Keep Those Chompers Clean: Maintaining Good Dental Health in Pets

Dental disease is one of the most prevalent diseases in our pets. Numbers vary depending on the source, but 75-90% of dogs and cats have some form of dental disease by 3 years of age. While all dogs can and will develop dental disease, small, mini and toy breeds tend to have more problems.  

Signs of dental disease in pets include:

  • bad breath
  • increased salivation
  • difficulty chewing
  • decreased appetite
  • bleeding gums
  • loose or lost teeth
  • tartar accumulation
  • changes in food preferences

Left unchecked and untreated, dental disease will eventually lead to irreversible bone and tooth loss. In addition, the bacteria in the mouth can spread via the bloodstream to internal organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys, resulting in potentially life-threatening conditions.

There is some good news: dental disease in pets can be managed via multiple preventative strategies. Follow these steps keep your pets’ teeth healthy:

  1. Brush pet teeth daily. Dog and cat toothbrushes and toothpastes can be found on most pet aisles in grocery/box stores, as well as at specialty pet stores like PetSmart or Petco. It’s important to only use toothpaste approved for use in dogs and cats. This video demonstrates how to brush your pet's teeth.
  1. Provide healthy treats and diets for teeth. Numerous companies make dental health pet food, pet dental treats, and drinking water additives that improve dental health by combatting plaque and tarter. We recommend the dental products listed on VOHC’s website.
  1. Get routine cleanings. We recommend routine prophylactic cleanings once a year for all dogs and cats to maintain optimal oral health. Dental cleanings should not happen only when problems arise. Pet dental cleaning is done under general anesthesia, and every tooth is inspected for problems, then ultrasonically scaled and polished. Patients typically go home the same day. Learn more about ACOW’s pet dentistry and dental care services.

Animal Clinic of Woodruff provides on-site dog and cat teeth cleaning and polishing, animal tooth extractions, minor oral surgery for pets, and sedation for pets when needed. To make an appointment with one of our pet dental care specialists, complete our Appointment Request Form or call 864-576-9800.

Posted in Prevention Health

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