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Furparenting 101: How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

Many pet-owners miss the importance of keeping up with their pet’s oral hygiene. Read this article to know how to brush your pet’s teeth.

dog getting their tooth brushed

Cebu is a pet-friendly place. There are malls and other establishments where pet owners can bring their furbabies, and there is no shortage of pet clinics and pet grooming salons in almost every corner of Metro Cebu.

That said, many furparents still miss the mark in terms of playing an active role in their pet’s oral health care. This is why periodontal disease remains the most common dental condition in dogs and cats, the symptoms of which start manifesting by the time our pets hit the age of three.

What is periodontal disease, and how can we prevent it?

Why it is important to brush your pet’s teeth

Periodontal disease is an inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth. It starts as a plaque, which progresses to painful tooth loss and the involvement of bony tooth sockets. Over two out of three dogs over the age of three suffer this disease.

That is why it is important that we as furparents be more proactive in our pets’ dental health because good teeth are actually essential for their health and happiness. Prevention starts at home.

There are several ways to keep our pets’ teeth clean. We can use dental treats, chews and toys. But these may be not enough in preventing the accumulation of tartar on their teeth. When this happens, we would have to bring them to a veterinary surgeon who would then perform a process called prophylaxis or dental cleaning on them.

Brushing our pets’ teeth is a better way to give them proper oral hygiene. Doing it at least three times a week is the minimum recommendation in the removal of plaque and tartar.

Steps to brush your pet’s teeth

What you need: A toothbrush or a finger-brush and a pet toothpaste (not human toothpaste for it is highly dangerous to pets)

#1 Start early

It is best to introduce to your pets the routine of brushing their teeth as early as 8 to 12 weeks old. This is when their permanent teeth start growing, hence the start of plaque buildup. If your pet is older, that’s okay. Start as soon as you can.

#2 Ease them into toothbrushing

Work with your pet’s mouth by rubbing the sides gently. Then, rub their teeth and gums with your finger. This is so that they get used to the sensation little by little. Be patient, use lots of praises, and do this regularly to establish a routine. Do this when they are calm.

#3 Use a finger brush or pet toothbrush and start brushing

Gauge the temperament of your pet and see which between the toothbrush or finger brush they are more comfortable with. Put a small amount of pet toothpaste (usually chicken or beef-flavored) on the toothbrush or finger brush. Hold it at a 45-degree angle to the tooth, then brush gently in a back and forth motion. Do it in a circular motion from gum to teeth, then from the front move to the left and right part of their teeth. Lift their mouth so you can really reach the surface of their molars. You can skip brushing the inside part of their teeth since their tongue will keep it clean enough.

#4 Reward their cooperation

Give them lots of praises, and be patient. They will associate the routine with positivity so the next time they get their teeth brushed, they will be used to it and will resist less. After brushing their teeth, you can reward them with treats.

#5 Do this regularly

Brushing their teeth daily is the best practice, just like how we brush ours everyday. If you are not able to do this, three times a week is fine.