How to Help Keep your Pet’s Breath Fresh and Teeth Clean!
By Dr. Norette L. Underwood
February is Pet Dental Health Month and keeping your furry friends choppers in perfect health is any veterinarian’s goal. The first steping is learning how to brush your pet’s teeth.
Brushing is the ideal way to keep your pet’s mouth clean. There are tips to brushing your pet’s teeth. The key to being able to brush your pet’s teeth is making it fun. You must be upbeat and very patient. One key is to try to brush teeth after they have had a playtime. Be sure and have lots of praise available.
- You need to get your pet used to having things put in their mouth. You can dip your finger in some peanut butter, baby food or a chicken or beef flavored toothpaste. Let them lick it off your finger for several days. Then slowly try inserting your finger under their lips and let them lick. You do not need to try to open your pet’s mouth. Just slip your finger up under the gums. Then after several days of this, with toothpaste on your finger, try rubbing the outside of the teeth in a gentle circular motion. By this time your pet should be looking forward to its daily session.
- There are different types of tooth brushs, pads and other mouth care products to select from. Do not use one of your old toothbrushes or ever share your brush with your pet. Look for a toothbrush specifically designed for dogs and cats. Bigger dogs need a bigger brush than a smaller dog or cat. Finger brushes are great because they fit over your finger and make it very easy to get up under the lips. Be sure to use a toothpaste specifically designed for dogs or cats. Human toothpaste contains fluoride that can be toxic and has a foaming agent that is meant not to be swallowed. Some also contain Xylitol and surgar that cn harm your pet. There are also dental pads available for cleaning.
- I find starting with a finger brush the easiest. Let your pet smell and lick the brush to help make acceptance easier. Put the finger brush on your index finger. Apply a small amount of dog toothpaste. Then gently insert under the lip and just do the upper canine teeth (the large teeth in front). These are easy to get to. Be sure and make this fun letting them taste the paste. Be sure they get lots of praise.
- After they readily accept this it is time to move on to doing the entire mouth. Always insert your cleaning instrument gently under the lips and let your finger or brush gently rub the outside of the teeth in a circular motion. If using a long handled brush make it an extension of your index finger. Reaching the back teeth may take time for your pet to accept. Just be slow and take your time. It is not necessary to do the inside of the teeth. The action of the tongue helps keep them clean.
- Other methods of keeping the teeth clean include different chew toys. There are many toys designed for dental care. They can help keep soft tartar from accumulating and massage the gums. They also help with boredom. Chew toys should be made of rawhide, nylon and rubber, preferably the ones recommended by your veterinarian. Really hard toys may crack your pets teeth.
- Many food companies offer a food that helps keep teeth clean. Hill’s Science Diet has T/D food that works great for treats. It has a special action that helps remove tartar. This food is available only through your veterinarian.
- Keeping your pets mouth happy helps increase their life span and make them not have bad breath. Be sure and see your veterinarian for yearly dental exams. If you have questions about dental care email Dr. Underwood of the Trumann Animal Clinic and Best Friends Vet Mobile Service at email@example.com or call 870-483-6275 #wearethebest