Pet Oral & Dental Care for your Dog or Cat

Just like humans, our pets need to have their teeth checked and cleaned regularly. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by age 3. This makes it the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets. Dental disease is an often unrecognized source of pain in pets. As pet owners, we must be aware of the signs and symptoms of dental disease in our animals so that we can take steps to prevent it or catch it early.

Signs and Symptoms of Dental Disease in Pets

Bad breath is the most common sign of dental disease in pets. If your pet’s breath smells bad, it is a good idea to have his teeth checked out by a veterinarian. Other signs of dental disease include redness or swelling of the gums, drooling, pawing at the face, bleeding from the mouth, and refusal to eat hard food/chewing on one side only. If you notice any of these signs, please get in touch with your veterinarian right away.

Prevention and Treatment of Dental Diseases in Pets

The best way to prevent dental disease is to brush your pet’s teeth daily with a pet-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. You should start slowly, introducing your pet to the toothbrush and toothpaste gradually so that he gets used to it. Once he is comfortable with you brushing his teeth, you can increase the frequency to daily brushing. If daily brushing is not possible, there are other things you can do to help prevent dental disease, such as feeding your pet hard foods that help scrape away plaque and using water additives that help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. If your pet already has dental disease, your veterinarian will likely recommend professional teeth cleaning under anesthesia followed by daily brushing at home. 

For more information about dental care for your pet, including helpful documents on brushing your pet’s teeth and dental diets, visit our Pet Dental Care page.