As professional pets sitters and dog walkers in the Milwaukee, Kenosha, Racine and Brookfield, WI areas, we come across quite a few dogs who….shall we say, could use a bit of breath freshening?









Like humans, animals teeth are susceptible to plaque, tartar, and decay.  Dogs and cats should ideally be introduced to toothbrushing at an early age – but it’s never too late to start practicing good dental hygiene.


  1. Familiarise your pet with the tools


Toothbrushes can be veterinary specific or soft children sized ones.  Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles as they are less likely to scratch your pet’s gums.  For smaller dogs or cats, finger toothbrushes are available for easy reach and movability.  To begin with, you should let your dog or cat sniff the toothbrush without any further actions.


Human toothpastes contain active ingredients that can be toxic to dogs.  A veterinary formulated toothpaste is vital.  They are often flavoured with poultry or malt to be tasty for pets.  Introduce your pet to the paste by letting them to lick a small amount from your fingers.  Once familiar with both the toothbrush and paste, you can passively allow your pet to lick the toothpaste off the brush.


  1. Rub the teeth and gums gently


Next, you should familiarise your pet with gentle pressure on their teeth and gums.  Start by placing a hand over the top of your dog or cat’s muzzle followed by gentle pressure on the lips to expose the teeth and gums.


Use your finger with a small amount of toothpaste to gently rub your pet’s teeth and gum area.  Gentle pressure can be applied on the gums with your finger.  Make sure your pet is comfortable with this step before introducing the toothbrush and brushing motions.


  1. Brush slowly


Brushing should be performed slowly so as not to startle your pet.  Have a firm hold on the muzzle and gently lift the lips.  The toothbrush should be placed at a 45 degree angle for maximum effectiveness – this angle helps to scrape away plaque as well as massage the gum line.


The brushing action should start at the gums and move towards the tip of the tooth in a circular motion.  Brushing should be focused on the outer surfaces of the teeth.



After toothbrushing, be sure to offer your pet lots of praise and reward.  Premium dental care aims for daily tooth brushing, but even brushing a few times a week will help fend off plaque build up and gum disease.