Thursday, March 26, 2015

Simple Tooth Brushing Tips and Techniques..

I firmly believe that if the important parts of our routine healthcare tasks were easy more of us would make the time to do them. Take for example, nail trimming, grooming, and tooth brushing. Today's topic is to simplify brushing teeth to encourage more of you to do it every single day.

Pet dental disease is the most common, most overlooked, and most easily avoidable of all of the pet care health needs that I see in the clinic.

If I told you that you could in almost all cases avoid the expense, worry, and need of anesthesia to clean your  pets teeth wouldn't you want to try?

For something to work, happen every single day, and be helpful it has to be quick, simple, and easy.

Here is my at home How-To on brushing your pets teeth at home.

Last Two Cents;
  • Focus on brushing the upper arcade of the maxilla (top set of teeth).
  • Use your finger instead of a tooth brush. This way you can feel where you are and get to the teeth all the way in the back. Keep poking your finger inside the upper lip towards the ear, there are little teeth hiding back there. These are one of the most diseased and overlooked teeth in the mouth (probably because they are so well hidden).
  • The tongue takes care of the inside surfaces of the teeth.. this is also super helpful because it keeps your fingers out of the biting zone.
  • Use your nose as much as you use your eyes and fingers. Bad breath is often caused by diseased teeth. If their mouth smells it's time to see your vet and inquire about a dental cleaning and possible extractions.
  • A dental without anesthesia is a waste of time and money. If you are so afraid of anesthesia that you can't bear a dental cleaning under general anesthesia start brushing now and do it daily. If you think that you cannot afford a dental under general anesthesia I would say that you probably cannot afford to NOT do it. A rotten tooth will cause pain and keep infection in the bloodstream causing detrimental effects to the entire body, especially their heart. Dental radiographs and probing of the teeth only happen under general anesthesia, along with extractions. Veterinary dental surgeries relieve pain, cure infection, and provide return to normal eating function.
  • I do not think that toothpaste is necessary. I find that it just causes most pets to lick, and you are more apt to get your fingers chewed on. If your pet thinks of tooth brushing as more fun because a tasty treat is involved, and it makes it easier for you to brush them, then squeeze away with the chicken flavored toothpaste and enjoy!
  • The objective is to stimulate the gums and remove the plaque, tartar and calculi that accumulates on the smooth surfaces of the teeth.
  • Make this daily chore a part of your daily routine. Keep a jar of gauze by the bedside table, coffee table, or kitchen table. As you prepare for bed, tv time, or dinner take a minute out to brush your dogs teeth.
  • Finish every brushing with a hug and a kiss. Every task is easier with love!

If you have a pet related question you can ask me anytime for free on You can also find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice. I am also at the clinic Jarrettsville Vet in Jarrettsville Maryland.

Many Thanks to my friends, staff, Willow and her family for helping!

 Bitsy smiles for her grooming!
(She does have beautiful teeth though!)


  1. Could you publish something similar about cats? My vet said there was no need to brush my young cats' teeth, and that they could just graduate to a tooth-cleaning kibble later on. One of my cats will let me put my finger in his mouth and touch the outer surface of his front teeth, but he does start moving his mouth around in a simulation of chewing when I do it.


    1. Hello Laura,
      I love getting requests to help pet parents! I just finished a cat restraining video and a cat tooth brushing video. They should be up later today. So check today's blog and let me know if thats hepful. if you have more questions please visit me on where you can ask any pet question for free and a whole community of pet people will answer. You can get lots of tips from experts of all walks of life.
      Thanks so much for reading, and for asking for more help for cats.
      Take Care,

  2. We can never have enough posts about pet dental care. Thank you for writing this one!

    1. Thank you for reading, I would add that we can't ever have enough doodles, or goldens..hugs to your pups!

  3. This was super helpful! Thanks! I've always been so lazy about brushing my dog's teeth (using a toothbrush and doggy toothpaste, she would spend all her time trying to lick it off and I didn't feel like I was getting much done,) But I've actually been doing this with the guaze the last few nights, and it's so much easier, I'm sure we'll stick with it!

    1. Hello Jackie,
      I'm happy to hear that it helps! Please let me know if I can help with any of the other pet questions or dilemmas. Please keep reading and commenting!