How important is it to take care of your pet’s dental health? By age three, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have periodontal disease, which can cause mouth pain and make eating difficult. At advanced stages, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause heart, liver and kidney complications.

Brushing a pet’s teeth may seem an awkward task for pet owners, but in the video below, you’ll see how it can actually become an enjoyable activity for you and your pet. Your veterinarian can show you the proper procedure for brushing your pet’s teeth, but here are a few helpful tips to get you started:

  • Use a toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs and cats. Human toothpaste contains ingredients that may hurt your pet’s stomach. Finger brushes work well for smaller dogs and cats; you’ll need a larger brush with a handle for big dogs.
  • Make sure you’re in a spot that’s comfortable for you and your pet. Instead of standing over your dog, try kneeling or sitting in front of him or her, as in the video below.
  • Start with rubbing your pet’s gums and teeth with your finger to see how well they tolerate it. Before using the brush, let them lick some of the toothpaste off your finger or the brush.
  • Use a circular motion when brushing a pet’s teeth, and just do a few at a time. The gums may bleed a bit at first, but that’s only a problem if it becomes heavy or doesn’t stop.

If you’d like to schedule an appointment or have further questions about your pet’s dental health, Animal Care Hospital of Phoenix a call at 480.887.4791.