The Importance of Dental Health For Your Cats and Dogs
25 February, 2014

February is dental health month for our pets. It’s a reminder to pet owners that our dog or cat’s overall dental health and condition are very important.  Pet owners should be mindful of our pet’s teeth and overall dental condition as lack of proper dental care can lead to many health risks for our beloved cats and dogs.  Regular home check-ups and brushing your dog’s and cat’s teeth can improve their dental health.

Below are some ways to check your dog or cat’s dental health.

1. The Breath Test

Take a sniff of your pet’s breath! It doesn’t have to be a long one and it doesn’t have to smell like perfume, but it shouldn’t be offensive either. If your dog or cat’s mouth has an abnormally strong odor, he may have digestive problems or a gum condition such as gingivitis, and should be examined by a vet.

2. Take a look at your dog or cat’s gums

With your dog or cat facing you, gently push back his lips and take a look. The gums should be firm and pink, not white or red, and should show no signs of swelling. The teeth should be clean and free of any brownish tartar, and none should be loose or broken.

3. Look inside your dog or cat’s mouth

Watch for any of the following signs that could indicate problems in your pet’s mouth:

Dark red line along the gums

Ulcers on gums or tongue

Loose teeth


Difficulty chewing food

Excessive drooling

Excessive pawing at the mouth area

4. Dangerous Swelling

If you find any swelling or inflammation, you should take your dog or cat in for a veterinary exam. If left untreated, gum disease can develop, possibly leading to tooth loss or inability to eat. Inflammation may also point to an internal problem like kidney disease or a virus.

5. Tooth Decay

Bacteria and plaque-forming foods can cause a buildup your dog or cat’s teeth. This can harden into tartar, possibly causing gingivitis, receding gums and tooth loss.  Regular teeth cleanings, of course, helps combat tooth decay (as it does in people).

6. Try to brush your cat’s or dog’s teeth

While it’s not always easy, it’s important to brush your dog or cat’s teeth.  You’ll need cotton swabs and a small toothbrush and a type of toothpaste formulated for dogs or cats. You can also use salt and water. Ask your vet to suggest some brushing supplies and be sure never to use toothpaste designed for people as the ingredients can be unhealthy for your dog or cat.

8. Chew Toys Can Improve Dental Health

Chew toys can satisfy both your dog and cat’s natural desire to chomp, while making their teeth strong. Gnawing on a chew toy can also help floss your pet’s teeth, massage their gums and scrape away soft tartar.

9. Choose a food that promotes dental health

If your dog or cat has dental troubles, ask your veterinarian to recommend a food that keeps your beloved’s teeth healthy and helps to remove plaque buildup.  There are a lot of different type of food on the market today that are made specifically for your dog or cat’s dental health.

If you take the time to check your dog or cat’s mouth regularly and make sure that your Vet checks your pets’ teeth, you can help your pet’s long term dental and overall health.


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