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Advice From Dr. Lindsey: Should I brush my pet's teeth?

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Authored by: Dr. Lindsey, DVM

It’s understandable why pet owners don’t want to brush their pets’ teeth. A lot of pets don’t like getting their teeth brushed. It is important to brush your pet’s teeth though. Teeth brushing is the gold standard for preventative dental health. It’s said that over 2/3 of dogs over the age of three have periodontal disease. It’s best to start training pets to accept the toothbrush and toothpaste at a young age.

When talking to veterinary dentists, they recommend brushing your pet’s teeth twice daily. The more often that the pet can get their teeth brushed the better for their dental health. Once teeth brushing becomes a part of the pets’ daily routine, they will begin to expect it and may even enjoy it. Daily teeth brushing doesn’t preclude the need for oral exams and prophylactic cleanings.

There are many different toothbrushes and types of toothpaste on the market today. Many of my clients like the finger toothbrush but other types of pet toothbrushes include ones with multiple heads or angled handles. Don’t use human toothpaste for your pet. Instead use pet toothpaste which comes in many yummy flavors that pets like such as chicken, fish, and peanut butter. By using a flavor your pet likes, they will be more likely to enjoy the teeth brushing experience. Also, every pet in the house should have their own toothbrush and don’t forget to replace their toothbrushes periodically. Pets have a lot of bacteria in their mouth so make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after brushing their teeth.


Dr. Lindsey graduated from Colorado State University in 2009 and works in general practice, shelter medicine, and more recently as a civilian contractor veterinarian for the Army. She is also certified in acupuncture and resides in Palm Springs, CA.