Should I Be Brushing My Dog’s (Or Cat’s) Teeth?

Should I Be Brushing My Dog’s (Or Cat’s) Teeth?

If you’re like most people, one of the first things and last things you do in a day as brushing your teeth. Not only does it prevent bad breath, but it keeps your teeth from rotting, getting cavities, or developing infections such as gum disease. Just like people, dogs and cats have teeth too, and teeth need to be cleaned! 95% of people don’t regularly brush their pet’s teeth. It is important to maintain every aspect of your pet’s health, including dental and oral, as diseases and baby-tooth retention can cause serious pain to your pet. Before wrestling with your dog to get a toothbrush into his mouth, there are lots of factors and different methods to consider!

The first major benefit is better breath! You can purchase products (bones, dog treats, specialty food, etc.) with dental benefits associated with them at your local pet or grocery store. Additionally, there are oral sprays, finger brushes, and specific, and smaller tooth-brushes with longer handles that come with pet-safe toothpaste you can purchase. Human-grade toothpaste should never be used for brushing your pet’s teeth.

Ultimately, it’s safest to ask your vet to brush your pet’s teeth. If you do choose to brush your cat’s or dog’s teeth yourself, however, it is important to be careful and make certain your pet is as comfortable as possible to avoid potential injury. It is recommended that you kneel before or sit beside your pet when brushing, so as to keep her calm and ensure she does not feel threatened.

Many vets also recommend that cat-owners have their pet’s teeth cleaned as well! Cats have very small teeth but are just as susceptible to gum disease and other common issues as dogs are. There are many products available for this purpose as well, including very small toothbrushes sized to fit a cat’s mouth. 

Dental disease and normal wear-and-tear can affect your pet’s health just like it can affect yours. The same way you keep your own teeth clean and healthy, you should maintain the oral health of your dog or cat regularly, as periodontal diseases are often difficult to detect without the assistance of a veterinarian. It is important to be attentive to the signs of dental issues and to keep your cat’s or dog’s teeth clean and healthy as you keep your own.