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Pet Dental Health

There are many benefits to keeping up with your pet’s oral hygiene. Along with reducing stinky pet breath, your dog and cat’s overall health is related to their dental hygiene.


Just like humans (hopefully) keep up with dental hygiene daily, pets need routine upkeep and maintenance to make their teeth shine and stay healthy. While most people don’t attend to their pet’s dental hygiene daily, it is something that still must be done regularly. It won’t take care of itself if ignored!


Is your pet’s breath stinky? This is one of the most common signs that they are in need of oral hygiene upkeep. Bad breath from tartar and plaque can be a warning sign for more serious inflammatory diseases. These diseases can be more than just oral health problems, they can spread to organs and other parts of your pet’s body and affect their overall health. Don’t ignore it when you smell the stinky pet breath - take action!


Brushing a pet’s teeth can be challenging, but it is something that many owners can accomplish in their own home. Brushing teeth should be approached like all training you do with your pet. Patience, treats, rewards, and calm reassurance are all needed to have a successful experience. Starting slowly is key. If you rush and your pet has a bad experience, it may be harder to get them to agree to the brushing in the future.


Brushing doesn’t have to be complicated. You can use a normal toothbrush meant for people, or purchase a specialized pet toothbrush that fits over your finger and is designed to fit in a pet’s mouth better. Follow the same advice your dentist gives you for your teeth. Work in small, circular motions with only moderate pressure. You may want to be a bit gentler on your pet than you would be for yourself because the sensation will feel very foreign to them at first. Just like with people, make sure to get all sides and corners of the teeth.


You won’t always need toothpaste to clean your pet’s teeth. Many times it can be done with a damp toothbrush. Make sure your pet’s mouth and gums aren’t too dry when you’re brushing as toothbrush bristles are more painful and less effective on dry gums. When you do decide to use a toothpaste product, you need to use a pet-friendly toothpaste. Human toothpaste is not safe for animals! If your animal is aggressive during the brushing, stop. It’s not worth a bite to do it on your own!


There are also many products available to pet owners to help keep pet’s teeth cleaner and healthier between cleanings. Dental sticks and chew toys act as teeth cleaners between brushings. Pets use the natural chewing action to scrape and brush away tarter and plaque – and your pet just thinks they are just having a nice treat! Also consider a food designed to promote oral health as another way to keep up hygiene between cleanings.


If you are having trouble with keeping your pet’s teeth clean, don’t just ignore the problem. It is very important to keep your pet’s overall health in check. Have a vet or certified groomer perform the cleanings. Your pet will thank you in the long run!

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Cedar Valley Humane Society

7411 Mt Vernon Rd, SE

Cedar Rapids, IA 52403

319-362-6288

Shelter Hours

Monday - Friday: 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Saturday: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Sunday: Closed

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