Dental hygiene in pets is very similar to human dental hygiene. It takes only 36 hours for tartar to turn into calculus. Brushing should be done daily for pets and started at a young age. The majority of pets owners are not aware that this needs to be done and how critical it is.
Brushing your pet’s teeth is a training process and takes patience for both owner and pet. Compliance does not happen overnight! It is important to start slowly and introduce your pet to only the toothpaste. (Remember to use “pet” toothpaste and not “human” toothpaste, which makes them sick). The actual toothbrush can be a strange, foreign object to them at first.
The goal is to make brushing a fun and pleasant experience. You should first allow your pet to lick the toothpaste off your finger for the first few days. Then try moving your finger around in their mouth to get your pet used to the feeling of an object moving across the teeth and gums. After a few days of this, (remember to reward good behavior with treats!) introduce the toothbrush. Let your pet sniff/ Iick the toothbrush for a few more sessions before trying to brush. Start by brushing one area of the mouth at a time (i.e. top right, top left, bottom right, bottom left) for the first week or so.
Your pet will most likely need professional dental cleanings throughout his or her lifetime, but daily brushing can reduce the amount of dental cleanings your pet will need. Brushing can also prevent dental problems that can cause oral infections and possibly surgical extractions of infected teeth. Severe build-up of tartar on teeth causes bacteria to flow through the blood stream, which can lead to heart murmurs and other medical conditions that can shorten your pet’s lifetime. It is essential for dogs and cats to have dental cleanings annually or at least every couple of years, depending on the breed of the animal and of course, the dental care being done at home.
If you think it may be time for a dental cleaning for your pet, or you need help getting started with brushing, call and make an appointment with us! We are always happy to help with any dental concerns with your pet!