Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth prevents dental disease from arising, said Banfield Pet Hospital, a provider of preventive pet health care. Pets that begin having their teeth brushed at an early age are more likely to be eager about tooth brushing than older pets. However, the latter can also learn to get used to having their teeth brushed. The best time to brush your furry companion’s teeth is when you and your pet are relaxed. It may take several days or weeks for your pet to accept and adjust to routine tooth brushing.
Most Pet Owners Brush Their Own Teeth Everyday, but Do They Brush Their Pet’s Teeth Daily? (2016)
According to a survey conducted by Ipsos, a global market research and public opinion specialist, on behalf of Royal Canin from November 26 to 30, 2015, 68% of 1,000 Canadian pet owners said they brushed their own teeth more than once a day and 27% reported brushing once a day. 2% brushed their teeth a few times a week, 1% did so once a week or rarely, and 2% never brushed their own teeth. Women (76%) were more likely than men (53%) to brush their own teeth at least twice a day.
73% of cat owners said they never brushed their cat’s teeth. 3% said they brushed their feline’s teeth once a day or few times a week, while 1% reported brushing its teeth more than once a day. 14% rarely brushed their cat’s teeth while 4% and 2% of cat owners have done this process on a weekly or monthly basis, respectively. With regard to cat dental chews or non-diet products to improve their cat’s oral health, owners gave these products to their cats more frequently than brushing.
For example, 17% gave their cats dental chews or non-diet products once a day and 9% gave these products more than once a day. However, some owners chose to give these items to their pet felines a few times a week (16%), once a week (7%), or once a month (6%). 13% and 32% of owners rarely or never employed this tactic to aid in their cat’s oral health, respectively.
Dog owners brushed their pet’s teeth more than once a day (1%) or once a day (7%). However, some owners brushed their dog’s teeth a few times a week (8%), once a week (10%), once a month (7%), or rarely (24%). 43% of dog owners reported that they never brushed their pet canine’s teeth.
With regard to dog dental chews or non-diet products, owners gave these products multiple times a day (11%), once a day (27%), a few times a week (21%), once a week (13%), once a month (9%), rarely (9%), or never (8%). However, the habits of pet owners did not coincide with their attitudes on the importance of oral health in pets.
76% agreed (27% strongly and 49% somewhat) that they should brush their pet’s teeth to keep it healthy. Meanwhile, only 24% disagreed (5% strongly and 20% somewhat) with said statement. Regarding the reasons why owners failed to brush their pet’s teeth, 82% agreed (39% strongly and 43% somewhat) that brushing their pet's teeth is difficult and an inconvenience for them and their pet, while 18% disagreed (7% strongly and 11% somewhat) with the statement.
However, 91% of pet owners agreed (38% strongly and 53% somewhat) that they're aware that their pet’s bad breath could be a sign of dental disease, while 90% agreed (40% strongly and 50% somewhat) that bad oral hygiene can cause pain among their pets.
How Do I Clean My Pet’s Teeth?
1. Finger Polishing
This does not mean that you should stick your fingers into your pooch or feline’s pet out of the blue, as this may cause it to bite you no matter how mild your cat or dog is, reminded Animal Humane Society, an animal welfare organization. You can do this by using the tip of your finger to gently clean your pet’s teeth. This can be a good way for your pet to get used to the routine.
A small amount of pet-specific toothpaste (not toothpaste used for humans) should be placed on your finger. Have it smelled by your pet. Lift its lip and use circular motions to lather the toothpaste on your pet’s teeth and gums. Praise your pet after brushing its teeth.
2. Traditional Brushing
You can try using a toothbrush if your pet is used to having its mouth touched. Make sure that the size of the toothbrush is appropriate to your pet’s mouth. A pet-specific toothbrush can be bought at a pet store, or you can use a baby toothbrush. As with finger polishing, the same steps still apply to traditional brushing. Brush your pet’s teeth for up to 30 seconds on each side of its mouth. Don’t forget to brush both upper and lower teeth.
3. Dental Treats and Chews
Some pets resist toothbrushing and owners should not force them to adhere to this routine. In that case, you can purchase dental treats to keep your companion’s pearly whites in excellent condition.
To guide you in choosing the appropriate dental treat, larger dogs may swallow dental bones that are too small. but smaller dogs may not chew a large dental treat. You can also provide your pet an enzymatic CET dental treats to drive away bacteria and minimize plaque. Dental treats should be given once a day to prevent plaque buildup. Plaque can be difficult to remove as it hardens within 24 to 48 hours.
Maintaining Good Oral Health
There will come a time when your pet’s teeth may be required to be seen by your veterinarian, said Vet West, a leading provider of veterinary care and services in Perth, Australia. Your veterinarian will conduct a general anesthetic and a full dental examination on your pet’s teeth. Procedures can include charting and scaling by hand and ultrasonically. Dental treatment ends with a polish.
Professional dental cleaning may be the best option for you and your pet. It may even be necessary before trying any of the above-mentioned techniques. A professional dental cleaning can help your veterinarian pinpoint your dog or cat’s dental needs and may recommend descaling, extraction of loose or infected teeth, and more.
Exercise patience when brushing your pet’s teeth or when trying to have it accept this routine. It will take time but it’s definitely worth the effort. Alternatively, professional dental cleaning can be costly; however, this is also one way to know your pet’s specific dental needs.