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Why you should brush your pet’s teeth

By March 30, 2015 February 28th, 2019 Uncategorized

Daily tooth brushing of your pets’ teeth is the gold standard recommended by all veterinarians in Markham. Unfortunately, less than 10% of pet owners brush their pets’ teeth on a regular basis.

The idea of brushing your pets’ teeth may seem silly, but this is very important to your pets’ overall health. If plaque and calculus are allowed to accumulate in the mouth, it will lead to infection, pain and tooth loss. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause problems in the heart, lungs, brain, liver and kidneys.

How does this happen?

Think about it! If you never brushed your teeth or flossed, and never went to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned, your mouth would not be very healthy. The same applies to our pets.

Each time your pet eats, tiny particles of food become stuck along the gum line. The food particles mix with saliva and bacteria in the mouth and become plaque. This happens within 12 – 24 hours of eating. If this plaque is not brushed away daily, it will harden to become calculus. This calculus cannot be removed by brushing alone, and must be removed by the veterinary technicians and veterinarians in Markham, using specialized dental equipment.

Certain breeds and types of dogs and cats tend to have more dental problems, but almost every pet will require a dental cleaning at some point in their life, even with daily brushing. Some pets may require cleanings as frequently as every year.

What do I need?

Choosing the proper toothpaste and tooth brush for the job is essential to success. Many types and flavors are available, so there will be something to entice every one of your pets.  Markham veterinarians have a selection: Chicken flavored toothpaste tends to be very popular, but other flavors such as vanilla-mint, malt, peanut butter, seafood, and beef are readily available. Be mindful if your pet has food allergies, as flavored toothpastes can aggravate these conditions. It is important to use products specifically made for pets. Never use human toothpaste on your pets, as it can be toxic if swallowed.

A variety of pet toothbrushes are available, but a small, soft-bristled human toothbrush can be used on some pets. Your veterinarian in Markham can assist you with selecting the proper toothpaste and toothbrush for your pets.

How do I brush?

Training your pet to allow tooth brushing should ideally be started while they are still young, but many adult pets can be trained to accept it. You should start slowly, and use baby steps during the process, rewarding the pet with praise and treats along the way.

Start by letting your pet lick the toothpaste from your fingers. You can then work your way up to rubbing a finger (covered in toothpaste) along the gum line. Next, you can try using a piece of gauze over your finger with the toothpaste. Finally, work your way up to using the toothbrush.

Proper technique with the toothbrush is important. Brush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth. You need only the brush the outside surfaces of the teeth, as the tongue usually keeps the insides clean. If done properly, you will not even have to open your pets’ mouth.

For a private demonstration of tooth-brushing, make an appointment with your Markham veterinarian.

What’s that smell?  You have probably heard the term “doggy breath” before, but a pet with a healthy mouth should not have a foul odor. If you notice an unpleasant smell coming from your pet’s mouth, you should bring your pet to a veterinarian in Markham for an oral exam as soon as possible. Other signs that could indicate an issue include pawing at the mouth, excessive drooling, bleeding gums, yellow or brown tartar on the teeth, dropping food out of the mouth, and chewing only on one side of the mouth.

Once any issues in the mouth are treated, you can begin the process of tooth brushing with a healthy, pain-free mouth.

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Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham

Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.

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