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Teeth Brushing and Massage…HUH?!

February is National Pet Dental Month. To celebrate, let’s talk about how massage can help your dog with this healthy task.

From personal experience, I know how difficult it can be to brush a pet’s teeth. On the flip side, it can also be a very satisfying task, for both you and your pet.

Many pets, especially those who are unfamiliar with teeth brushing, will twist and turn to avoid that dreaded tooth-brushing experience. Your companion will clamp his/her mouth shut, all the while turning his head and neck, raising her head up high, and wiggling her whole body, all to avoid the teeth-brushing . OUCH!!

Massage to the Rescue!

Before starting the teeth brushing, use massage to help relax your pet. One wayto help your pet relax is to gently rub her face starting between the eyes where the snout meets the face, then back to the middle of her head. Gently rub the ears, starting at the head and working your way down. Do this slowly, reassuring her quietly, for a few minutes until she calms down.

At any point, if your pet does not calm down or gets upset, stop the process and try again at another time.

Start by desensitizing your pet’s mouth. If your pet is not comfortable with having his mouth/muzzle touched, start by gently massaging his face and ears. Choose a quiet, non-stressful location and time and begin by gently rubbing your dogs face and ears. As your pet becomes comfortable with having her head, ears and chin touched, move on to touch her muzzle, then her lips. Try small circles on the muzzle, gently rub the length of the muzzle, over the gum line, and stoke in a downward pattern from the top of the muzzle down over the gums and teeth. You can even try using a soft cloth or a super soft baby hair brush to brush the outside of the muzzle. The goal in doing this is to not only relax your pet, but also get her used to the idea of touching the mouth area.

Teeth Brushed, Now What? More Massage of Course!

Following the teeth brushing, an at-home mini massage is beneficial, especially for those pets that twist and turn to try and escape the dreaded teeth brushing. This twisting and turning can result in sore, tight neck and shoulder muscles.

Begin by once again gently massaging your pet’s head and muzzle. Using an open flat hand and gentle pressure, slowly proceed from the back of the head, under the jaw, and down the neck. Continue by gently going down the shoulders to the front of the ribcage. This slow, gentle pressure over these muscles should help your pet relax. This may even help your pet associate something wonderful with teeth-brushing!

Thanks for checking in! For more information or to book an appointment, email Katie at katie@therightspotpetmassage.com

Thanks to MyDogLikes (http://mydoglikes.com/brushing-blue-bones-dogdentalhealth/) for the awesome phote of the dog with the toothbrush! Thanks to my girl Lucy for posing for the other pictures!

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