Just like humans, dogs and cats must have healthy teeth and gums to counteract secondary diseases. Basic care for our pets includes regular teeth brushing at home and professional cleaning at the vet's to prevent painful dental disease, gum problems and tooth loss.
The right toothpaste
The essential equipment for correct dental care for dogs and cats includes animal-friendly toothpaste and a toothbrush suitable for animals. Toothpaste intended for human use can be fatal to animals, but pet toothpastes and toothbrushes are available from all pet supply stores. The toothbrushes have softer bristles and are tailored to the size of dogs and cats. Alternative "finger rubber attachments" are also recommended.
Getting your pet used to brushing
To get the animal used to brushing its teeth, it is advisable to first massage the lips, teeth and gums of your pet. The pet's lips are massaged with the fingers in slow, circular motions for up to a minute once or twice a day. Next, teeth and gums follow with the same movement. Over time, the animal will get used to the movements and the touch.
Once the pet has become accustomed to this, the pet toothpaste can be introduced. Dogs and cats are allowed to try some of the toothpaste first to get used to the taste.
Brushing of teeth
It is advisable to apply a small amount of the usually tasty toothpaste to the toothbrush and let the dog or cat lick the toothbrush. With this, the animal associates the toothbrush with something positive. As soon as he or she gets used to the toothpaste and brush, the actual brushing can begin. The procedure is largely the same for dogs and cats. Teeth are brushed in small circular motions, starting on the outside of the dentition.
Initially, you should take a break every five to ten seconds. Once the animal has gotten used to the dental care, cleaning can be done in one sitting. A guideline is 30 seconds to 1 minute. Kind, calming words spoken during the process makes it easier for the animal to be treated.
Alternatives to teeth brushing
If your dog or cat does not tolerate brushing their teeth, despite your best efforts, they should not be forced into it. Pet owners can fall back on alternatives, which include chewing sticks and dental care gel.