Home Dental Care for Cats and Dogs


Ever wonder why your veterinarian always mentions your pet’s teeth? Dental disease is the most common disease in pets, affecting 78% of dogs and 68% of cats by the age of three.


Home dental care should supplement dental cleaning at your family veterinarian’s office. The American Veterinary Dental Association recommends general anesthesia cleanings every six to twelve months starting at the age of three years for all cats and medium to large breed dogs. Small breed dogs should begin cleanings at one year of age.

A clean mouth prevents bad breath, discolored teeth, fractured teeth, and many other systemic diseases such as cardiac disease. Despite the advantages of professional cleanings only one third of pet owners in a nationwide study have taken their pet in for a dental cleaning.


Between cleanings the following are recommended:

Brushing

  • Brush your animals’ teeth daily
  • Use dog/cat specific toothpaste
  • Make sure to brush all visible surfaces of the teeth

Treats/Chews

  • Chewing can be effective in maintaining good dental health
  • Enzymatic treats help break down plaque precursors
  • Check out VOHC.org for a list of approved treats by the oral health council

Rinses/Sprays/Gels

  • Chlorhexidine is the preferred primary ingredient
  • Rinses/Sprays should be used on both cheeks
  • Gels should be smeared on the teeth

Dr. Pete Lands is the Director of Emergency and Critical Care at Saint Francis Veterinary Center. instagram @petevet

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