Yesterday we spoke about the importance of good dental care for our pets and the symptoms of possible dental disease. Today, we’re going to talk about establishing and maintaining a home dental hygiene program.
As an animal communicator, I have discovered that pets, like people, respond better when proceedings are explained to them. I often hear from the animals themselves, about how they are the last to know what’s happening to them. The majority of the animals are miffed by not being included in discussions that directly affect them or procedures which are done upon them. This conversation does not have to be a detailed, technical report, but can be as simple as saying “This afternoon we’re going to take a little time to take care of your teeth. It shouldn’t take too long and it will help to keep your teeth healthy, functional and beautiful. When we’re done, you can (insert Fluffy’s favorite pastime).”
When starting a home dental care program, keep in mind this is a new procedure for Fluffy. Both you and Fluffy will benefit by starting the program when Fluffy is young, taking it slow and making it fun. If Fluffy is older when you start her dental hygiene program, it is especially important to go slow and make it fun.
Start by handling Fluffy’s mouth for a short period, and when she’s ready, open her mouth and gently begin to rub her gums and teeth with your finger. If you like, you can have your finger wrapped with a soft gauze. This will acclimate her to the touch – making it easier to begin a home dental program (as well as making it easier to take pills). Gradually switch to a pet toothbrush and toothpaste, which are available from most vet offices.
Take your time in getting Fluffy used to the toothbrush, allowing her to get comfortable with the texture and bristles. Once she’s used to the brush, add the paste, again giving her time to get comfortable with this new sensation. If you like, you can let her taste the paste by letting her lick some off your finger before putting it on the brush. After she’s at ease with the utensils, you can now start gently brushing a tooth at a time. By starting with a tooth at a time, it’s easier on both of you: she will get used to the feel and you’ll be able to practice and perfect your technique. You may find this dental time ends up being a bonding experience for the two of you! The next part of this article deals with what happens when dental disease is discovered.