Bacteria that gets into the bloodstream can damage major organs and shorten your pets life! An average size dog that has his teeth brushed on a daily basis can live to be fifteen to seventeen years old; that same dog without dental care will most likely live to be only eleven.
So now we know we should brush our pets teeth so what to use and how to do it? Well, there seems to be some controversy on that. Many say you need to use pet toothbrushes, but when I called 20 dental care clinic I couldn't get one to me that I "HAD" to do that, so I use a soft human toothbrush. Then there was the issue of toothpaste and once again I couldn't get a technician to tell me I "HAD" to use toothpaste. They were more concerned with just "knocking off" the debris at the line of the gum and tooth.
What I do know is that pets can't have fluoride, so don't use human grade toothpaste. They also don't need SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) that's the stuff that makes toothpaste foam, heck once I found out it was a detergent used as a de-greaser even I quite using it on myself and went to a "natural" brand. So you can use nothing, maybe a natural brand from a health food store or pet toothpaste. Pet toothpaste is not necessary it is more for us then them but it does taste good and can be a good training tool or just a good reward for proper pet hygiene.
One of the responses I hear most often is, well I tried it and my pet doesn't like it. I don't care if my pet likes it or not, I want her to live longer. Speaking of which if you have an older pet and you have never brushed their teeth before, please have your first cleaning done by a professional. You don't want to knock off years of tartar and plaque only to have them digest it. Get them clean, then keep it up!
How? Well start small. Maybe just do the upper right quadrant and tomorrow do the other side. Then do just the bottom right quadrant and follow the next day with the rest of the lower jaw. Soon you may be doing the whole uppers in one brushing. But before you know it you'll be teeth brushing! You can use toothpaste or just brush and and then put some on as a reward! However you choose to use the toothpaste remember our pets have a much more sensitive taste pallet then we do so they just need a smidgen. And as a training technique avoid the word "no" and try to reward them for a positive achievement!
So you have a cat? Or a potbellied pig? OOL Well they can all benefit from a healthy gum line! Learn how you can restrain your cat to best accomplish the task without a cat scratch or two and our potbelly actually meets me in the bathroom every morning along with our dog Emma Zen because it has become part of their routine! She even waits with open mouth! :-)
While our pets teeth will yellow naturally with age, a clean gum line will help assure more years with a healthier pet. The American Veterinary Dental Society records 98% of dogs with bad breath suffer from gum disease, and 80% of our canine friends will develop it before they are three!
I know what it's like to have a healthy mouth and so do my pets! So go find that "extra" toothbrush and give Fido a healthier routine of his own!