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Keeping Your Pet’s Smile Fresh, Clean, and Healthy: How to Clean Dog’s and Cat’s Teeth

Cute, white American Eskimo Dog lying in the grass and smiling, looking to the right of the camera

Celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month this February by considering Purina’s dental health advice for dogs and cats. Take a look!

Would you like your pet’s smile to be as fresh and clean as yours? Promoting oral hygiene is essential to keeping your pet healthy and comfortable. To help you out, we’ve collected some of the best Purina dental health advice for dogs and cats.


Brushing Dog and Cat Teeth

If possible, get your dog or cat accustomed to having his teeth cleaned at home on a regular basis when he’s still a puppy or kitten. You’ll want to buy toothpaste created especially for your dog or your cat — toothpaste made for humans can cause stomach upset when pets swallow rather than spit out the preparation — as well as some sterile gauze strips for the actual cleaning. You could also use a child’s soft toothbrush with your dog, or a soft rubber cat toothbrush with your cat.

To start, dip the toothbrush or a strip of gauze wrapped around your index finger into the toothpaste. Then gently rub your finger or the toothbrush in a circular motion on a tooth. Start with one or two teeth for the first session and increase the number of teeth cleaned per session as your pet gets used to the routine. A daily — or at least twice-weekly — cleaning at home can help your dog or cat avoid painful dental diseases.

Cats may not love having their teeth inspected, but it’s worth trying, and the gradual approach often works. If your cat refuses to allow you to clean his teeth, it’s okay to leave it to the professionals. Talk over a specific cleaning schedule with your veterinarian — and expect to take your cat in for at least an annual cleaning.


Prevention and Nutritional Maintenance

Whether you own a cat or a dog, dry, crunchy foods can be helpful in keeping teeth clean. As your dog or cat chews, particles from the dry food scrape across the teeth, acting like a toothbrush to help remove plaque. If you feed your pet wet food, try adding some dry food to the menu at least a few times a week.

While February is National Pet Dental Health Month, dental health is important all year round. With a little effort and special attention, you’ll be on your way to forming good habits with your dog or cat that promote healthy oral hygiene for years to come.



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