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  • Writer's pictureUlrich Orthodontics

Does My Pet's Dental Health Matter?

Does your furry friend have bad breath? Did you know dental health for cats and dogs is more important than we often realize? Up to 70% of cats, and 80% of dogs have dental issues. If his/her breath smells worse than it should, it might be time for some intervention!

Untreated dental issues in our pets can lead to organ damage and failure - and possibly death, as the toxins and bacteria from periodontal issues can get into their bloodstream. Sometimes waiting too long after an issue has begun is not enough to save their lives. Because our pets cannot communicate with us, prevention is the best key! Below are some helpful tips on what to watch for, and how to avoid issues in the future with your beloved fur-baby.


What to watch for:

  1. Tartar buildup on the teeth

  2. Excessive drooling

  3. Abnormally foul breath

  4. Inflamed or bleeding gums

  5. Acting like they are in pain when eating, having issues with chewing food

  6. Rubbing teeth and jaws on items such as furniture

  7. *Certain breeds are more susceptible to dental issues. For example, bulldogs, Yorkie terriers and dachshunds.

How to help your dog's dental health:

  1. Brush your dog's teeth every 1-2 days.

  2. Choose a dental friendly dog chew. Some chews made from other animals can cause harm if ingested.

  3. Do not use human toothpaste. Human toothpaste contains xylitol and fluoride, both which are toxic to dogs. Instead, choose one especially made for dogs. These frequently come in flavors they enjoy, like chicken and peanut butter.

  4. Use a dog friendly breath/dental spray. Or use a safe additive to their water.

  5. Schedule regular cleanings for your pup with your local vet.


What to Watch For:

  1. Tartar buildup

  2. Opposition to having their head touched (indicating they are in pain)

  3. Difficulty eating and drinking - or refusal to do either

  4. Abnormally foul breath

  5. Bleeding gums, or gums another color other than pink

How you can help your cat's dental health:

  1. Check his/her gums regularly. Make sure they are pink.

  2. Check to make sure there are no odd bumps or ulcers.

  3. It might be challenging to get a toothbrush in your cat's mouth, but using gauze around your finger and a cat safe toothpaste should do the trick. Daily brushing is recommended, but any attempt is great!

  4. If your cat is food motivated, a dental chew is a great option!

  5. Schedule annual dental cleanings with your local vet.

*Information gleaned from PetMD, American Veterinary Medical Association and

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