Your veterinarian has probably already spoken to you about it more than once. But do you really do it?
Brushing your dog’s or cat’s teeth is very important to do as much as possible to prevent gum infections, plaque, tartar and gingivitis. Moreover, eighty-five percent of cats and dogs will have a dental problem in their life. If you notice that your pet has bad breath, consider that this is often the first symptom. It’s best to remove plaque before it hardens and becomes tartar. Hardening occurs in twenty-four to forty-eight hours, so brushing must really become a daily routine. If you don’t brush their teeth daily, try to do so two to three times a week.
The main reason why people don’t do it? It’s not always easy because your pet doesn’t just sit back and let you go to work. But there is a way to get them used to it. The ideal scenario is to start as young as possible, but even an older dog or cat can learn to take it in stride.
- First, start by getting them accustomed to having their muzzle handled. Do this for a few days and give them a treat afterwards.
- Next, run your finger over their teeth, still following up with a treat. At this stage, feel free to use the toothpaste specially designed for them.
- When they are used to your finger, you can go ahead with a toothbrush. You’ll see, it’s not so bad.
Keep in mind that thirty seconds of brushing is enough, that you only brush the outer side of the teeth and that you’re doing what you can—that’s already something. Because in the long run, bacteria from tartar can get into the blood and spread to organs, which can lead to heart or kidney failure.
Of course, toothbrushing at home is not a substitute for veterinary appointments, and your pet may need scaling. But the more you do at home, the more you’re putting the odds in favour of your pretty pup.