How To Introduce Your Pet To Daily Tooth Brushing

Brook Farm Veterinary Center is here with some tips on how to acclimate your pet to daily tooth brushing. Daily brushing will help your pet with their overall dental health.

We all understand the importance of brushing our teeth so why would we not brush our pet’s teeth too? 

Our furry companions are not equipped to do so themselves, so we need to help them out whenever we can!  If you’re able to find 2 extra minutes to dedicate to helping your pet with their dental health each day, they’ll be sure to thank you! 

Say hello to fresh breath kisses - because let’s be honest, no one really enjoys doggy / kitty breath, right?

Teeth brushing can be a bit intimidating to pet parents, however with a little practice and some helpful tips, brushing can become an easy and straightforward task you incorporate into your everyday pet parenting routine. We encourage you to give these helpful tips a try and set your expectations low for the very first time. 
Since you’re introducing this process to your pet, they may seem anxious or stressed. In fact, if you experience resistance from your pet or notice any undesirable behavior,  you should remove yourself from the situation immediately and try again the following day.  At Brook Farm we strongly believe in Fear-Free & Low -Stress Handling, so if they appear upset, simply stop and try again at a later time.
Daily brushing is not going to solve all of your pet’s dental problems, however it will certainly help!  Alongside daily brushing, much like humans, it is highly recommended that your pet gets a dental checkup at least once per year! 

What Your Dental Routine Should Look Like 

Pleasant, rewarding and calm - Your pet should be enjoying this time with you, especially since you’re going to be giving them treats throughout the process!
Train multiple times a day until your pet is comfortable - Work up to making it part of your daily routine. Once this is part of your daily routine, you can cut back to brushing their teeth only once or twice per day to help them maintain good oral hygiene.
Be patient - Set yourself up for success by understanding and accepting this likely won’t happen overnight.  Training your pet takes time, so work together with your pet and you’ll start forming new routines and bonding on even more levels.

3 Things You’ll Need To Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

  1. Pet Toothpaste (DO NOT use human toothpaste)
  2. Favorite Treat that motivates them
  3. Finger Toothbrush or Pet Toothbrush (DO NOT choose a toothbrush with harsh bristles, these can damage your pet’s gums) 

How To Get Your Pet Acclimated To Teeth Brushing

  1. Associate your pet’s favorite treats with the toothbrush of your choosing. 

This way in your pet’s mind: TOOTHBRUSH = TREATS

To start acclimating your pet to their new dental routine, have your pet stay seated to get a treat. Once they’re seated, raise their gums on one side, rewarding with a treat right after. Repeat this slowly on the other side, remembering to reward after each interaction. Next, you’ll lift the gums, one side at a time while adding a rubbing motion with your finger and then of course, reward your pet with their favorite treat.

* If at any point during this process your pet seems agitated, or pulls away from you - give it a rest, and try again another time. 

Once your pet makes the connection that when you use a toothbrush on them, they then get a treat, they’ll become more receptive to this new dental cleaning process.

  1. For the first few attempts, we recommend using your finger to brush their gums with some toothpaste on it. This allows your pet the chance to learn the flavor of the toothpaste and associate that flavor with receiving their favorite treat.

  2. If using a toothbrush, introduce that for the first time by adding some toothpaste and allowing your pet to lick it off. Once your pet is comfortable with the new tool, start brushing down and away from your pet’s gums focusing on your pet’s top row of teeth.

    *We recommend using your dominant hand while brushing, so you have the best control. 
  1. Once your pet is comfortable with you brushing their upper teeth, move on to the lower and harder to reach teeth. It may take a while to get to this point but remain patient and consistently reward your pet every time you try to brush their teeth.

Notice something that seems out of the ordinary while brushing your pet’s teeth that you want to address with our team at Brook Farm?

Simply give us a call at (845) 878-4833 or visit our website to book your pet’s dental appointment! At Brook Farm Veterinary Center we are always here for you and your pet.

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