Although you know you need to brush your own teeth daily, you might be surprised to learn that you should be brushing your pet's teeth daily, too. Whether you have a cat or a dog you should be sure to provide dental care for your pet as their teeth are subject to the same risks of plaque and tooth decay as are human teeth. Ideally, you will start your pet's dental care when they are very young, a time when it is easier for your pet to get used to you touching inside her mouth. However, you can learn to care for your pet's teeth even if your pet is older.
To start home dental care with your pet you should start with just your finger. You can dip your finger in tuna juice for cats and beef broth for dogs. This may just convince your pet to allow you to put your finger inside her mouth. When your finger is in there gently rub the teeth with it, focusing on the gum line where the gums and teeth meet. Your pet may be resistant at first. If so, take it slow and steady and over time your pet will get used to the process.
Once you can use your finger in your pet's mouth, you can begin to cover your finger with gauze and then continue to clean as before. Use a circular motion when cleaning and start at the front, working your way to the back and to the bottom. Once your pet will allow the gauze, you can move onto a toothbrush, either one designed for animals or a very soft human toothbrush. You should hold the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle while brushing and you should move it in an oval motion. Again, it is important to focus on the gum line as this is where food and bacteria mix to cause plaque and tooth decay. Once you have successfully introduced the toothbrush, you can slowly begin to introduce toothpaste. Be sure to only use toothpaste designed for your pet as human toothpaste and baking soda can cause an upset stomach for your dog or cat.
Now, there are a few other things you need to know about brushing your pet's teeth. When you sit down to brush, you need to place your hand over the top of your pet's muzzle and use your fingers to push in her lips in on one side of the mouth. Push in between the back teeth and this will hold her mouth open for you. Then you can clean the teeth on the other side of the mouth. Once you are done, all you need to do is repeat this on the other side. This should only take about two minutes and this can be a process that helps you bond even more with your pet.
If your pet continues to resist brushing you can also wrap her up in a towel or blanket in order to keep her still and contained. The most important thing to remember is to keep these brushing sessions relaxed and not push too far too fast. You want your pet to be calm and accepting of the routine and by praising her and keeping things short and sweet you will get better results. You can also be sure to feed your pet mostly dried food and biscuits after each meal, which will ensure less plaque forms.
The thought of brushing your pet's teeth might be intimidating and even unpleasant. However, you love your pet and want to give her the very best care and this includes caring for her teeth. You will find that you and your pet will both need to adjust to this new routine and an older pet will take longer to adjust to it, but in the end it will provide your pet with a healthier set of teeth. It will also ensure they have better breath, which is preferred whenever you get those big doggie kisses all over your face.