Pet Blog - Pet's Teeth Tips

Our friends at the ASPCA® recommend you brush your pet’s teeth ideally once a day or at least several times a week. These pointers can help you get started.

1. Introduce your pet to the idea slowly. Start by simply massaging the gums gently with your finger or a cotton swab.

2. After a few massages, let your pet taste the toothpaste by dabbing it on the lips. Use toothpaste made for cats or dogs, since people paste can be harmful to pets.

3. Next, get your pet used to the toothbrush. Choose a toothbrush designed for pets, or buy one you can wear on your finger, if you prefer.

4. Finally, put some of the paste on the toothbrush, and brush using a circular motion at a 45 degree angle to the gum line.
5. Your pet may not be the best patient at first, but he or she will probably get used to the idea over time, and maybe even enjoy it! Try to make teeth cleaning a fun activity with lots of praise, attention, and affection.

Visit the ASPCA’s website to read more about dog dental care or cat dental care.

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ASPCA Happenings

Pet Blog - Brush Up on Dental Care for National Pet Dental Month

February is National Pet Dental Month, which makes it a great time to check up on your pet’s teeth, especially if it’s been awhile or you haven’t done it in the past. Problems in your dog or cat’s mouth can lead to serious health problems in the future. Fortunately, these can be prevented with some good old-fashioned dental care, like regular dental exams and tooth brushing.

The Ins and Outs of Dental Health
Food and plaque can build up on your pet’s teeth, much like your own. If it lingers there, it can cause bad breath, gingivitis, receding gums, loss of teeth, damage to the tongue and palate, and oral infections. Some of these problems can make it hard for your pet to chew and eat, and they can cause more complications down the road.

To help avoid these issues, bring your pet to the veterinarian at least once a year for a dental exam. The veterinarian will examine your pet’s mouth inside and out, and perform a professional cleaning. This can include anesthesia, X-rays, and ultrasonic teeth scaling. The cost of the exam can vary depending on the health of your pet’s teeth and gums. Our Level 4 coverage includes a yearly dental exam and cleaning.

5 Tips to Keep Your Pet Smiling
Here are some at-home suggestions for monitoring your pet’s dental health in between veterinary visits from our friends at the ASPCA. ®

1. The sniff test. Take a whiff of your cat’s or dog’s breath. It probably won’t smell fresh and lovely, but it shouldn’t smell foul or offensive, either. If you cringe at the scent, you should visit your veterinarian to make sure your pet isn’t suffering from digestive issues or gum disease.

2. Get a good look. Your pet may hide pain and discomfort, so it’s important to check his or her mouth regularly. Face your pet towards you, and gently lift his or her lips. Look around for inflammation, discoloration, ulcers, or loose teeth. If you see something that doesn’t look right, contact your veterinarian.

3. Brush regularly. Brushing your pet’s teeth on an ongoing basis may sound like a daunting task, but it’s an inexpensive way to avoid potentially serious health problems in the future.

4. Check your pet’s diet. The food your pet eats can impact dental health. Crunchy pet food or a combination of dry and wet food can keep your dog or cat’s mouth cleaner than soft food, which tends to stick more. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a pet food that’s good for teeth.

5. Offer chew toys. Pet toys made for chewing can perform double duty by satisfying your pet’s natural urge to chomp and by promoting dental health. Chewing massages the gums and can remove soft tartar. But be careful not to let your pet gnaw on hard toys that can injure his or her mouth or fracture teeth.

Later this month, we’ll share tips on how to brush your pet’s teeth!

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ASPCA Happenings


As we’re dedicated to making a difference for pets, we want to keep you informed about pet health topics and your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Our blog will provide you with fresh, interesting and informative topics—from pet health tips and customer stories, to the latest industry news and a Pet Parent Q&A column. Most of all, we encourage you to share comments and join the discussion!

Meet the Author

Julia H.

Social Media Coordinator

Pet Parent to:

Lucy, an 8-year-old rescued Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix

Blog Guidelines

While we’ll strive to present all viewpoints on this blog, comments will be reviewed before posting. Offensive or inappropriate language, off-topic remarks and comments containing personal policy information will not be featured.

Also, conditions discussed in this blog aren’t necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, please refer to your plan.

As always, if you have a question about your plan, call us at 1-866-204-6764.

*Note: While these testimonials may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.