How To Give Your Pet A Celebrity White Smile

How To Give Your Pet A Celebrity White Smile

A lot of us are uncomfortable when it comes to brushing our pet’s teeth.  Although it may seem difficult at first, over time it can become a normal daily occurrence.  It is also vital to preventing dental disease and maintaining your pet’s overall health and well being.  If we are able to achieve daily dental hygiene with our pets we can prevent having to perform an expensive professional dental cleaning.  We can also avoid any secondary medical conditions that can occur when dental disease is left untreated (for more detail check out last week’s blog at Dental Disease in Dogs and Cats )   Throughout this blog we will explain how to get you and your best friend in the habit of daily teeth brushing.

Keep in mind that this is a process that will enable us to be able to brush our pet’s teeth on a daily basis.  But it may take a couple of weeks up to a month for your pet to adapt to the new routine.  And if your dog is resisting just remain on that stage until he/she is comfortable enough to proceed to the next step.  There is no rush and every dog or cat is unique, so keep in mind that you want it to become a positive aspect of their daily life.

Step 1: Allowing your pet to get used to having his/her mouth handled

Your pet may not be used to have someone or something in and around their teeth.  In order to allow him to be comfortable with this we recommend touching their mouth, lifting their lips, running your finger along their front teeth and gums.  We recommend doing this multiple times when your pet is comfortable and quiet.  If your pet is excited or agitated this is not an ideal time to practice as you may be accidentally bitten.  Also every time you are touching in or around the mouth remember to reward you pet when he is calm and accepting.  You can reward with just a verbal command (ex: good boy, good girl) or with a treat.  Once your pet is tolerant with your finger in or around his mouth we recommend using a wet facecloth over your finger to again touch and manipulate the mouth.  This allows your pet to become used to different textures in his mouth and will help when you introduce the toothbrush.

Step 2: Introduce toothpaste

You should use a toothpaste that is specifically formulated for dogs and cats.  They cannot use human toothpaste because it contains fluoride which should not be swallowed.  There different flavors so you can choose one that your pet enjoys.  Keep in mind that different flavors may have different textures in order to obtain the desired flavor.  Once they are comfortable licking the toothpaste off of your finger you can try spreading it onto their teeth and gums.  The next step would be to apply it to the toothbrush and let them lick it off.  This will provide a pleasant introduction to the toothbrush.

Step 3: Introduce the toothbrush

After your pet is comfortable licking the toothpaste off of the toothbrush, the next step is to try brushing.  Wet the bristles of the toothbrush before applying the paste.  You may want to apply only a thin strip or use your finger to push it into the bristles to prevent excess from falling on the floor.  Start with a tooth that is easy to access such as the big fang tooth (canine tooth) near the front of the mouth.  Perform small circular motions and when your dog is comfortable progress to other teeth in the mouth and the gums.  If your dog or cat is having a difficult time with this step, there are “brushless” toothpastes available that would simply require you running the paste along their gums and teeth using your finger or the toothbrush, no circular brushing is required (

Step 4: Successful brushing

As your pet becomes more comfortable, continue to add more teeth into each session.  Focus on the outsides of their teeth as dental diets and treats will help reduce the plaque and tartar build up on the inside (tongue side) of their teeth.  We recommend having their “favorite” treat for them after their dental cleaning as a reward for their good behaviour.  We also recommend taking your dog for a walk or playing fetch outside to prevent them from fixating on the fact that you just cleaned his/her teeth.  This will also help make it a positive experience for you and your pet.

For tips and tricks to help you and your pet develop the daily habit of teeth brushing, check out this website:

If you have any issues and would like a demonstration, call us at (519) 250-0099 to schedule an appointment with one of our technicians.

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