Mercer Island Veterinary Clinic
2448 76th Ave SE Suite 102 | Mercer Island, WA 98040

(206) 232-0333

info@mercerislandvet.com
M-S 7:30am-6pm, Sun Closed



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Home Dental Care

Pets need dental care, too! Thanks to quality care from devoted owners, improved pet foods and scientific advances in veterinary medicine, pets are living longer than ever before. Part of living a long, healthy life is receiving proper dental care.

The best care pet owners can provide at home is daily toothbrushing. Toothbrushing can be easy if you start out on the right foot. It is important to remember that it takes time to establish a trusting relationship and train pets to accept toothbrushing. It pays to start slowly and gradually progress to a complete brushing once a day.

Training Your Dog to Accept Brushing

Step 1. Toothbrushing is Fun!
You will need a soft toothbrush and pet toothpaste. Choose a flavor your pet will like. For the first week, offer the toothpaste as a treat. Once a day, offer the pet a taste of toothpaste and allow them to eat it off the toothbrush.

Step 2. Learning to Brush
Once the pet is enthusiastic about getting a treat of toothpaste, begin trying to brush. It is not necessary to brush the tongue side or “inside” of the teeth. No need to open your pet’s mouth, just lift a lip to expose the teeth.

Try to brush one or two teeth to begin. Brush one or two teeth each day until your pet is calmly accepting this process. Slowly increase the number of teeth you brush each day until after a few weeks you are able to brush every tooth.

Make sure to get the back teeth. Place the toothbrush between the cheek and the teeth and brush all the way back to the molars.

Remember, keep it fun. Go slowly and build trust between you and your pet. Toothbrushing should be a special treat, not a dreaded chore.

Step 3. Reward, Reward, Reward!
Make sure your pet receives a special treat after brushing. A cookie or food reward, lots of praise and petting will all show your pet you appreciate their cooperation and that toothbrushing is fun.

Dental Care Tips

  • Start gradually. Take time to acquaint pets with toothbrush, toothpaste and handling
  • Brush a few teeth at a time at first, don’t start a struggle to do the whole mouth the first time.

  • Don’t worry about brushing the inside of teeth, the outside surface is all you need to reach.

  • Every day is best! If you aren’t able to brush every day, make sure to apply a dental sealant once a week.

  • Know what normal is. Check your pet’s teeth, gums and mouth frequently for changes.

  • Bad breath almost always indicates a problem. Any change in your pet’s breath means it’s time to visit the veterinarian.

Before attempting to brush teeth.