Just like with humans, dental hygiene is crucial for your pet. To care for your dog correctly, they need to have their teeth cleaned regularly to prevent plaque and gingivitis, leading to periodontal disease.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Studies have shown that an estimated over ? of dogs have periodontal disease. This is a dental issue that causes inflammation or infection of the tissue that surrounds their teeth. This disease begins as gingivitis caused by a buildup of plaque and can progress to include the bony tooth sockets.
If this disease is left untreated, it can lead to pain and tooth loss for your pet, affecting your pet’s quality of life.
How do I Help My Dog Get Used to Tooth Brushing?
If your pet has never had its teeth brushed, it may take some time for them to adjust. To help your pet get used to tooth brushing, we recommend:
- Set up to brush their teeth in a quiet place and time.
- For smaller dogs, you can hold them securely in your lap, keeping their head facing away from you.
- For larger dogs, you can sit in a chair and have them sit next to you. Make sure they are in a position where you can easily handle the toothbrush and their teeth.
- To help ease them into the process, you can use a soft cloth and rub it along a few of their teeth at a time in a back and forth motion.
- When practicing with your pet, be sure to stay on the outside of the teeth to avoid bites.
- After you’ve worked with your pet and they are more comfortable with the cloth, you can let them taste the pet toothpaste. Once they’ve tasted it, you can put some on the cloth and rub it on their teeth.
Once you’ve followed these steps and your pet is comfortable, you can start using the toothbrush.
What Steps Should I Take to Properly Brush My Pet’s Teeth?
Apply a small amount of pet toothpaste to the toothbrush. Raise your pet’s lip on one side of their mouth using your index finger to expose their teeth. To brush their lower teeth, open their mouth a little by tilting their head backward while holding their upper jaw with the index finger and thumb of your free hand. Brush each side of their mouth for 30 seconds.
Start with the larger teeth and canine teeth where plaque typically accumulates, and you can work on eventually brushing all of your pet’s teeth. If your pet is very cooperative, you can brush the insides of their teeth as well. Don’t worry if you are only able to brush the outside of the teeth; this is the area that requires concentration since it is where most of the periodontal damage occurs.
Either wear gloves or thoroughly wash your hands after brushing your pet’s teeth as their mouths are full of bacteria.
What Supplies Do I Need for Pet Dental Care?
You will want to use a toothbrush that is specifically designed for dogs. These are available with angled handles, multiple heads that brush the inside and outside of the tooth, finger brushes you can place on your fingertip, and small brushes that are easy to hold.
For some pets, you can use a very soft toothbrush designed for use in babies. If you are unsure of what type of toothbrush you should use, you can speak with your veterinarian at Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro.
Do I Need to Use Pet Toothpaste?
We recommend that you only use toothpaste that is designed specifically for pets. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that you are not supposed to swallow. If your pet swallows them, they can experience an upset stomach and digestive issues. Human toothpaste also contains xylitol which is toxic to dogs, and sodium which can make your pet sick.
You can purchase toothpaste for your pet that is flavored to be appealing to their tastes. It is available in mint, malt, beef, and poultry.
Schedule Your Pet’s Teeth Cleaning Today!
At Animal Medical Center of Streetsboro, we offer teething cleaning, polishing, tooth extractions, dental x-rays, and oral surgery services to keep your pet’s teeth healthy. Contact us today to learn more!