Dental Care for Dogs and CatsDental care and prevention in dogs and cats is important because no one wants their pet to have dental issues, pain, or tooth loss. Because dental disease can lead to kidney and heart infections, dental prevention is recognized as the key to prolonging our pet's life.
Preventing Plaque is ImportantPlaque leads to tartar. Tartar leads to gingivitis from irritation. Gingivitis leads to infections and abscess teeth. Infections lead to tooth loss.
Plaque is a slimy bacterial layer that moves up and down with chewing, and it lives on the food that our pets eat. If the plaque is not removed within three to five days, it will calcify and strongly adhere to the teeth. This mineralized plaque, better known as tartar, irritates the gum and causes gingivitis. Gingivitis leads to periodontal disease, loose teeth, abscesses, and loss of the tooth. Interrupt this process early, and you can save teeth!
This timeline is important because once tartar is present, most pets have to undergo anesthesia, dental cleaning, and polishing to remove it. Our focus needs to be on plaque prevention and removal. We can kill plaque bacteria with oral sprays, water treatments, and brushing. Killing the plaque will help prevent tartar buildup. Because plaque takes three to five days to calcify, we need to kill it two to three times a week. Water treatments and oral treatments are both helpful. Once the plaque is killed, dry food chewing and brushing can easily remove it.
PreventionRoutine home care can kill plaque, allowing the mechanical action of chewing dry food or treats to remove it before tartar forms. Prevention includes brushing their teeth often and offering dental treats.
- VET BASICS® Enzymatic Dental Chews for dogs is veterinarian recommended for daily use in fighting plaque and tartar buildup. The new enzymatic technology in these chews combined with the natural scrubbing texture of rawhide work to remove plaque from canine teeth while controlling tartar buildup. The enzymatic action also controls the bacteria that cause bad doggy breath. These tasty chews are an easy first step toward a lifetime of great dental health for dogs and can be used safely with other dental products to optimize oral health. For cats, feed C.E.T.® HEXtra® Chews daily or give them hard kibble or biscuit daily.
- Brush their teeth twice a week. Brush in a circular motion with a Chlorhexidine toothpaste, like C.E.T.® Toothpaste. We recommend the C.E.T.® Toothbrush Kit which includes toothpaste, a dual-ended brush, and a fingerbrush.
- Supplement brushing with oral gels, mouth sprays, or water additives such as Petzlife™ Oral Care or Oratene® Veterinarian Water Additive to kill plaque. Remember, the goal is to kill plaque—dental chews, hard food, or treats can remove it with chewing.
- Use treats and toys that benefit teeth care. Dental chews and treats, like C.E.T.® Chews or Greenies®, and rawhide chips will all help in your effort to remove plaque as your pet plays.
- Avoid table scraps and high calorie sweet treats that feed plaque bacteria and promote buildup. Sweet treats destroy your pet's waistline as well as their teeth.
- Check for gum disease, discolored or fractured teeth, and bumps or masses. Be sure to discuss dental issues with your veterinarian.
Taking steps to kill and remove plaque will go a long way toward keeping a full set of teeth in your pet's future!
If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.
Don Bramlage, DVM, Former Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.