Pet dental care: Essential tips for brushing your furry friend's teeth - Hindustan Times

Pet dental care: Essential tips for brushing your furry friend's teeth

By, New Delhi
Mar 17, 2024 12:32 PM IST

Keep your pet's smile sparkling with these top tips for brushing their teeth. Discover essential advice to make dental care a breeze for your furry companion.

The dog's teeth are one area of maintenance that is frequently disregarded. While most dog owners know to cut their nails to prevent them from clicking on the floor and buff their coats till they sparkle, not everyone gives their dogs' teeth much thought. Brushing is crucial because it removes the plaque that causes foul breath and more significant issues like gum disease and tooth damage. The American Veterinary Medical Association states that as early as age three, 80% of dogs exhibit symptoms of canine periodontal disease. More than just sweeter-smelling kisses—your dog may live a longer, happier life if you practice basic dental hygiene at home. (Also read: Rabies: Can someone still die after receiving vaccination post dog bite? Experts discuss)

Maintaining your pet's oral health is crucial for their overall well-being.(Freepik)
Maintaining your pet's oral health is crucial for their overall well-being.(Freepik)

Top tips for brushing your pets teeth

Dr Charlie Astle, Veterinarian and Pet Wellness Expert shared top tips for brushing your pet's teeth in her recent Instagram post.

  • If your dog is small enough, hold your dog securely in your lap with their head facing away from you.
  • If your dog is larger, sit on a chair and have your dog sit beside you so that you can comfortably handle their mouth and teeth.
  • Start by rubbing your finger or cloth over the outer surfaces of your dog's teeth, using a back-and-forth motion, focusing on the area where the gum touches the tooth surface.
  • Once your dog is comfortable with you rubbing their teeth, let them taste some pet toothpaste from your finger! Do not use human toothpaste - it is not formulated to be swallowed.
  • Once your dog has accepted the taste of pet toothpaste, apply a small amount to the cloth or your finger and rub it over the teeth.
  • Once your dog is used to you rubbing their teeth with a cloth or finger, it's time to start using a toothbrush.
  • To be successful, you must make it a positive experience for both of you.
  • Praise your dog throughout the whole procedure, with reassurance through every step.
  • It is best to teach your dog to accept tooth brushing while they're still a puppy! If you have an older dog, the training process may take a little longer, but it is still worth the effort.
  • Brushing three times a week is the minimum recommendation to help remove plaque and prevent tartar accumulation.

What type of toothbrush you should use?

Commercial toothbrushes are available that are specifically designed for use in dogs.

These include:

  • Brushes with angled handles
  • Brushes with multiple heads (so that you can simultaneously brush the inside, outside, and top surfaces of the tooth)
  • Small brushes that fit comfortably in your hand and,
  • Finger toothbrushes (designed to fit over the tip of your finger)

Remember, human toothpastes contain ingredients that should not be swallowed. If it is swallowed, it can cause an upset stomach or digestive disturbances. Some human toothpastes contain high levels of sodium which may even make your pet ill, while others may contain xylitol (artificial sweetener), which is toxic for dogs.

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