Dental Care at Home

Top tips on looking after your pet's teeth

How to introduce teeth cleaning to your pet

  • Day 1: With your finger, gently stroke the outside of your pet’s cheeks. After this, slowly lift up their lip for around 30 seconds. At the end of the session, reward your pet with a treat and lots of praise.
  • Day 2: Repeat as above except this time, add a small amount of toothpaste to the end of your finger and let your pet sample it.
  • Day 3: Repeat Day 2 but this time, after you add the toothpaste to your finger or finger toothbrush, run it gently along your pet’s teeth for 30-45 seconds. As before, reward with a treat and lots of praise.
  • Day 4: Repeat Day 3, but add a further 15 seconds of gentle brushing, then reward with a treat and lots of praise.
  • Day 5: If all is going well, run your finger over the teeth for 30 seconds, then gently insert the toothbrush and use that for a further 30 seconds.
  • Day 6: Repeat Day 5 but increase the time by 30 seconds – taking the total teeth-cleaning time to 90 seconds.
  • Day 7: If all is well, aim to spend 1 minute on each side, or 2 minutes in total cleaning your pet’s teeth.

Helpful Hints:

Be patient – let the process take as long as it needs, otherwise your pet will resist.

Praise, praise, praise – this will make your pet more receptive to this new and unfamiliar experience.

Use a small amount of animal toothpaste – your pet will learn to associate teeth cleaning with the lovely taste of toothpaste, plus praise and treats.

Reward – always reward your pet with treats at the end of a teeth cleaning session.

Know when to stop – stop immediately if your pet shows any signs of aggression. Contact your vet for further advice.

Human toothpaste is for humans – not pets. Using human toothpaste on pets can cause them to suffer stomach problems.

Top tips for improving your pet’s oral health

As always, prevention is better than cure! Follow these simple steps to improve your pet’s oral health and reduce their risk of dental/gum disease.

  • Brushing your pet’s teeth is the ‘gold standard’ of dental care and the most effective way of removing plaque. Always use a toothbrush and toothpaste that’s designed for pets.
  • Adjust your pet’s diet. Wet food provides no rough action against the teeth but dry food kibble is more abrasive and can help prevent plaque build-up.
  • If you struggle to brush your pet’s teeth, try a dental gel such as AniDent Soothing Gel – this can be applied between your pet’s lips and gums and will help to reduce plaque formation, soothe gums and freshen breath.
  • If your pet will tolerate it, check inside their mouth regularly for warning signs i.e. red, sore-looking gums or brown stains on the teeth. If you have any concerns, contact your vet.
  • You can also use AniDent Oral Rinsing Solution once a day. It contains chlorhexidine – a well-known anti-plaque agent – and will also help to reduce bacteria and remove food debris.

For a guide on how to brush your pet's teeth visit the My Family Vets website.