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by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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 Brushing Up on Dental Care


Why do it?

 
Dental disease is one of the most common medical problems in domestic dogs and cats because most domestic pets don't reap the teeth-cleaning benefits that their ancestors did by gnawing on the bones of their prey.
 
Plaque accumulates on pets' teeth and when the plaque hardens, it irritates the gums. Eventually bacteria start to grow under the gum tissue. The bone may also become infected. If the infection moves into the bloodstream, it can damage the kidneys or the heart valves. The same process affects people, too.

 

A little known fact is the negative effect of poor dental hygiene on overall health. 

 

What is it?

 

When veterinarians explain the key to dental health, a common reaction by the pet owner is, "You want me to do what?"  What did the veterinarian say?  Simply put, "Brush your pets' teeth daily."

Bacteria formed under the gums may enter the bloodstream and damage vital organs such as the heart and kidney.

 

How to do it?

 

     1.    Start with a relaxed cat and no toothbrush.
     2.    Introduce the toothpaste on your finger by massaging the gums.
     3.    Introduce the finger brush one tooth, one session at a time.
     4.    Introduce the toothbrush coupled with treats and praise.
     5.    Begin brushing one or two teeth daily and phase out treats.
     6.    Increase the number of teeth brushed each session. 
     7.    Always praise cooperative behavior during the brushing

 

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