Home dental care is a preventative maintenance, it does not correct dental problems. The goal of a dental home care program is to decrease plaque and prevent calculus formation on your pet’s teeth. Prevention of periodontal disease involves a multifaceted approach combining the use of daily brushing, diets, chews, and treats. The more that you can do at home, the less will need to be done by your veterinarian. Several products are available for at home dental health:
Brushing your pet’s teeth remains the single most effective way to maintain oral health. Plaque production is hindered by the mechanical action of brushing the teeth. For tooth brushing to be effective, it is ideally done daily; any less than 3 times per week is ineffective. Make sure to use a pet toothbrush as well as pet specific toothpaste. **HUMAN TOOTHPASTE IS TOXIC TO YOUR PET**
Rinses are applied by squirting a small amount along the cheek teeth of your pet’s mouth; Gels are applied by smearing the product to the same teeth. Rinses and gels contain Chlorhexidine, an antimicrobial that helps retard the formation of plaque. They are indicated for use after every meal.
Chews, treats, or diet is something offered to the pet daily as a fun activity or part of regular meal time. The effectiveness is the mechanical action of chewing to help remove plaque from the tooth surface. Several products also have an anti-microbial agents to help retard plaque formation. Palatability can be an issue for some pets. Your pet should always be supervised with toys or treats. Products that are extremely hard could fracture pets teeth—if you can hammer with it, it should not go in your pet’s mouth.
Look for the Seal
Brushing is Fun
- Choose a time when your pet is most relaxed
- Keep sessions short and positive
- Go slow
- Do not over restrain your pet
- If your pet attempts to bite or becomes aggressive STOP
- Focus on the outer surface of the teeth closest to the cheek/lip area
- Get your pet used to having things in his/her mouth, lift your pets lip several times a day, handle their face and muzzle. Praise and reward with treats every time, once your pet is comfortable proceed.
- Dip your finger in the selected toothpaste and allow your pet to lick it off. Try this for several days. This conditions your dog to expect a treat when they see the toothpaste tube.
- Try rubbing your toothpaste coated finger along the pet’s teeth for several days. Remember to praise and reward.
- Once your pet has accepted having your toothpaste coated finger in their mouth, introduce your chosen toothbrush. Allow your pet to lick the toothpaste of the brush for a few sessions before trying to put it in their mouth. This will allow your pet to get used to the texture of the brush.
- Now that your pet is used to the toothbrush and toothpaste, you can start brushing. Brush the teeth at a 45 degree angle. Start with the upper teeth first, this will allow your pet to get used to the brushing and give you some practice.
- Brushing a few teeth at a time and slowly increase the number of teeth per session.
Ask a Wellpet staff member for a demonstration or if you have any questions.