Pets and Dental Health

Pets and Oral (Periodontal) Health

Have you ever notices that when you take your pet to the veterinarian, they always look at their gums and teeth? Well, that’s because many of your pet’s worrisome symptoms can be the result of poor dental health. For this reason, more emphasis has been placed on ways to ensure healthy pet teeth and gums, despite difficulties that can present in providing that care.

Causes of Poor Pet Dental (Periodontal) Health

Some causes of poor dental health are the pet’s age, breed, and food. Older pets have a higher risk of developing dental disease. In addition, smaller breeds and those with overlapping teeth are at higher dental disease risk (, 2010). And think about what you feed your pets, if the food is sticky, it can cause a buildup of plaque just like in people, then bacteria buildup can travel via the saliva, and the bacteria can also enter the bloodstream where the bacteria can infect your pets organs, heart, kidney, and liver.

Signs of Poor Pet Dental (Periodontal) Health

Signs that your pet has dental issues can include any of the following: “bad breath, redness or bleeding of the gums, difficulty chewing, drooling, loose teeth or even missing teeth, face swelling especially under the eyes and nasal drainage (Greenfields Veterinary Associates, LLC, n.d.).” Other signs that would co-exist with the above include pets that don’t seem to be eating and/or when they rub or paw at their mouth (Hills, 2010).

Prevention of Poor Pet Dental (Periodontal) Health

As with many other issues, preventative care and early recognition of signs are key. And part of prevention is regular vet visits where professional inspection of your pet’s teeth can be performed. Prevention of dental issues and diseases also include avoiding sticky foods, providing veterinary recommended chew toys, and brushing their teeth. Good nutrition is also important in the overall health of your pet and their teeth. Take your veterinarian’s advice on the proper and most health and appropriate food for your pet and his/her health and dental status.


One pet food that is commonly recommended is Hill’s. Hill’s is a prescriptive diet pet food specific to prevention and for use with presented diseases. For dental health and issues, veterinarians often recommend Hill’s t/d which comes in a variety of bite-sized kibbles to maintain teeth clear of tartar and food build-up (Hills, 2010 & Virbac Animal Hospital, (2009). In addition, C.E.T., a three-step home dental regimen that owners can use to treat and prevent dental disease and promote dental health. The C.E.T. three-option includes dental chews of various types (tartar control, chlorhexidine antiseptic, or enzyme; the addition of C.E.T. oral hygiene rinse to your pets’ water; and making daily hygiene with C.E.T. toothpaste and toothbrushes). Suggestions for teeth brushing are to follow the ABC method. Pick a time when your pet is relaxed, put a small amount of toothpaste on your finger to familiarize him with the taste, and try to use finger toothbrushes by C.E.T. as a start.




Further information about pet periodontal hygiene can be found at your veterinarian office and  Should your pet require professional teeth cleaning, your veterinarian will provide instructions, and what to expect (Zoetis Services LLC, 2018).




Greenfields Veterinary Associates, LLC, (n.d.). Learn the Signs of Pet Dental Pain & Disease: “I have bad breath”.

Hills, (2010). Oral Health: Prescription Diet: Clinical nutrition to improved quality of life.

Virbac Animal Hospital, (2009). Make Your Pet’s Dental Health Part of Your Routine”: It’s important and easier than you think.

Zoetis Services LLC, (2018). Give Yourself and Your Pet a Reason to Smile. Zoetis PetCare

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