Brushing your dog's or cat's teeth prevents damage, improves hygiene and minimizes long-term problems. Although "doggie breath" is often ignored as a normal occurrence, a strong odor from your pet's mouth may actually indicate serious health problems. In addition to damaging teeth and gums, dental issues may become life-threatening conditions.
To help your pet become more comfortable with brushing, here are a few tips:
Do not pry open your pet's mouth. Instead, softly spread the lips to access the gums and mouth.
Gently massage the teeth and gums with your fingers to acclimate your pet to the sensation.
Introduce a pet-friendly, flavored toothpaste. Allow your dog or cat to taste it from your finger before starting the brushing. Your veterinarian can recommend toothpaste specially designed for your pet, as those made for people can contain harmful or unpleasant ingredients.
Softly brush the outside of the tooth from gum to tip, starting with the upper row first.
To limit tartar build-up between brushing, chew toys and crunchy, easy-to-digest treats are a great reward.