How To Care For Your Pet’s Oral Health?
Brushing your pet’s teeth for a few minutes each day is the best way of preventing dental problems and the expense of further dental anaesthetics and treatments. Most dogs and many cats can be trained to tolerate and even enjoy tooth brushing, although there will be some individuals where the process is impossible. You should not attempt this if you think it could be dangerous.
Here’s a step by step guide on how to kickstart a tooth brushing habit for your pet:
- Get your pet used to sitting still whilst you gently stroke and feel around the mouth area. In nervous individuals, you need not lift the lip at this stage. Do this for 5 minutes twice daily until your pet tolerates it well. This could be for two days or two weeks, depending on the individual. This is good obedience training for dogs and socialisation for cats, apart from anything else! Always give rewards in the form of praise and attention after each session but the session itself is ‘work’ not play and the main aim here is to get your pet to be still.
- Gently lift the lip and press with your fingers on the gums and around the teeth on both sides. Gradually extend this so that you can touch all teeth including the back ones. Again, repeat as often as necessary until your pet tolerates it well. Nervous animals will need to be taken slowly at the early stages. Reward every time.
- Now you can introduce flavoured pet toothpaste. The flavoured paste is accepted or liked by most animals but if your pet appears to dislike it, do not persist. Brushing without toothpaste is fine too. For those that like it, the toothpaste is a reward in itself. Note: Never use human toothpaste or mouth washes.
- Build up the sessions until you are able to gently rub the teeth and gums with your fingers and then using a soft cloth over your finger (with or without toothpaste). You are already heling your pet’s mouth! Five minutes twice daily is fine. Try to reach the back teeth more as your pet gets used to the idea.
- Introduce a soft tooth brush. Special angled pet ones are available but a cheap children’s tooth brush is fine too. Start very gently at first. Always remember to reward after.
- Aim to brush once or twice daily with or without tooth paste.
- Finger stalls are available instead of brushes. Some people find these easier to use.
- Safe dog chew and pulling toys are also good for teeth, and hard biscuits help too.
We hope these tips are useful for you. For any questions, feel free to reach out to us.