Animal Resource Library » Pet Health » Dental Hygiene

Pet Dental Hygiene

Keeping your pet’s teeth clean – even between dental check-ups at the vet – is important for more than just fresh breath and a winning smile. You can help prevent periodontal (gum) disease, and even potentially prevent a bacterial infection from reaching your pet’s kidneys, liver, heart or brain!

Get to the Vet!
First, make an appointment with your veterinarian for a dental exam. Remember, if your vet suggests a cleaning, it should take place in a vet’s office under their supervision. Make sure to take your pet to the veterinary office at least once a year for an annual check-up, which will include a dental exam and recommendations for further care or treatment if necessary.

Brushing your pets’ teeth regularly is important and can prevent costly vet bills. You can do it yourself with toothbrush and toothpaste specifically made for animals. (Like Virbac C.E.T.® Home Dental Care Toothpaste Enzymatic paste. Available in Poultry and Vanilla Mint at the spcaLA Marketplace.)

  • Make sure your pet is comfortable, put a little toothpaste on your finger for your pet to smell and lick.
  • Put a little paste on the brush, and move in small circles, across the gum line.
  • A little bleeding is ok, but if it’s chronic, see a vet.
  • End each session with positive reinforcement (treat).

You can also have a professional brush your pet’s teeth. At the spcaLA Grooming Salon, we brush your pets’ teeth as a part of certain grooming packages, or you can book it as an a la carte service.

Chewing is good for many behavioral reasons, but it also aids in pet dental health. Products below are available for purchase at the spcaLA Marketplace, where all the profits benefit shelter pets!

Proden PlaqueOff®
A seaweed powder that you add to your pet’s food, it contains pet digestive enzymes to reduce plaque and tartar buildup as well as bad breath. Also available in treats, like Indigenous Pet Products Dental Health Bones.

Virbac C.E.T.® Home Dental Care Chew
Enzymatic oral hygiene chew for dogs of all sizes. Aids in reduction of plaque and tooth calculus. Veterinarian approved.

KONG® Dental Stick Hard
Hard rubber chew toy which soothes gums and cleans teeth. Treats and/or paste are applied to entice your pet to have fun!

Nylabone® Durachew® Double Action Chew
Hard plastic and rubber bone shaped toy for big chewers.

Oral Disease
Like people, pets have bacteria in their mouths that can get into the bloodstream and infuse different organs, causing infections. Organs most often affected by oral diseases are the lungs, heart, kidneys and liver, and nervous system. Most dogs and cats show signs of oral disease by the age of three. Signs of dental disease are include the following (please call your vet ASAP if you notice these symptoms).

  • Bad breath
  • Loose or discolored teeth
  • Teeth covered in tartar
  • Discomfort
  • Drooling
  • Bleeding
  • Loss of appetite or loss of weight