How to Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Healthy: Tips from Westway Animal Clinic

How to Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Healthy: Tips from Westway Animal Clinic

Dog Dental (2)

As pet parents, we all want our furry friends to stay healthy and happy. One crucial yet often overlooked aspect of pet care is dental health. At Westway Animal Clinic, we emphasize the importance of removing or reducing plaque at home to maintain your pet’s overall well-being. Let’s explore how you can keep your pet’s teeth in top shape with a sprinkle of fun!



Did you know that toothbrushing is the single most effective method for removing plaque from your pet’s teeth? Plaque buildup can lead to gingivitis and other dental issues if not properly managed. Studies have shown that in dogs with gingivitis, daily toothbrushing can effectively restore the health of their gums. Consistent and meticulous toothbrushing every day is essential for maintaining healthy gums and preventing dental diseases.

You might wonder, “How often should I brush my pet’s teeth?” While brushing daily is ideal, brushing once a week has been shown to have no significant benefits. The key to effective plaque removal and gum health maintenance lies in regularity and thoroughness.


To ensure toothbrushing is beneficial for your pet, three requirements must be met:

  • A Motivated Owner: Are you ready to commit to your pet’s dental health? Your dedication is crucial!   
  • A Cooperative Pet: Is your pet comfortable and cooperative during the brushing process? Gradually acclimate them to make the experience positive and stress-free.
  • Good Technique: Do you know how to brush properly? Use a pet-specific toothbrush and toothpaste, reaching all areas of your pet’s mouth with gentle, circular motions.

Here are some tips to make toothbrushing a positive experience for both you and your pet:

  • Start Slow: Introduce your pet to toothbrushing gradually. Begin by letting them sniff and taste the toothpaste. Slowly progress to brushing a few teeth at a time.
Fun Tip: Turn it into a game! Use a favourite toy or treat as a reward for each successful brushing session.


  • Make Your Pet Comfortable: Approach your dog from the side rather than the front to make them feel more at ease. Sit small dogs or cats on your lap while brushing, and cuddling them to reduce their apprehension.
Fun Tip: Sing a silly song or talk to them in a happy voice while brushing. It can help calm them and make the experience more enjoyable.


  •  Gradual Progression: Start with just a few teeth and gradually increase the number cleaned each time until you can clean the whole mouth in a single session.


  • Focus on the Buccal Surfaces: The mouth does not need to be opened. Concentrate on the outer surfaces of the teeth, towards the cheeks and lips (buccal surfaces), especially at the gum margin. When your pet is comfortable with having the buccal surfaces of all their teeth brushed, you can attempt to open the mouth and brush the inner surfaces. If this is not accepted, continue with daily brushing of the buccal surfaces.


Fun Tip: Let your pet choose their favourite flavour! Some pets love chicken or beef-flavored toothpaste.


  • Positive Reinforcement: Offer a reward at the end of the brushing session. This helps create a positive association with toothbrushing.

Fun Tip: Have a “toothbrushing party” with treats, praise, and playtime afterward.


  • Daily Routine: Include toothbrushing as part of your daily routine. Pets and us are routine creatures.


In addition to toothbrushing, there are other effective measures to help maintain your pet’s dental health:

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Certain diets can help mechanically reduce plaque accumulation through dietary abrasion on some of the tooth surfaces. Examples include Hill’s T/D diet and PPVD Dental. For a full list of dental foods, chews, and other products, visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)


While it may be tempting to give your pet bones or antlers to chew on, these are not recommended. Chewing on hard objects like bones and antlers can lead to tooth fractures, causing pain and potentially requiring expensive dental surgery. A good rule of thumb is: if you can’t bend or break it, don’t give it to your pet.

Fun Tip: Instead of bones, try soft dental chews that clean teeth while being safe to chew on. They often come in fun shapes and flavours your pet will love!

By following these guidelines and committing to a daily toothbrushing routine along with other dental health measures, you can help ensure that your pet enjoys a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Remember, a little effort each day can make a significant difference in your pet’s overall health and happiness.

For more tips on pet care and dental health, visit us at Westway Animal Clinic or contact us to schedule a check-up for your furry friend. Together, we can keep those tails wagging and those smiles bright!

Pet Trivia: Did you know that dogs have 42 teeth and cats have 30? That’s a lot of teeth to keep clean! Make it fun and keep those pearly whites shining!