person inspecting dog's teeth

Professional and At-Home Pet Teeth Cleaning

February Is Pet Dental Month!

Schedule your pet’s teeth cleaning during the month of February at Advanced Pet Care Clinic in Cedar Falls, Iowa and receive 10% off! Don’t know if your pet needs a dental cleaning? Call to set up a FREE dental exam. Our technicians will determine what level cleaning they will need and give you an estimate of cost.

All of our dental products will be 10% off during the month of February as well! Stop in and stock up.

The Importance of Professional Pet Teeth Cleanings

Periodontal disease is the most common dental condition in dogs and cats – by the time your pet is 3 years old, he or she will very likely have some early evidence of periodontal disease, which will worsen as your pet grows older if effective preventive measures aren’t taken. Early detection and treatment are critical, because advanced periodontal disease can cause severe problems and pain for your pet. Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect your pet’s mouth. Other health problems found in association with periodontal disease include kidney, liver, and heart changes.

It starts with plaque that hardens into tartar. Tartar above the gumline can often easily be seen and removed, but plaque and tartar below the gumline is damaging and sets the stage for infection and damage to the jawbone and the tissues that connect the tooth to the jawbone. Periodontal disease is graded on a scale of 0 (normal) to 4 (severe).

The treatment of periodontal disease involves a thorough dental cleaning and x-rays to determine the severity of the disease.

Below is an example of before and after pictures of professional dental cleaning.

an example of before and after pictures of professional dental cleaning

How to Properly Care for Your Pet’s Teeth at Home

While professional dental care from a veterinarian is required to remove plaque and tartar, there are some things that you can do at home to help keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy.

  1. Start by brushing your pet's teeth once daily with pet toothpaste and an appropriate brush size for their breed or size. (Never use human toothpaste for your pet).
  2. Additionally, you can supplement brushing with dental chews like OraVet, treats, or toys to help remove plaque and tartar.
  3. Avoid feeding your pets human food or snacks high in sugar, which can contribute to poor oral hygiene.
  4. If you have a dog that doesn’t tolerate brushing teeth or dental chews, you can still use a drinking water additive to help control bacteria and plaque.  Teef is a great option that we always keep in stock. 
  5. You can also use food additives to help control bacteria.  These are powders that you sprinkle onto your pets daily food.  Our favorite is Perio Support Pro
  6. Lastly, make sure to schedule regular dental checkups with your veterinarian!

Tips for Cleaning Your Pet’s Teeth at Home

It may seem impossible at first to consider brushing your pet's teeth. How do you get them to sit still? How do you find the time?

First, daily cleaning your pet's teeth takes very little time. You only need to brush their teeth for 30 seconds to 1 minute. And, if you start slowly and don't force them, many pets come to like getting their teeth brushed. Here are some at-home tips for brushing your pet's teeth:

  1. Get all your supplies. You will need a pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste. You may have to experiment with different types of toothbrushes and toothpaste flavors to see which your pet likes the most and which are also easiest for you to use. Never use human toothpaste as the binding agent, and fluoride can cause a pet to have an upset stomach.

 Finger brushes such as the one below made by Jasper work well for some pets, but these might be too bulky for pets with small mouths.

 finger brush

Another choice is the classic pet toothbrush, such as the one’s made by Virbac C.E.T.

pet tooth brush
There are also 365-degree toothbrushes, such as ones made by H&H Pets. These can work well for pets that like to chew down on the toothbrush.

chewable brush

  1. Add “pet teeth cleaning” to your schedule. If you have a busy schedule, brushing their teeth right after their last meal makes it easy to incorporate cleaning their teeth into your schedule. And remember, you only have to spend 30 seconds to 1 minute!
  2. Make the experience for your pet fun and rewarding.
  • First, get your pet used to the taste of the toothpaste. Let your pet smell the toothpaste and taste it. Award your pet with a treat and lots of praise so they associate the toothpaste with a good thing. Do this daily for about a week.
  • When your pet is comfortable tasting the toothpaste, use your finger to rub a bit on their lips, gums, and teeth. Again, reward them with a treat and praise. Do this step for several days to a couple of weeks, depending on your pet's tolerance.
  • Next, introduce your pet to the toothbrush with toothpaste on it. Let your pet lick the toothpaste off the toothbrush. Again, take your time and use treats and praise.
  • Once you have taught your pet to accept the toothbrush, start brushing in short intervals using lots of praise and treats. Work up slowly to where you can brush their teeth for 30 seconds to a minute. Focus on the outside of your pet's teeth because the inside is less likely to have any plaque build-up. Toothpaste is enzymatic, so the toothpaste itself will help decrease plaque and tartar. As you pet licks, they will move the toothpaste to the inside of the teeth as well.  Continue to use treats and praise. Remember, if you can keep it fun for your pet, it will be easy to make it a daily routine.
  1. When cleaning your pet's teeth, safety is always a priority. Ensure that your pet is in a secure and comfortable environment before you begin brushing their teeth and don't forget to reward them for good behavior throughout the process. Avoid pulling or yanking when brushing as this can cause discomfort for your pet and make sure to use only toothpaste made specifically for pets as human toothpaste can be harmful to them.

Click on the picture below to watch the video  on how to brush your pet’s teeth.

Final Words

We know how important healthy teeth are to your pet’s overall health. That is why we dedicate February to pet dental health. Take advantage of our discount for pet exams and cleanings by contacting us now to schedule an appointment for your pet.


Your Friendly Team at
Advanced Pet Care Clinic