Are you brushing FiFi’s teeth at home? This is a very common question I present during every annual checkup. Many clients say no, others admit to a few times a month but the one answer that really frustrates me is “the groomer does it”. Let’s think about this! Unless your pet is going to the groomer daily then it is of no benefit to spend excess money to have the groomer brush FiFi’s teeth every 4-8 weeks.
Your groomer probably has your pet’s best interest at heart, but these infrequent brushings are not benefiting Fifi’s oral health.
I have several concerns with having the groomer brush your pet’s teeth. First of all, it is quite ineffective to only brush every few weeks. Daily removal of plaque by brushing is key, but perhaps the biggest concern is for the comfort of your pet. Dental disease occurs under the gum line and will lead to painful teeth and gums. Before starting any oral health care regimen, it is important that a dental exam be performed by your veterinarian.
This will ensure that Fifi has a healthy mouth and will not have a negative experience when starting your homecare. Your groomer might not realize that Fifi has a painful dental condition and will perform the brushing regardless of whether it causes her discomfort or not.
If Fifi has a painful experience at the groomer, it may scare her enough that she will never allow you or anyone else to brush her teeth. The best way to keep FiFi’s teeth in great shape is to talk to your vet and develop a homecare regimen. If her mouth is painful then you can talk about performing a dental cleaning and doing any extractions that might be necessary.
From there you can learn how to slowly acclimate her to brushing as well as discuss other products like oral rinses, dental chews and specially formulated diets to use in conjunction with brushing to provide the “brush, floss, rinse” technique that we like to use. Let’s say “NO!” to bi-monthly brushing and “YES!” to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.