After a big dental bill from my vet for my dog’s teeth cleaning and extractions, I now vow to be more diligent to brushing my dogs’ teeth. Luckily, both my black lab and mixed breed dogs allow me to stick a tooth brush into their mouth to brush their teeth. So, I have no excuse not to do this on a regular basis.
Over the years I have learned a bit about how often to brush a pet's teeth, how to brush and what tool is best to use for brushing. Based on experiences, this is what I have found to work best:
- Use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs or cats.
- Wash the toothbrush after each use.
- If the bristles get stiff, I soften them with warm water before I begin.
- Announce it is time for teeth brushing. My dogs start licking their mouths.
- They know they will get a treat after their teeth are brushed.
- Rest the side of the dog's head on your thigh and pull the gums up on the opposite side.
- Brush the outside of the top and bottom teeth with a circular motion – focus on the top back teeth.
- Re-paste the toothbrush and repeat on the opposite side.
- Finish with a quick brush on the front teeth.
- A thin slice of a fresh carrot is well received as at treat.
- I feel that the raw carrot also adds to gum health.
I try to brush my pet's teeth daily. When I just cannot get to it my vet suggested a chew specially designed for helping with dental hygiene - Virbac CET® VeggieDent® Chews. My lab gobbles one down in a few minutes whereas my mixed breed chews it slowly and then gags. So I had to look for something else.
The Best Dental Hygiene Chews
The Veterinary Oral Health Council publishes a list of food and chews that meet or exceed the Veterinary Oral Health Council’s effectiveness standards for retarding the accumulation of dental plaque and/or tartar. Greenies are on the list which surprised me.
Years ago, I stopped using Greenies as I read that some dogs had choked on them. However, I was told (by my vet) that they have been reformulated and are now a good choice. I also recommend pet owners look at the county of origin as I lost a cat that ate toxic cat food made in China.
What I have learned:
- Dogs and cats need help with their teeth. Help them!
- Good dental hygiene pays off with fewer vet bills and a healthier pets.
- If your pet has bad breath, do something about it!
- Your pet needs basic hygiene just like a human – hair brushing, tooth brushing, nail clipping and a clean place to sleep. Healthy pets are happy pets.
Good luck with your pet's teeth. Please share any tips.