Veterinarian Confession: "I Don’t Brush My Dog’s Teeth"

Remember Your Pet Is Unique

Recently, I did an oral examination on a Chihuahua named Taco Larry, whose teeth had been cleaned in our clinic eight months earlier. I looked at Larry’s owner with a pained expression on my face. “Again?” he asked. I nodded. He stammered, “But … my other dog has never had his teeth cleaned, and his are fine!”

The amount of dental maintenance required to keep a pet healthy varies among individuals and also among breeds. Know that your pet’s mouth, just like your pet, is unique, and resign yourself to providing the care that mouth needs. Ask your veterinarian for guidance on the specific needs of your pet.

Never Give Up the Goal

Even though daily tooth brushings simply don’t seem to get done in my house, I don’t give up the dream. I recommit regularly to making it a routine. But even if that dream is never realized, even if I fall short of brushing those handsome little teeth a few times per week, I am always going to aspire to daily brushing. Because no matter how hectic our lives are, effort directed at making our pets healthier and happier is never wasted.

Don’t know where to start with brushing? Learn about brushing your dog’s teeth and cat’s teeth, as well as more about the effects of periodontal disease.

Now you and Mrs. Griffith know the shameful truth: I am a veterinarian who does not regularly brush my pet’s teeth. If you don’t either, you’re not alone. Let’s at least agree that dental health is important and commit to doing the best we can for our pets. We owe it to those who don’t have thumbs for holding their own toothbrushes.


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