I know you brush your teeth….but did you know your fur baby also needs to brush theirs?

Most humans brush their teeth twice daily as part of their typical hygienic routine. So why wouldn’t we do it for our beloved pets?

Why brush their teeth?

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, “estimated that over 2/3 of dogs over the age of three have periodontal disease, an inflammation or infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth.” Periodontal disease begins as plaque that can turn into gingivitis without any cleaning; it then progresses to periodontal disease.

What do I use?

A toothbrush

    • Made for humans or pets

    • Multi angled or not

    • Finger brush or traditional

Toothpaste

    • NOT human paste; it’s toxic (not formulated to be swallowed)

    • Not baking soda it can upset stomachs Made for dogs + cats ONLY Preferably enzymatic; it breaks down tartar and plaque and makes brushing it off easier
    • Also recommended: good teeth cleaning chews such as toys (stay away from greenies they are not healthy), plaque/tartar scraping kit, and water drops to freshen breath

How often should I brush?

Many experts including the VCA Animal Hospital recommend at least 2- 3 times a week. For better results and less of a chance of health issues they recommend twice a day just like you! Doing it more often and starting it from an earlier age are two things that can help your dog or cat get used to it and establish it as a routine.

How do I brush their teeth?

    1. Make sure the pet is settled and in a calm environment.
    2. If your pet is small, hold it in your lap facing away from you, large animals go beside you.
    3. Start by rubbing your finger or cloth on outer teeth and along gum lines gently.
    4. Allow your pet to taste some of the toothpaste off your finger/the brush. Pet toothpaste comes in many flavors: peanut butter, vanilla, chicken, beef, tuna, etc.
    5. Put the toothpaste on the toothbrush and use the same motions as in step 3.
    6. Get all the teeth and brush for 30 seconds (VCA Animal Hospital).

They didn’t get their teeth brushed in the wild, why now? That would be valid if it weren’t for the fact that the animals we have aren’t wild. The majority of domesticated dogs and cats eat kibble and/or wet food. Wild canines eat raw which includes the bones that scrape the tartar and plaque right off. They also chew on the occasional stick or rock. Dental problems do occur in wild canines and felines as well.

Sources

Care, International Cat. International Cat Care, 6 Oct. 2019,

Hiscox, Lorraine. “Brushing Teeth in Dogs: VCA Animal Hospitals.” Brushing Teeth In Dogs | VCA Animal Hospitals,

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Ara Hughey
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