Keep Your Pets Teeth Clean With a Dental Routine

To prevent dental disease, we advise pet owners to get into a dental care routine, we encourage daily brushing with an enzyme-based pet toothpaste.

Created: 8/7/2018 Updated: 1/19/2024 - Shelley Simmons

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The OSCAR Helpline are here to help give guidance on how to clean your pet's teeth and prevent dental disease by keeping to a regular routine.

Preventative care: cleaning your pet's teeth

  • To prevent dental disease, or to prevent it from recurring after veterinary treatment, we advise pet owners to get into a dental care routine, we encourage daily brushing with an enzyme-based pet toothpaste do NOT use a toothpaste for humans.

  • Some cats will tolerate brushing, but, if not, they will get some benefit from licking the toothpaste off their fur, or off their dinner. If you start slowly with dogs, most accept toothbrushing. I start with the outer surface of the back teeth and work forwards.

  • With an enzyme-based paste it is not necessary to brush the inside surface of the teeth. You should make toothbrushing part of your daily routine from a young age.

Happy Golden Retriever outside smiling

Oral health care products for brushing your pets teeth

Here are some of our dental hygiene products for brushing your pets teeth:

Checking your pet's oral health

When did you last check your dog or cat’s teeth? Most owners don’t look often enough and don’t notice problems until the damage is advanced. The OSCAR Helpline recommends training your pet to allow their mouth to be examined and checking the teeth once a week.

  • Start by just stroking around the mouth when your pet is relaxed and then offer a treat as a tasty reward. Slowly build up to lifting the lip at the font of the mouth, and then at the sides, until you can see the outside of all the teeth easily. With a dog you can also open the mouth for a quick look inside; easy if your dog expects you to follow up with a treat!

  • What you should see is clean, white to ivory coloured teeth (the teeth naturally get darker with age) with pink gums (some black and brown pigment is normal in most dogs and cats). The breath should not smell offensive. Brown tartar on the teeth, especially accompanied by red or bleeding gum edges are signs of dental disease. Left untreated, the gums will recede leaving sore exposed tooth roots.

  • Once gum recession has started the only course of action your vet take is to remove the teeth. Chipped and broken teeth can sometimes be filled and restored but may need to be removed to prevent painful abscesses. If there is extensive tartar and red gums your vet can scale and polish the teeth under anaesthetic. Don’t fall for anyone offering to scale your pet’s teeth while they are conscious; they will not be able to clean properly under the gumline.

Dental treats

Dental chews are not the best way to keep teeth clean; they can help in small dogs, but large dogs tend to bite off and swallow large lumps rather than gnawing on them as intended. These chews are also quite high in calories and can contribute to obesity.

Chew toys, rope raggies, antlers, raw bones are sometimes suggested to keeping teeth clean, but they should be inspected regularly for wear or damage. Hard chews (including raw bones, nylon chews, and antlers) can sometimes cause tooth fractures and should be used with caution in strong chewing dogs like Labradors and Staffies.

Close up grey fluffy cat

Other oral care hygiene tips

If you are unable to brush your pet's teeth there are other alternatives available for you to try such as:

If you need more dental care advice you can try...

At OSCAR, we care about your pets as much as you do. We provide nutritionally balanced diets for your cats and dogs. Why not treat your pet and start your OSCAR journey with a £7 Starter Pack for cats or a £10 Starter Pack for dogs

Do you need further advice?

If you need any further advice, please contact the OSCAR Helpline Team on our freephone number 0800 195 8000 or email