Steps to a Healthy Smile
Step 1: Purchase species-appropriate toothpaste and toothbrush. Human toothpaste can be toxic to pets and is not properly formulated for their saliva and bacteria. Many types of pet toothpastes are enzymatic, meaning there are special antibacterial properties designed to help fight bad breath and prevent plaque build up. This also means you just have to get it on the teeth, and it will do a lot of the work for you. Pet toothpastes are safe when swallowed, unlike human toothpaste. Many are flavored with peanut butter or chicken, to help make the experience more enjoyable for your pet.
Step 2: Go slow! Start by letting your pet sniff and lick the toothbrush while you give them yummy treats. Next, put a little bit of toothpaste on the brush and let them sniff and lick it. Then, try brushing one tooth and give a treat. Continue this process of slowly building into the final act of full mouth brushing, where you can lightly scrub each tooth with the brush and toothpaste. Build over a couple days or weeks, if necessary. Your pet may never LOVE getting their teeth brushed, but we also don’t want them to dread it. It might help to make sure your dog is properly exercised beforehand so that they are more compliant.
Step 3: Once your pet is comfortable with getting their teeth brushed, set a schedule and stick to it! In an ideal world, you’d brush your pet’s teeth daily. If this does not work in your schedule, don’t worry. Set a routine that works for you, just make sure you do it at least once or twice a month. Setting a side a few minutes a couple times a month is way easier than spending thousands of dollars on dental care once dental disease kicks in.