Dental Care

Homeless pets with dental disease are among those most at-risk in the city shelter. So at PAWS, we talk about teeth a lot.

Many stray and surrendered cats and dogs—who have already been through so much—arrive at shelters with painful dental complications like fractured teeth, stomatitis, and tooth resorption. With proper treatment, they can go on to live full, happy lives and make adoptive families complete, rather than face continued suffering and euthanasia.

Often, their only barrier between life and death is a rescue organization’s ability to afford their costly dental surgery.

PAWS is able to perform most dental surgery in-house — we have an extraordinary team of veterinarians, including a part-time dental surgeon, and we recently acquired necessary dental x-ray equipment. This expansion enables us to accommodate more animals with dental disease than ever, but the surgeries remain costly and some complicated or urgent cases still must to referred to outside veterinary practices who partner with PAWS to save lives. These surgeries typically cost us just under $500 per animal but can be as expensive as $1,500.

Right now, there are more animals who need our help than we can afford to treat. To continue leading Philadelphia to become a no-kill city, we must provide what these animals need. Because we can only save them if we can pay for their dental care, we have created the Tooth Fairy Fund.


Anna found safety at PAWS after losing her home of many years. She arrived at the city shelter with an upset stomach, a poor appetite, and a painful mouth due to damaged teeth and unhealthy gums. This affectionate senior would have been euthanized if a rescue couldn’t commit to her medical needs. PAWS was able to provide Anna’s care thanks to the Tooth Fairy Fund and she has since found her new beginning with a new family!


This kind senior, who is blind, found safe haven at PAWS after arriving at the city shelter with matted fur and a mouth full of bad teeth. A Good Samaritan brought him in after he showed up on their doorstep; there was no way to know how long he’d been fending for himself in the cold. Porkchop bravely underwent extensive dental surgery and quickly found a loving home once he recovered.


Pria was rescued by PAWS after her owner surrendered her to the city shelter. In addition to being obese, this gentle senior suffered from skin infections and severe dental disease. After spending time getting healthy in a foster home, she had a successful dental surgery and joined a new caring family to enjoy her golden years.


Leroy is one of the lucky ones: this gentle 12 year-old came to us from the city shelter after his owner passed away. Our veterinary team found he had an untreated mass in his mouth along with severe dental disease requiring surgery. He is now feeling better and loving life in his new home!

Give a Healthy Mouth & a New Life

Zuri came to PAWS in desperate need of multiple extractions to alleviate her painful gum disease. Thanks to our supporters, she got the care she needed and is now happy and healthy in her forever home. 

Each year, we aim to raise $60,000 to pay for lifesaving dental surgery for more than 100 cats and dogs. You can be a tooth fairy to a homeless pet in need! 

Donate to the Tooth Fairy Fund


Complex Medical Cases

More and more, the shelter animals most in need of rescue have illnesses or injuries requiring specialized veterinary care. They find it at PAWS: we help them heal so they can go on to enjoy the carefree lives they deserve.

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Cat Rescue and Care

PAWS rescues homeless cats who are most in danger: those with treatable medical or behavioral issues, mothers with kittens, and orphans who are too young for adoption. We help them get well, then place them in loving homes.

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Dog Rescue and Care

Dogs of all sizes and varieties find safe haven at PAWS: especially seniors and those with special medical needs. We give them the veterinary care they need, and then use our proven matchmaking skills to find them just the right forever home.

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