Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth

Dr. Kevin Stepaniuk, dental specialist at Columbia River Veterinary Specialists, wrote some helpful recommendations for brushing your pet’s teeth. We encourage you to adopt these routines to help your pet maintain a healthy mouth, teeth and gums. Prevention is key.

Prevention of periodontal disease should begin at an early age by establishing a routine home care program. Likewise, once the teeth are professionally cleaned, routine care programs are more effective. Daily brushing is recommended; however, if you can only brush your pet’s teeth 3-4 times a week, this effort is still very helpful. A soft, nylon- bristled pet or infant human toothbrush is recommended. Human toothpaste is AVOIDED because it may contain fluoride and detergents that are harmful if swallowed. Toothpaste for dogs & cats is recommended.

Develop a routine in a comfortable area of your house for you and your pet.Gently lift the lips and handle the mouth to allow your pet to become comfortable. To introduce brushing:

  • For the first week, allow your pet to lick a small pea sized drop of the toothpaste off your finger; immediately follow with a treat and praise.
  • In the second week, allow your pet to lick the toothpaste. Off the toothbrush; immediately follow with a treat and praise.
  • The third week, rub the CET toothpaste on your pets front teeth with the toothbrush on the table in view; immediately followed with a treat and praise.
  • In the fourth week, begin brushing the outside surface of the teeth with the mouth closed; reward with treat and praise.
  • Begin by placing a toothbrush between the lips and outside surfaces of the teeth with the mouth closed. It may help to only do a small area of the mouth one day at a time.
  • The toothbrush is placed at a 45- degree angle to the gum line and, using a circular motion, the outside surfaces of the teeth are brushed.
  • If you have any questions about brushing your pet’s teeth, please call us or email us and we’ll be happy to help.