Do You Brush Your Pet’s Teeth?

How much did the vet say the dental cleaning was? An average teeth cleaning costs anywhere from $200 to an upwards of $700. You’re kidding right? Nope. The costs also climb with extractions, x-rays, and blood work for the anesthesia. Wow.

Instead of frequent dental cleanings from the vet, we do a few things to keep our pets teeth and gums healthy throughout the year, including brushing their teeth! We brush their teeth once or twice a day depending on what is needed.

What if your dog or cat is fussy or doesn’t like it? Here are 10 simple steps to get started!

  1. Introduce the toothbrush to them, let them interact with it in your hand, and give them treats when the brush interacts with the mouth.
  2. Find some delicious toothpaste, something they LOVE. It will make it a positive experience for everyone involved.
  3. Put the toothpaste on the brush and let them lick it off the brush.
  4. When it feels right, start stroking it gently on their front teeth. Just once or twice, then let them continue to let them lick the brush.
  5. When you have worked up to getting a few strokes on their front teeth, work your way to the back teeth until you can brush all of their teeth.
  6. Set goals: start with getting your pet comfortable with the brush, then work up to one “swipe” front to back. And then proceed to two “swipes” front to back, then back to front, and so on.
  7. Reward often! We let them lick the paste every other brush. Start off with the licking, then brush, lick, brush, lick. Start and end with rewards, even if treats are a little counterintuitive.
  8. Go slowly! There is no need to rush. A bad experience will take even longer to reverse than a good experience will take to build up.
  9. Don’t restrain or force your pet. It will automatically become something they want to resist. Let them approach on their own terms.
  10. Don’t get upset! It’s a whole new game for your pet and your frustrations will likely frighten them. Understand there will be days when you have set backs. But look forward to the days you make breakthroughs! Have fun with the process!

The products that we use for the dogs are Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste Poultry Flavor and Oral B toothbrushes. They have a peanut butter flavor too, if your dog prefers! Alternatively, they do sell Dog Dental Kits with toothbrushes for dogs, but we find human brushes are much more comfortable for our huskies.

For smaller dogs, you can use children’s toothbrushes!

For the cat? Yes we brush her teeth too. She absolutely adores the Petrodex Malt Flavor toothpaste that comes with the Petrodex Cat Dental Kit.

Chews like Greenies and Whimzees can help facilitate better breath for short periods of time, but to prevent plaque build up and gingivitis, you must brush.

It all seems like a ton of work right? To have to buy all of the materials, introduce the brush, the toothpaste, and keep up with it every single day?

Trust us, it makes all the difference. Before we started brushing Lilo, Infinity, and Rosie’s teeth, their breath smelled awful. We tried chews, mints, water supplements, anything you can think of really to make their breath better, nothing worked until we started brushing their teeth. Within a week of brushing once a day before bedtime, we noticed that their breath improved greatly.

So how much time does it take really? TWO MINUTES out of your day, if you brush twice daily, four minutes. That is it. Even when introducing the brush and the toothpaste, it doesn’t take much longer than that. Brushing daily equates to yearly dental cleanings at the vet becoming a thing of the past. Save some $$$ by taking the time to brush your pets teeth!

Here is a video of our pack during getting their nightly teeth brushing! Keeping them healthy is important to us, their oral health is a big part of it.

Have questions? Leave a comment below! :]

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