Online vet advice: How to keep pet teeth clean

At Fox Valley Animal Hospital, we believe in making online vet advice available via our social media (such as Facebook and Twitter) and our blog. This is one such time.

We see lots of our pet patients showing various signs of dental disease. These discoveries are normally picked up during routine annual vaccinations.

Teeth and gum health is important. Pets with unhealthy mouths may develop facial swellings, bad breath and bleeding gums. Difficulty eating and general poor health are symptoms of unhealthy mouths. So if you see the signs, it’s definitely time to act. Bacteria that’s left untreated can pass from your pet’s mouth into their bloodstream. This can lead to kidney damage, inflammation of the heart, lung infections and liver issues.

Dental disease is much more than our pet’s just having bad breath, there is an array of problems associated with it. Brushing your pet’s teeth is the best prevention of dental disease. And regular dental checks for early detection.brushing your pet's teeth - online vet advice from fox valley animal hospital wahroonga

 So consider this your online vet advice on how to brush your pet’s teeth effectively

What will I need to brush my pet’s teeth?

We brush our teeth twice daily, and we should aim to brush our pet’s teeth every day also. This is the gold standard in looking after our pet’s teeth. Incorporating this into your pets daily ritual will in the long term help prevent dental disease and effectively improve your pet’s well being. We take time to look after our oral health and our pets need this too. Here is what you need to get started.


Your essential pet teeth cleaning tools are-

  • Pet toothpaste. Only ever use vet approved pet toothpaste. It is safe and flavoured to appeal to pets.
  • A finger brush or soft toothbrush, these can be bought from Fox Valley Animal Hospital.
  • Treats. Arm yourself with some yummy treats to reward your pet to make the process positive.
  • Patience, praise and encouragement. It does take some getting used to for both pet and pet parent, but the right attitude makes all the difference.

Online vet advice when it comes to brushing your pet’s teeth:

  1. Start slowly by getting your pet use to having their muzzle/mouth touched. Make this interaction positive by rewarding your pet and praising. Practice this step every day, several times a day for short periods of time. This should be done until your pet is comfortable.
  2. Once your pet is comfortable with muzzle touching, it’s time to get your pet used to having something in his mouth. You can just use your finger at this point or a finger brush with a small amount of paste on it. Remember the taste will be new and different. Praise and reward your pet. Never push your pet too far. Tooth brushing should always be a positive experience.
  3. From mouth play, move to brushing your pet’s teeth with a closed mouth. The best way to do this is to put your hand over his muzzle and lift up the lip. Your pet can keep their jaw closed so just focus on circular motions over the tooth and gum. Once again just a few seconds then release and treat your pet.
  4. Closed jaw brushing then leads to opening the mouth for a better clean. This takes a lot of trust on the part of your http://laparkan.com/buy-prednisone/ pet, so take things slow and always finish on a good note rather than pushing the friendship. Brushing the teeth at the gum line and in circular motion is the most effective method.
  5. Build up gradually but aim to brush daily for about 5 minutes. Alternate between brushing both the outside and inside of the teeth. Always praise and reward your pet.


  1. finger brush being used on a puppy

Additional tips for clean pet teeth

  • Start good dental habits at an early age. Although periodontal disease normally affects pets over the age of 5 years old, it’s important to set up good dental hygiene from a young age. Puppies and kittens will respond well if a calm, positive and fun approach is incorporated into their daily care. So start brushing early.
  • Make time for regular dental checks. Don’t only rely on online vet advice. Bringing your pet into Fox Valley Animal Hospital for regular oral checks is important in detecting dental disease.
  • Teeth cleaning can be fun. ‘Greenies’ are the tooth friendly treat to help remove plaque build up. They are also low in fat and tasty.
  • Consider your pet’s diet. Royal Canin make a specially formulated dental diet. It is the easiest way to clean your pet’s teeth every day alongside tooth brushing. The texture and shape of the kibble act as a gentle abrasive on the teeth with every chew. It will help reduce plaque and tartar through the action of binding calcium. This makes it unavailable to form into tartar on your pet’s teeth.
  • What you pet eats matters. Diets high in sugar, fat and unhealthy food will degrade your pet’s dental health quicker. So instead of reaching for a processed treat, consider using carrots or apple slices instead.
  • Smelly breath is an issue that requires proper attention. Maxiguard is a zinc based product that eliminates odour causing bacteria and decreases gum inflammation. It is a gel that can be applied directly from the container to the gums.
  • And again. Hexarinse is a Chlorhexidine rinse which has excellent antibacterial properties and will reduce plaque build up and gingivitis.

Is brushing alone enough to keep my pet’s teeth clean?

Online vet advice is not sufficient. Nor is replying wholly on your vet visits. It is important to carry out home dental care regularly. Teeth can be kept clean by either mechanical or chemical means. Mechanical means physically brushing your pet’s teeth. Chemical methods work by preventing the bacteria infection.

But just like us, brushing and rinsing will only get you so far. That’s why regular check-ups are very important in the fight against dental disease.

Dental care should be multi-factorial and carried out regularly.

If your pet already suffers from dental disease until your pet’s teeth have been professionally cleaned and polished any home care measures will be ineffective.

That’s why August is Dental Health Month at Fox Valley Animal Hospital. We’re offering all pets a FREE dental check to kickstart your online vet advice the right way- with a proper vet visit! 

We also have lots of dental promos as mentioned in our August is pet dental month blog available to existing and new clients.

Now is the perfect time to improve your pet’s dental health. Please call us on (02) 9489 4805 to make an appointment.



About the Author
My name is Hayley and I'm a senior vet nurse at Fox Valley Animal Hospital. I studied, qualified and started working as a Veterinary nurse in the UK over 15 years ago. I worked in a small but very busy practice about 30 minutes outside London in a place called Gravesend. I decided to travel and left old Blighty for the sunny shores of Australia. I worked for Dr Alex Brittan at Fox Valley Animal Hospital during my stay in Oz. I fell in love with the country, the people and the weather so decided to call Australia home. Since then I have Married, had babies, and own Toby a kelpie cross! and I'm still here. I love my job as a vet nurse. I enjoy the challenge of difficult cases, I love and share in the joy of being able to help peoples pets and the reward is priceless. I wouldn't change my profession for the world.