Plaque and tartar buildup can cause oral infections, bad breath, infected gum tissues, or even bone loss in pets. Check out these simple steps on how to brush your pet's teeth at home.

  1. Keep sessions limited to one minute each at the same time and place daily.

  2. Start by getting your pet used to having something placed in the mouth. Place your finger (unless your pet is a biter!), dipped in lukewarm water or warm diluted bouillon, inside the cheek along the outer surfaces of the teeth. Follow with praise and reward.

  3. Dachshung Dog with ToothbrushOnce your pet has accepted this procedure, progress to a dampened gauze pad or panty hose wrapped around your finger. Gently sweep across the outer surfaces of each tooth. Follow with praise. Continue daily until your pet accepts this with little objection.

  4. Moisten a pet CET toothbrush with a pet toothpaste (available through your veterinarian). The cheek should be gently pulled away from the teeth and the brush inserted at a 45 degree angle between tooth and cheek. Concentrate on the area where tooth meets gum using short, gentle strokes over the external surfaces (especially the cheek teeth in the back). Praise your pet during and after each session.

  5. Have a veterinary dental exam done every 6 months to help assure good dental health and possibly prolong the life of your pet.
Courtesy of Dr. Debra Fiorito, board-certified veterinary dental specialist in New Jersey.