Tips to Keep Your Pet’s Pearlies Pearly

February is pet dental hygiene month

Los Angeles, CA — 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. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles (spcaLA) offers these tips to keep your pet’s pearlies pearly.

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. Make sure your pet is comfortable by putting a little toothpaste on your finger for your pet to smell and lick. Then, 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, like a treat.


Khai is all smiles. Adopt him at spcaLA.

Chewing is good for many behavioral reasons, but it also aids in pet dental health. There are products that include enzymes you can sprinkle on your pet’s food to reduce plaque and tartar buildup as well as bad breath. Hard rubber chew toys can soothe gums and clean teeth.

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: bad breath, loose or discolored teeth, teeth covered in tartar, discomfort, drooling, bleeding, loss of appetite or loss of weight. Please call your vet if you notice these symptoms.

Dental hygiene products are available at the spcaLA Marketplace. The spcaLA Grooming Salon offers teeth brushing with certain grooming packages or you can book it as an a la carte service. The Marketplace and the Grooming Salon are located at 7700 E Spring St. in Long Beach or visit for more info.

For more information, please contact Ana Bustilloz at 323-730-5300 x252, cell 323-707-1271 or

Since 1877, spcaLA has been the premiere independent, nonprofit animal welfare organization serving Southern California. There is no national SPCA, parent organization, or umbrella group that provides financial support to spcaLA. Donations run programs and services including Cruelty Investigation, Disaster Animal Response Team, Humane Education, and a variety of shelter services.