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Without brushing, plaque can build up, putting your dog at risk for bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. It can also cause painful infection. Severe infection can spread, causing life-threatening conditions.

Just like us humans, cats and dogs can suffer from the same types of dental problems:

Gingivitis – Inflammation of the gums, this can be really painful for your pet.

Caries – the enamel becomes decalcified leading to cavities.

Plaque – hard ‘gunk’ bacterial build up, cells and polymers on the teeth often at the gum line.

Periodontitis – General disease in the mouth that attacks both the gums and the teeth.

Pyorrhea – Inflammation in the gums and the tooth sockets, which can cause the teeth to loosen and create puss around the tooth.

How to brush your pets teeth?

Brush your dog’s teeth when they are calm and relaxed. The goal is to set a routine. The ideal is to be brushing daily – even three days a week can make a difference.

With similar dental problems occuring in animals, as with us humans its advisable to get into good habits – brushing their teeth as soon as possible. The following is an effective ‘Tooth Brushing’ guide.

Things you will need:

  • A pet toothbrush with medium strength bristles
  • Pet toothpaste, not a human type.
  • Water

Introduce the taste of toothpaste

Wash your hands and smear a pea sized amount of toothpaste onto your finger. Allow your pet to lick the toothpaste from your finger.  Repeat a number of times.

Get your pet used to contact with their mouth

Gently slide your finger with a blob of toothpaste smeared over it into your pet’s mouth. Gently stroke your finger over the outise and inside of your pets teeth and gums. Your pet will probably react so only go as far into the mouth as your pet is happy with at this eary stage.

Introduce the toothbrush – canine teeth first!

Now repeat this process but with a toothbrush.

Prepare the toothbrush with water and toothpaste, letting your dog or cat lick some of the toothpaste off the brush. 

Start to gently brush the canine teeth only, using an up and down motion. There are two on the top jaw and two on the bottom.

Try and avoid the front teeth (incisors) for now as these are the most sensitive.

The back teeth 

Start with the canine teeth, then slowly move along to the teeth behind them using a circular motion. Go as far as your pet is happy with, stop if they appear to be stressed.  Make sure you brush both sides of the mouth. 

All teeth   

Again start by brushing the canines gradually moving to the back teeth. Whilst holding the mouth closed around the muzzle, gently hold and lift the top lip with the thumb and forefinger bridging the muzzle to reveal the incisor teeth.

Many pets are sensitive in this area so proceed very gently. Gently brush the front teeth using an up and down motion. Gradually build up the amount of time spent brushing. You should try and brush your pets teeth once a day.

Regular Check Ups

Its also really important to make sure you take your pet for regular dental check ups. The vet will be able to assess your pet for any required treatment and of course assist you in caring for your pets teeth.

We have a number of videos on oral health care for your pets. Please have a look at our Dental Health category within The Vet Channel media library.

Information has been collated from a number of websites including:
Vets4Pets Advice for Brushing Cats and Dogs Teeth.
WebMd How to brush your dogs teeth.