Pet Dental Care - Tips to Manage Your Pet’s Oral Health

Vet checking cat's teeth

Learn How to Improve Your Pet's Oral Health

How healthy are your pet's pearly whites? Without proper dental care, your furry friend may develop painful infections and even lose teeth. These tips will help you protect your pet's teeth and gums.

Brush Your Pet's Teeth

Brushing removes plaque, a clear bacterial film that constantly coats the teeth. Plaque is a factor in tooth decay, but unlike humans, dogs and cats rarely develop cavities.

Unfortunately, that doesn't mean that it's safe for plaque to remain on their teeth. Plaque turns into tartar if it's not removed within a week or two. Tartar, a hard, yellow deposit, irritates the gums and can cause inflammation and periodontal (gum) disease.

Daily brushing gets rid of plaque, preventing it from ever transforming into tartar. It's never too late to start brushing your cat or dog's teeth. Although it's easier to start brushing when your pet is a puppy or kitten, many older animals will eventually permit you to brush their teeth if you start the process gradually.

You may find brushing is easier if you:

  • Let Your Furry Friend Lick or Smell the Toothpaste. Place a dab of pet toothpaste on your finger or a pet toothbrush and let your cat or dog sniff or lick it. Never use human toothpaste, as the ingredients can be toxic to animals. Pet toothpaste is a much better choice. The toothpaste contains flavors pets find appealing, like chicken, beef, seafood, and peanut.
  • Rub Your Pet's Teeth. Once you've found a toothpaste flavor your pet likes, place a tiny amount on your finger and briefly rub the paste across the gums. Offering a treat when you're through may make teeth cleaning more acceptable to your pet. Keep in mind that you're not actually trying to clean your pet's teeth at this point. Rubbing the gums with the paste helps your furry friend adjust to the sensation of brushing.
  • Try Brushing When Your Pet Is Comfortable. Squirt a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on a pet toothbrush or a finger brush, and gently brush your pet's teeth and gum line using a circular motion. Although both types of brushes remove plaque, a traditional toothbrush may be more effective in removing plaque at the gum line.

Patience is a must when you're starting an oral hygiene routine. It may take a week or two until you can progress from one step to another.

Choose Tooth-Friendly Foods and Treats

Some types of foods, treats, gels, sprays, and additives are specially formulated to prevent plaque and tartar build-up. Talk to your pet's veterinarian about the best foods and products for good oral health.

Schedule Checkups and Teeth Cleanings

Your oral health would suffer if you never saw the dentist or had your teeth cleaned. Pets need checkups and cleanings too. During your pet's exam, the veterinarian will look for signs of trouble, such as broken teeth, swollen or receding gums, bleeding, or loose teeth. Your vet may also recommend X-rays, as some tooth problems may not be obvious.

Teeth cleaning, recommended at least once a year, reduces your pet's risk of developing periodontal disease. The disease can cause bad breath, make chewing painful, and may infect or damage gum tissue, bones, ligaments, and teeth. If gum disease isn't treated, your pet's teeth may even fall out.

Periodontal disease may also increase the likelihood that your dog or cat will develop diabetes, or kidney, liver, or heart disease. According to an article in Today's Veterinary Practice, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease by age 2. Among dogs, toy and small breeds are most likely to develop the disease.

Although brushing your pet's teeth removes plaque above the gum line, plaque and tartar may still be present below the gums. A dental cleaning is the only way to remove the substances from under the gums.

Dental cleanings are performed under anesthesia. Blood tests are required before cleanings to ensure that your pet is in good health and can tolerate the anesthesia. Cleanings offer a simple, safe way to protect your pet's oral and general health.

Oral care is an essential aspect of good health. Let us know if your pet is due for a cleaning or you're concerned about tooth or gum problems.

Sources:

American Animal Hospital Association: 10 Facts You Need to Know to Protect Your Pet’s Oral (and Overall!) Health

AVMA: Pet Dental Care

Tufts Now: Chew on This, 12/10/20

Today’s Veterinary Practice: Periodontal Disease: Utilizing Current Information to Improve Client Compliance

Call to schedule your pet's wellness or urgent care exam now: (952) 758-6722

Testimonials

  • We have been clients of New Prague Animal Care for over 13 years. They have provided exceptional and compassionate care for our “pack” (6 dogs and 3 cats). As a professional dog trainer, breeder of Best in Show and Master Hunter Retrievers as well an owner of multiple kennel/ doggy daycare facilities (30+ years), I have worked with numerous veterinary clinics both in the Twin Cities and nationwide. Dr. Steve and his crew rate among the finest I have worked with. The clinic has all of the fea

    ...
    Show More - Kathryn N
  • My dad has taken all of his dogs there for years, and I take mine there as well. Dr. Lavalle's bedside manner is amazing, and his staff are so genuine and caring. I always have, and will continue referring people to take their pets here. They are hands down the best veterinary care in the area!

    - Amber C
  • Have taken our dogs to Dr. Lavallee for over 10 years and he is great with each of them. He and his staff are very caring and helpful.

    - Barb S
  • Middle of a snow storm a few days ago. My little puppy was injured. I live in Faribult. Vet offices were closed in town. They actually called me while in route to see if I was ok. They were so good with the puppy. The cost was very reasonable. Called today to see how everything was going. I really was very impressed with this office. I recommend this place.

    ...
    Show More - Wendy E
  • Awesome experience! My pets love the care they get from Dr. Lavallee and his staff! They are not just a number; they care for them like my babies are family! Would highly recommend them!

    - SGGM
  • Found a 6-wk old kitten on the side of the highway and brought it in at 7pm on emergency basis. I was blown away by the compassion of Dr. Johnson's team. What a great experience. True animal people!

    - Anna H
  • Moved to New Prague and found this place for our dog.. Such great service, friendly staff, amazing Dr. and very accommodating to all of our needs!! Highly recommended by my pet family!!!

    - Kerri N
  • We love New Prague Animal Care, they are always so kind and caring, from the phone calls to when you walk in. We take our Siberian Husky Bandit in and he gets so much attention, well loved. We've had to take him in twice for emergencies, the in house testing was great, Dr. Johnson was able to resolve the issue almost immediately. I wouldn't take him anywhere else.

    ...
    Show More - Myra C

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you

CURRENT HOURS

Pending further developments, we are open MWF 8am-6pm, TTh 8am-8pm, and Sat 9am-Noon.

Monday

8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Tuesday

8:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Wednesday

8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Thursday

8:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Friday

8:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Saturday

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Sunday

Closed

Monday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Sunday
Closed

Our Location