owners, can get cavities,
loose teeth and tooth abscesses. If your pet has bad breath it can be a
sign of periodontal disease resulting from a build-up of plaque. If
plaque is not removed, your pet can end up with a bacterial infection.
The bacterial infection can spread through his bloodstream into your
pet's body systems where it can damage his liver, kidneys, even his
heart and brain.
Take the offense in protecting your pet
from periodontal disease by brushing his teeth. Brushing your pet's
teeth should not be a chore or uncomfortable for either party; it should
be a regular and fun part of your routine! There are a number of steps
that you as an owner can take to keep your dog or cat's teeth sparkling
Begin by acclimating your pet to having
your fingers in and around his mouth. Start by dipping one of your
fingers in beef or chicken broth or bouillon so this new exercise seems
less scary and unfamiliar and more delicious for him. Slowly and gently,
rub a bouillon-flavored finger over your pet's teeth and gums. Remember
to take your time and shower your pet with praise! After doing this a
few times your pet should look forward to it, so he's ready for the next
Wrap a piece of gauze around your finger
and again dip it in bouillon. This is going to simulate feeling of your
pet having his teeth brushed. If your pet is relaxed and comfortable,
gently rub your finger in circular motions over your pet's teeth.
Continue with this step until your pet is used to the action of brushing
with the gauze.
The next step is getting your dog or cat
used to the dental tool you will be using to actually brush his teeth.
This may be a toothbrush made especially for pets, a dental sponge or a
dental pad. These items often have strange new consistencies or textures
for your pet. Let your pet lick something he likes off the toothbrush or
pad so he becomes familiar with the texture.
Once used to the dental tool of your
choosing, you can add to it a pet-specific toothpaste or rinse. Pets
cannot use human toothpastes for a few reasons. Our toothpaste is
inedible, which is why we do not ingest it. Your pet does not spit as we
do so they require an edible toothpaste. Many human toothpastes also
contain xylitol which may cause liver failure in dogs.
While not the minty flavors we are
accustomed to, pet toothpastes are often come in varieties such as beef,
chicken, malt or other flavor pets find appealing. Get your pet used to
both the flavor and consistency of his toothpaste by applying it to your
finger and letting him lick it off. Go a step further by applying a
small amount of the toothpaste along your pet's tooth and gum line with
Make sure to praise and encourage your
pet so they associate this taste with a good experience! After your pet
is used to you handling his mouth, the sensation of having his teeth
brushed with gauze, the texture of toothbrush bristles and the flavor
and texture of the toothpaste you have chosen it is time to brush his
teeth. Encourage your pet by using a happy and calm voice as you apply
toothpaste to his brush and begin brushing. To get your pet used to
brushing, consider beginning with just his upper canine teeth. They are
the large set of teeth at the front of his mouth. Continue slowly as
your pet allows you to brush a few teeth at a time and gradually
progress until you are able to brush all of his teeth. When you praise
your pet at the end of each exercise he will associate having his teeth
brushed as a great game and quality time spent with you.