The Best Ways to Brush Your Pets’ Teeth

The mouth is the gateway to the body and plays a big role in overall health and longevity! Periodontal disease (plaque build-up causing gingivitis and eventual loss of the tissues around the teeth) causes bacterial spread throughout the body, which is bad for the heart, kidney, liver, lungs, etc… Additionally, broken and diseased teeth cause a lot of pain, which animals are masters at hiding (dogs and cats rarely show signs of dental disease!).  We are here to teach you how to keep your furry friend’s mouth healthy and happy. Now that’s something to smile about!



So what can we do at home to keep our pet’s teeth healthy?


In order of efficacy:


Brushing–daily is best!

Toothpaste (only use kinds made for pets) isn’t necessary, but if your dog or cat likes the taste, it can help with the process.



Dental Wipes/Gauze squares

What’s most important is the act of physically wiping the teeth, so the brand of wipe or the ingredients aren’t necessarily important. However, always make sure the ingredients are safe! Dry gauze squares are fairly abrasive and are a decent substitute for a toothbrush.



Keep to stuff that’s safe for teeth, like greenies (or other dental specific chews), rubber dental toys, etc… Avoid really hard chews like elk antlers, marrow bones, nylon bones, etc. as these can easily fracture teeth. If you can drive a nail with it, your dog shouldn’t be chewing on it! *Always supervise chewing.*



Water Additives

Although there are some safe water additives out there, these are variably effective and unlikely to make any measurable difference. Additionally, products that advertise “brushless” plaque removal are a marketing gimmick and are not effective.


Remember this… if our furry friends could hold a toothbrush, they would brush their own teeth!  But since they can’t, they need our help. Be your friend’s dental superhero today!



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Dr. Mary Buelow

Dr. Mary Buelow is a Board-Certified Veterinary Dentist practicing in Leesburg, VA. She lives with her husband, two rescue dogs (Frankie and Noodle) and two rescue cats (Kitten and Squash), for a total of 135 teeth. We won't say who's missing what...

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