Tooth brushing

Just like us, our pets benefit from good dental hygiene. A simple, inexpensive and effective form of dental care that you can provide at home is tooth brushing.

When added to specialized food and treats that promote oral health, as well as annual scaling carried out by your veterinarian, tooth brushing will keep your pet’s mouth healthy and prevent long-term problems.

How should you brush your pet’s teeth?

Has your veterinary team recommended that you brush your pet’s teeth? You should know that it is never too late to start providing this basic dental care, regardless of your pet’s age. To ensure success, you will need to follow the proper steps when introducing your pet to this unfamiliar procedure.

In gentle stages, you will teach him to allow you to brush his teeth, and in the long run he will come to enjoy these daily sessions. Once you have acquired the right supplies – a suitable toothbrush as well as toothpaste in a flavour that your pet enjoys – you are ready to begin the training process.

Don’t rush the process: take as much time as your pet needs, and avoid punishing him if he does not progress as fast as you would like. If you run into problems, contact your veterinary team for help.

You can consult and print at home our teeth brushing training and desensitization sheet by following the steps described:

Consult the sheet

You can also watch our teeth brushing demonstration video on our Youtube page :

Please note: Each step requires 3 to 5 sessions over the course of a day or several days. This will ensure that your pet has properly assimilated your teachings.

Step 1 – Introducing toothpaste

Squeeze some toothpaste onto your finger and let your pet lick it off. This will allow him to familiarize himself with the taste and texture of the toothpaste.

Step 2 – Creating a positive association with the toothbrush

Squeeze some toothpaste onto your finger and let your pet lick it off while you hold the toothbrush in your other hand, where he can clearly see it. He will associate the sight of the toothbrush with the pleasant flavour of the toothpaste.

Step 3 – Reinforcing the positive association with the toothbrush

Spread some toothpaste on the brush and let your pet lick it off, without inserting the brush into his mouth or attempting to brush his teeth.

To drive the positive message into your pet’s mind even more effectively, dispense treats generously during every training session!

Step 4 – Handling your pet’s muzzle

While dispensing treats, touch your pet’s muzzle, lips and whisker pads, making sure to reward him for each action.

Repeat each action several times per session, and check your pet for signs of stress. The purpose of this step is to prepare him for the handling he will undergo when you are brushing his teeth. If he seems uncomfortable, return to the previous step or shorten the sessions and reduce the number of touches, so as to habituate him to the process more gradually.

For a better idea of how to recognize signs of stress in your dog or cat, you can visit:

Step 5 – Using your fingers to mimic the action of the toothbrush

Apply some toothpaste to your finger, tilt your pet’s head up by lifting his chin, as you would when brushing his teeth, and apply the toothpaste to the outer surface of his teeth. Withdraw your finger and let your pet chew the toothpaste.

Step 6 – Introducing brushing

Apply some toothpaste to the toothbrush, lift your pet’s lips and apply the paste to the surface of his teeth.

Step 7 – Brushing the teeth

Once your pet is comfortable with Step 6, you can begin brushing his teeth in short stages. Start by brushing the teeth on one side of his mouth, and brush for two seconds or two strokes. As the days go by, increase the duration by one second at a time until you reach an average of ten seconds per side. Be sure to brush only the teeth and avoid touching the gums, as this could cause irritation and be painful for your pet.

Here’s a tip:

To make it easier to remember to brush your pet’s teeth, integrate the task into your daily routine by scheduling it at specific times, such as after your pet’s morning meal, your dog’s afternoon walk or your cat’s evening playtime.

Have more questions?

Please do not hesitate to contact the Passionimo veterinary clinic near you.

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