February is Dental Month – Prevention of Peridontal Disease – Tooth Brushing

Last time we discussed the importance of home dental care with tooth brushing being the  cornerstone  of  your home dental care program.  The following tips may help you to be successful  with encorporating  the brushing of your pet’s teeth into your daily routine.



Remember , this should be fun for you and your pet.  Try not to overly restrain your dog and keep sessions short and positive.  Use lots of praise and rewards throughout the process.  Pick an area of the home that is comfortable for you and your pet and always go to this spot when you’re ready to brush his teeth.

  1. First, have your pet get used to the taste of the toothpaste.  Let him lick some off your finger and praise him when he licks the paste.  If your pet doesn’t like the taste you may need to try one of the other flavours. Do this several times a day for a few days.
  2. Next try rubbing the toothpaste with your finger against his teeth and gums.  Just try this initially on the front teeth and upper canine teeth which are the easiest teeth to get at.  Don’t forget the praise and perhaps one of his most favourite tasty treats.
  3. Attempting the toothbrush comes next.  Your pet needs to get accustomed to the texture of the bristles so let him lick the toothpaste off the brush.  Use lots of praise and ending with a tasty treat will reward his good behaviour.  Don’t rush this step – carry on for about a week.
  4. Now you’re ready to start brushing.  Gently lift the upper lip and place the brush at about a 45 degree angle to the gum line.  Don’t get hung up on the angle – 45 degrees gives the best cleaning but even with the tip of the bristles flat against the tooth will work.  Move the brush back and forth gently.  Start with the large upper canine teeth and as he accepts this motion try moving toward the back teeth.  The upper teeth attract the most plague so concentrate on this area.  Remember to use lots of praise and an upbeat tone of voice.  Don’t worry about trying to brush the inside surface of the teeth which lies against the tongue.  This surface is much too difficult to get at and the movement of the tongue usually keeps the plague off this area.  Always end with praise and a special reward.
  5. You are now brushing your pet’s teeth!  Give him a big hug and yourself a pat on the back.  You are doing a great thing for your pet and hopefully having fun while doing it.


Next up – the scoop on professional teeth cleaning