How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

Brushing your pet's teeth is the best thing you can do for their oral health. Learn how to here.


Dental care for your pet is very important and often overlooked. The best thing you can do for your pet’s dental health is to brush their teeth on a daily basis.  Since February is National Pet Dental Health Month, there is no better time to start a new daily habit with your pets than now.

To start, you will need the correct supplies. This includes a pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste. These can be found over the counter at most pet supply stores.  Please make sure the toothpaste is designated for use in pets. Do not use human toothpastes on your pet.  Toothbrushes come in many shapes and sizes and some can even be fit over your fingertip.  Pick a toothbrush that is the appropriate size for your pet’s mouth. 

Next, you need your pet, and possibly another person to help hold your pet if they are very wiggly.  You want to put a small amount of toothpaste on the brush bristles.  Lift up your pet’s lips and proceed to brush the outside surfaces of all teeth.  Don’t worry about trying to reach the inside surfaces.  Your pet may excitedly try to lick the toothpaste while you are brushing.  Once you brush all the teeth you are done.  There is no need to rinse since the toothpaste is safe to be consumed. 

Some pets are a bit difficult and may not let you brush their teeth right away.  Here are some tips to help:

-          Just start by handling your pet’s mouth without any dental supplies.  Open and close the jaws, lift the lips.  Get your pet used to having her mouth handled.

-          When they are comfortable with having their mouth handled, put a very small amount of toothpaste on your fingertip and rub your finger inside her mouth.

-          From there, you may be able to use a fingertip toothbrush and toothpaste.  If not, go back to the first two steps.

If you need assistance, I am happy to help.  Contact me at www.zutillavet.com/contact-us.html     

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Pat Thomas February 22, 2013 at 10:09 AM
Thanks for the tips, Star! As a rabbit owner, I have to say that the only time my fingers get close to their teeth is when I'm getting nipped! Seriously though, to get thoroughly checked mine have all had to be sedated because they are so highly sensitive around their mouths. Of the six we've had, only Percy likes his cheeks and jowls scritched. None of the others appreciate(d) it much. The biggest dental problem for rabbits that I know of is not getting enough hard matter to chew on, which means their ever-growing teeth don't get worn down enough. This eventually causes painful pressure in the jaws and sinuses, which can cause a rabbit to stop eating. So we "brush" our rabbits teeth with plenty of hay (its staple food anyway), crunchy veggies, and plenty of wooden sticks and chew toys. For fresh breath, we add cilantro. Percy recently had to have his teeth filed, but other than that, our bunnies have had no problems!
Pat Thomas February 22, 2013 at 10:11 AM
One question I do have is, what about my cats? Do they need tooth brushing the way dogs might? If so, should I invest in a suit of armor before trying??
Star Gregory February 22, 2013 at 12:07 PM
You are correct about rabbits Pat. Their needs are a bit different from those of cats and dogs. If you told me you brushed your rabbits teeth every day, I would be at your house with a trophy! Cats do need their teeth brushed however like dogs do. Moving slowly sounds like it may be key in your cats. If they are trying to scratch, have a helper assist you and wrap kitty up in a towel to restrict the use of those claws.
Pat Thomas February 22, 2013 at 02:01 PM
A trophy? Or a Purple Heart?? ^_~ Good to know about the cats, though. Thanks for the tips, Star.
Star Gregory February 22, 2013 at 06:12 PM
You're welcome!


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