Animal Family’s Guide To Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
- Start with a yummy flavored tooth paste. Vanilla mint, poultry, beef or malt are some of the favorites. Any flavor your dog enjoys is alright but make sure it is safe for pets. DO NOT use human tooth paste! It is not good for your pet. I always open the tooth paste container in front of the puppy. Remember to keep it in a safe place
- Place the toothpaste on your finger and let your pet lick it off! Go ahead and do this 3-4 times in one training session. Do the same thing everyday, until the dog sits in front of you and starts licking his/her lips (because THEY KNOW what is in that tube).
- Now add the toothbrush. Let your pet lick the paste off the brush. Continue this daily until your pet starts chewing on the tooth brush.
- Begin moving the tooth brush around in your pet’s mouth. Even try playing a little game of keep away. Begin to increase the time and the focus to actually brushing the teeth and lifting the lips. (If your pet seems uncomfortable, stop and start again tomorrow)
- Once they learn that when you touch their mouth they get a tasty reward, your pet will look forward to brushing. Even though you really only need to brush the outside of the teeth, with this method you can brush the inside surface as well. Dogs think it’s great! You can even go to the next step and use an electric tooth brush.Keep your toothbrush and tooth paste where your pet can’t get to it or they may help themselves.
- You can use this method to train your pet to tolerate an oral exam as well. Start slowly, lift their lips and check out their teeth for 1-2 seconds. Later that day go ahead and look again, extending the time, until you can perform an exam of the whole mouth.
- What time to brush your pet’s teeth is a matter of personal choice. I brush my dog’s teeth after they have eaten and we are getting ready for bed. They are TIRED. However, you may want to brush before a meal so your pet is focused and hungry.
Here is a helpful list of things that are NOT GOOD for your pet’s teeth.
- Rawhide bones with Knots
- Animal bones of any sort
- Tennis balls ( OK for fetch but not as a chewy)
- Ice Cubes
- Cow Hooves
- Rope tugs (Once they fray they can cut gums, damage teeth and may be ingested.)
- Hard Plastic Frisbees
- Anything that is harder than your dog’s teeth