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At-Home Pet Teeth Cleaning

February 7th, 2023

In our last month’s blog: February is Pet Dental Month; we covered the basics and importance of pet dental health and how to prevent pet dental disease. This month, we are going to give you some tips for at-home pet teeth cleaning.

Professional dental care is required to remove plaque and tartar. However, there are some things that you can do at home to help keep your pet’s teeth and gums to stay healthy. It may seem impossible at first to consider brushing your pet's teeth. How do you get them to sit still? How do you find the time? But many pet parents are finding that once you get the hang of it, it is pretty simple!

First, daily cleaning your pet's teeth takes very little time. You only need to brush their teeth for 30 seconds to 1 minute during a brushing. And, if you start slowly and don't force them, many pets come to like getting their teeth brushed. Here are some at-home tips for brushing your pet's teeth:

1. Get all your supplies.

You will need a pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste. You may have to experiment with different types of toothbrushes and toothpaste flavors to see which your pet likes the most and which are also easiest for you to use. Never use human toothpaste as the binding agent, and fluoride can cause a pet to have an upset stomach.

Finger brushes such as the one above made by Jasper work well for some pets, but these might be too bulky for pets with small mouths.

Another choice is the classic pet toothbrush, such as the one’s made by Virbac C.E.T.

There are also 365-degree toothbrushes, such as ones made by H&H Pets. These can work well for pets that like to chew down on the toothbrush.

2. Add “pet teeth cleaning” to your schedule.

If you have a busy schedule, brushing their teeth right after their last meal makes it easy to incorporate cleaning their teeth into your schedule. And remember, you only have to spend 30 seconds to 1 minute!

3. Make the experience for your pet fun and rewarding.

• First, get your pet used to the taste of the toothpaste. Let your pet smell the toothpaste and taste it. Award your pet with a treat and lots of praise so they associate the toothpaste with a good thing. Do this daily for about a week.

• When your pet is comfortable tasting the toothpaste, use your finger to rub a bit on their lips, gums, and teeth. Again, reward them with a treat and praise. Do this step for several days to a couple of weeks, depending on your pet's tolerance.

• Next, introduce your pet to the toothbrush with toothpaste on it. Let your pet lick the toothpaste off the toothbrush. Again, take your time and use treats and praise.

• Once you have taught your pet to accept the toothbrush, start brushing in short intervals using lots of praise and treats. Work up slowly to where you can brush their teeth for 30 seconds to a minute. Focus on the outside of your pet's teeth because the inside is less likely to have any plaque build-up. Continue to use treats and praise. Remember, if you can keep it fun for your pet, it will be easy to make it a daily routine.  

Ensure that your pet is in a secure and comfortable environment before you begin brushing their teeth and don't forget to reward them for good behavior throughout the process. Avoid pulling or yanking when brushing as this can cause discomfort for your pet and make sure to use only toothpaste made specifically for pets as human toothpaste can be harmful to them.
Click on the picture below to watch the video on how to brush your pet’s teeth.  

Final Words

At-home pet dental cleaning does not replace the necessity of having your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned regularly. Professional dental care is necessary to remove plaque and tartar. But you can help prevent tooth decay and disease in your pet by brushing their teeth at least once a day. 


For the month of February, we are offering a 10% discount on everything dental-related, including dental exams and Comprehensive Oral Health Exams ("COHETS"). COHETS includes everything from the pre-anesthetic blood work, the anesthesia, x-rays, probing, cleaning, extractions, etc. The entire dental invoice is discounted!

Our 10% February discount will also include dental foods and diets, dental chews, and anything else dental-related. We are booking February dental appointments now, so don't wait, schedule now!

Your Friendly Team at
Oak Creek Small Animal Clinic