At Shop LC, we love our pets, and we know you love yours too. We spoil and pamper them with toys and treats while showering them with love and affection. One thing that’s frequently overlooked, but vital to your pet’s overall well-being, is good oral health. Besides freshening stinky breath, keeping their mouth and teeth clean keeps them feeling their best, and helps prevent a host of trouble down the road. With this in mind, Shop LC reached out to professionals and pet parents to get the best oral hygiene tips for dogs and cats.


Establish Good Brushing Habits Early

Brushing cat teeth with pink toothbrush.

Just as with our human children, our fur babies learn by routine and repetition. It’s important to make sure your pet receives their oral care regularly to establish good habits. It may not always be fun or easy, but brushing their teeth regularly provides all sorts of benefits to your pet. It freshens their breath, reduces tartar, and helps prevent more serious infections from developing.

Dr. Alex Avery, BVSc and founder of Our Pets Health told Shop LC, “My tip to keep a dog or cat’s teeth clean is to start brushing while they are still a puppy or kitten. In the first few months of life they accept everything as normal and so if you incorporate brushing into their routine it will be easy to keep going as they get older and their adult teeth come through.”

Dr. Avery also shared these excellent pointers for making brushing their teeth easier.

  • Start slowly, using a special flavored toothpaste as a treat to get them used to it.
  • Then get them used to having their mouth handled and teeth wiped.
  • Introduce a brush. A finger brush is often the best starting option.


Familiarize Yourself with Their Mouth

Dogs and cats have a different landscape to their mouths than humans. While this might seem obvious, it’s a small detail that can be easily overlooked. Just as we learn the nuances of our own bodies, it’s good to acquaint ourselves with Fido and Fluffy’s mouths too. While you’re handling them, be sure to have a good look inside for anything that doesn’t look normal. If something does seem strange, speak to your vet about it to develop a good plan of action.

Pet blogger Bryn Nowell of A Dog Walks into a Bar shared this story about her pup Bean.

“In addition to getting to the nooks and crannies that you might not be able to access through treats or chews, it also allows for you as the pet owner to be familiar with the landscape of your dog’s mouth. If I didn’t regularly bush my dog, Bean’s teeth, I wouldn’t have noticed her excess gum growths that were affecting her ability to chew comfortably, until they had grown much larger. Because I did notice them early, we were able to keep an eye on them and financially plan for surgery to reduce the growths. The growths were tested and were found to be benign, that isn’t always the case for pets. Cancerous growths in the mouth can be hard to detect, especially if the pet owner isn’t looking into their pet’s mouth regularly.”

Also, Bryn suggested yearly dental cleanings for your pet. “Treats, chews, additives, and even brushing can only do so much.  There’s a reason why humans go to the dentist twice a year for cleanings, why would it be different for pets?” If you think your pet might need extra dental care, be sure to talk to your vet!


Know What You’re Giving Them

Just like we won’t fill our bodies with junk, it’s important to understand what we’re feeding our pets, or giving them as treats. Do your homework, and research the goodies you decide to feed your pet. Believe it or not, but my dog Sailor loves ice cubes on hot Texas days, so it’s easy to give him treats that make him feel special.

Pet parent and Content Writer Jenna Salerno shared this advice with us. “As a pet owner, I make sure to buy my dog chew treats that have the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal labeled on the outside of the package. I feel more comfortable giving my dog a treat that has this seal on it since I know it’s been checked to ensure it’s healthy for my dog’s teeth. Though these treats don’t guarantee protection against dental disease, it puts me at ease knowing that these treats help keep my pet’s teeth clean.”


Show Us Their Beautiful Smiles!

Now that you have some great pet oral care tips, why don’t you show us? Each week, Shop LC loves featuring your pets in our Furry Friday round-up. Take a look at all the Furry Friday pets, and submit your own pet to the Shop LC Facebook page using the hashtags #shoplc and #furryfriday!


Disclaimer: In compliance with FTC blogging guidelines, contributors did not receive a compensation fee or review product for their tips. Contributors are not providing an endorsement of Shop LC products or services. Shop LC does not endorse the information or products offered by contributors through their respective websites.

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