Tips & Information

4 tips to help you brush your pet’s teeth

Written by

Erin Hunter


Published on: Mar 01, 2019

Ever try brushing a toddler’s teeth? It’s not easy. But we do it because it’s important for their health. Just like brushing a toddler’s teeth, brushing your pet’s teeth is important for their health too. Proper dental care keeps their breath fresh and can help your pet live a longer, healthier life. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by age three. Here are four tips to help you create a dental care routine with your pet.

1. Start by gently examining their mouth. To get your dog or cat used to having your fingers in their mouth, start slow. Go through this exercise once or twice a day for a week or two. Don’t forget to reward both dogs and cats with a small treat tidbit for their patience. Try to stop before your pet reacts negatively and gets tired of you being in their mouth. You want your pet to see that he or she has nothing to worry about. Over time, you should be able to go from 5 seconds to 30 seconds or more. 

2. Start rubbing the gums. Once your pet is comfortable, you can start gently rubbing his or her gums with a soft facecloth, or gauze square (from a first aid kit) without any toothpaste or products on the cloth. You can wet the item or leave it dry depending on what works best for your dog or cat. Concentrate on the top front teeth, and slowly work your way to the back of the mouth and the lower teeth. 

3. Use a toothbrush. There are veterinary brushes available, but a good quality soft children’s toothbrush will work for a medium to large sized dog. Cats and smaller dogs will benefit from specialized brushes that will fit inside their tiny mouths. Most of the plaque and tartar will develop on the outside of their teeth. If you can keep the outside dental surfaces clean, a pet’s tongue will often keep the inside surfaces free of tartar.

4. Add in the toothpaste. Always use toothpaste specially designed for cats or dogs as human toothpaste has ingredients that could harm your pet if swallowed. You can try different flavours or textures until you find one your pet really likes. You’ll only need about a pea-sized amount and your dog may lick at the toothpaste and chew on the brush, and that’s okay! Just be careful that your pet doesn’t accidentally chew off any actual bristles or the head of the toothbrush.

What if my dog refuses to let me brush his teeth?

If your pet refuses to let you brush his or her teeth, ask your vet about a dental diet that can help remove tartar from their teeth, especially the back and lower teeth. Before you start a dental care routine with your pet, ask your vet for guidance. He or she can give your pet a complete oral health assessment and may recommend a specific treatment or products that can help.

Pet insurance can help with the cost of routine dental care

Our plans include coverage for routine dental care recommended by your vet. Read more about what Petsecure plans cover and get a free quote today.

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