How to Brush Your Pet's Teeth

Brushing your pet's teeth at home is an important part of maintaining their dental health. In the videos below, you can see demonstrations for brushing your dog or cat's teeth.

Brushing Your Dog's Teeth

Dr. Coffman demonstrates proper pet teeth brushing with Cassidy, one of our pet patients.

Brushing Your Cat's Teeth

Tooth brushing in cats is actually possible, watch Dr. Otten demonstrate on his cat Riku.

Not all cat patients need daily teeth brushing. In those patients that are predisposed to periodontal disease, daily tooth brushing is really important. Starting at an early age to desensitize your cat is helpful. Begin by allowing your cat to lick the toothpaste off your finger (if using a flavored toothpaste). Then you can apply tooth paste on your pet’s gums and then progress to using a finger tooth brush. Ideally, the goal is to graduate to using a children’s soft-bristled tooth brush or a cat-specific tooth brush. Focus on brushing the outside of the teeth where gingivitis is more common and calculus tends accumulate. Be patient with your cat during this process. It may taking a month or longer to get your cat used to the procedure. Try using positive reinforcement. After tooth brushing, you can give your pet their favorite treats or feed them their meal or just spend some quality time with your cat. You may try sitting down and placing your cat on its back cradled between your legs. In this way, you have more control and better visualization of the mouth.

In cats predisposed to periodontal disease, you need to brush your cat’s teeth every day. Brushing once a week or a couple times a month isn’t going to cut it. You’ll tend to get more calculus, which won’t brush off and bleeding gums from more severe gingiviits if you start getting behind. 

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