Chapter 2: Daily Brushing Is the Best Way to Keep Your Pet’s Teeth CleanWritten by Dr. Karen Becker
With a gentle hand, patience and persistence, most pet parents can teach their dog or cat to submit to daily tooth brushing, which is the ideal way to insure tartar doesn’t form on tooth surfaces. One of the secrets to successful tooth brushing is to progress slowly and gently, allowing your pet to adapt at his own pace.
Start with your finger rather than a toothbrush and get him familiar with having your finger in his mouth. Gently rub the top front teeth and all the way to the back teeth. Then do the same on the lower teeth. Praise him often and keep sessions short.
Once your pet is accepting of your finger in his mouth, wrap a very thin damp cloth or piece of gauze around your fingertip and rub the teeth. You’ll probably be stunned by the amount of gunk you wipe off with just a piece of gauze. The next step is to use a safe, natural dental cleaning product designed for pets and apply a small amount to the gauze before you rub his teeth. Once he gets used to this, you can progress to either a finger brush or a soft toothbrush the right size for his mouth.
If your pet is highly resistant to having his teeth rubbed or brushed, there are products available that when applied to the teeth go to work to break down plaque and tartar without brushing. However, the more rubbing and brushing he’ll allow, the more quickly you’ll see results, and the easier it will be to maintain your his oral health.