or cat's teeth. This might even take several days to get your pet to do this agreeably. Once your pet is fine with you doing this to its teeth, use a toothbrush (made for pets) and make small circles on the gum line. Don't brush too hard!
#3 Be sure to cheer on your pet and express approval during this process. Afterward, you could also give your pet a treat, playtime, a walk, etc., so it will think of brushing as a positive moment.
#4 In order to practice proper oral hygiene with your pet, try to brush your pet's teeth every day.
Here are some warning signs to look for in your pet's mouth:
- Yellow or brown tartar, especially where the teeth and gums meet
- Red, swollen, bleeding, inflamed, tender, and/or receding gums
- Chronic halitosis
- Teeth that are chipped/broken
- Tooth resorption (especially common in cats)- a very painful condition in which the tooth dissolves
- A change in the animal's diet, chewing habits and appetite can signify depression (along with pawing at the face/mouth).