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How often do you think about your pet’s oral hygiene? If you’re like me, probably not that often if ever. But, just like with us, their oral health is extremely important. Dogs and cats rarely get cavities, but they do get plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth which can lead to gum disease, painful rotten teeth, bad breath and infection that can spread to other organs in the body. We can help prevent oral health issues with crunchy kibble, dental chew sticks and tooth brushing! If you’ve never brushed your pet’s teeth before, you’re probably nervous about it. Here are some tips for getting your pet accustomed to regular tooth brushing.

  1. If you have a cat or small dog you may want to place him in the sink for easier handling. This guy doesn’t look very impressed which is why, if you have a feline friend, you may want to don some oven mitts and yes that will make the tooth brushing clumsy.

2. Larger pets may benefit from having a towel wrapped around them with only their head exposed.

[Credit: BarkPost]

3. Choose a quiet time in your house and speak softly to avoid unnecessary stress for either of you.

4. To get your pet used to having your fingers in his mouth, you might try dipping your finger in chicken broth or tuna juice. Once he starts to lick your finger, rub your fingers gently along his teeth and gums lifting his lips as you would if you were brushing.

[Credit: DeerfieldVet]

5. To get your pet accustomed to having her teeth brushed, start by putting a small amount of peanut butter or tuna juice on the tooth brush and letting him chew it or lick it off. Select either a silicone finger brush or special doggie or kitty tooth brush from the pet store. You can also use soft human tooth brushes. The children’s size works best.


6. Now you’re ready to brush! Select a toothpaste flavor you think your pet will enjoy. They come in flavors like tuna, chicken and liver. But remember never to use human toothpaste for your pet because it may cause stomach upset. Place your hand over the pet’s muzzle from the top. Gently squeeze and pull the lips up on one side while tilting the head back so the mouth opens. Brush the teeth in a circular motion while holding the brush at a 45 degree angle. Brush the gum line as well and repeat this process for the other side.

[Credit: Cesar’sWay]

Plenty of praise and a few treats will make tooth brushing a positive experience your pet will come to enjoy.

[Credit: Giphy]