Time to brush your pet’s teeth
Making the time to brush your pet’s teeth and getting your pet used to having their mouth touched is usually most owner’s reasons for not brushing…. so now might be the time to give it a go! Don’t worry if you don’t have pet tooth paste or a pet toothbrush you can start without.
It is only necessary to clean the outside (cheek side) of the teeth, the inside (tongue side) is cleaned with saliva. If you look at a dog with tartar on the teeth it is almost 100% on the cheek side of the teeth.
Start with a relaxed pet, after play time or when they are a little sleepy. Get your pet used to having their mouth handled. Take this stage slowly, you don’t want to traumatise them or get yourself bitten. Take it step by step until you are both comfortable. Give lots of praise and rewards, and don’t force the issue especially in sensitive pets.
Gently hold their mouth closed and slide your finger up inside the side of their lip. If you can, gently rub your finger along the teeth and gums. Do this once or twice a day until you and the pet feel comfortable with this. Just 15 or 20 seconds is enough to give them the idea without making it traumatic.
If you have pet tooth paste now is the time to add this in. Put a small dab on your finger allow them to sniff and lick it then proceed with the above until they are okay with the toothpaste taste. You could if you want to use a tiny bit of peanut butter at this point in the place of toothpaste just for fun.
If you are using toothpaste and the pet does not like it, try allowing your pet to taste the tooth paste, smear on a favourite chew toy or for cats put a little on their foot so they can lick it off.
NEVER USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE
When your pet is comfortable with you finger “cleaning” their cheek teeth you can start with the brush. You should use a specific pet tooth brush with an angled head as the angle of the brush allows you to get to the teeth you need to without putting excess pressure on the gums or teeth. If you do not have one of these, but have a child’s soft brush, you can start with this.
Don’t wave the brush around near their face, you can offer them a little tooth paste on it for them to lick off, just to introduce the brush. Do as you have been doing but this time gently introduce the brush where you finger was.
Be careful to have control of the brush so you don’t jab it in. You do not need to rub and scrub just a gentle movement is sufficient.
There are finger tooth brushes, a little abrasive sheath that fits over your finger although these can be useful for pets that won’t accept a toothbrush there is a tendency to push too hard and damage the gums.
If you sense that brushing is painful for your pet, take them to their vet for a check-up when Lock-Down is over before continuing, as they may need professional dental care.