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Doggy Dentists: How Often Should You Brush Your Pet's Teeth?

Look Ma - no cavities! Get the inside scoop on polishing your pet's pearly whites, how often you should brush those canines—and why it matters.

Vet examining dog’s teeth

You wouldn't go a day without brushing your teeth, right? But what about your dog's dental hygiene? Brushing your pet's teeth is more crucial than you may think. From preventing bad breath to dodging serious health concerns, this guide will dive into why and how often you should clean those doggy chompers.

The importance of dental care in pets

Just like humans, our pets are prone to dental issues that can affect their overall health. Gum disease, plaque, and tartar can lead to severe problems, such as heart disease or infections. Keeping your pet's teeth clean is essential for their well-being.

The vet's perspective: how often should you brush?

Veterinarians generally recommend brushing your dog's teeth every day and visiting your vet for a more comprehensive dental exam once per year. Consistent daily brushing effectively removes plaque before it transforms into hard-to-remove tartar.

The real-world approach: balancing time and care

Let's be real. Daily brushing might not be feasible for everyone. If that's the case, aim for at least 3-4 times a week to maintain a healthy mouth. And if you’re considering a more comprehensive dental exam for your pet, your pet insurance provider may cover it!

Tools of the trade: what you'll need

  • Dog-specific toothpaste

  • A dog-friendly toothbrush

  • Dental chews and treats

Remember, human toothpaste isn't pet-friendly. Always use products designed for pets.

Pet-friendly advantages: benefits beyond fresh breath

  • Improved digestion

  • Lower risk of oral infections

  • Detection of early signs of dental problems

Five quick tips for brushing success

  1. Start slow and let your pet get used to the brush and toothpaste.

  2. Use positive reinforcement like treats.

  3. Pick a time when your dog is calm and relaxed.

  4. Make it a part of your routine.

  5. Get regular dental check-ups from your vet.

When to seek professional help

If you notice any of the following, it's time for a vet visit:

  • Bad breath

  • Loose teeth

  • Swollen gums

  • Change in eating habits

What about cats? Should you brush their teeth too?

Yes, cats are not exempt from dental care! While cats are often more resistant to the idea of tooth brushing, their dental health is equally important. Dental issues like gingivitis and periodontal disease can also affect felines.

How often should you brush?

Veterinarians recommend brushing your cat's teeth several times a week. However, daily brushing is ideal for preventing plaque and tartar buildup.

Tips for success

  1. Use cat-specific toothpaste, which usually comes in flavors like fish or poultry that your cat will enjoy.

  2. Make the experience as calm and relaxed as possible.

  3. Use a finger brush or small, soft-bristled toothbrush designed for felines.

  4. Consider dental treats and toys designed for cats as an additional preventive measure.

By giving your cat's dental care the attention it deserves, you're not just improving their oral health but their overall quality of life as well.

There you have it—everything you need to know about keeping your dog or cat’s teeth sparkling clean. So grab that toothbrush, and let's make dental care a regular part of your pet's wellness routine.

Lizz Caputo is the Manager of Content Strategy at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.

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