Keeping Those Teeth Bright: Pet Dental Health

Bright, shiny choppers aren’t just for humans. Dogs and cats need healthy teeth too. So just like you keep your teeth healthy with regular brushing and dental care, you need to do the same for your furry friend.

Regular dental cleaning is extremely important for our pet's health but is often overlooked. Nearly 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of periodontal disease by age 3 but by starting a brushing routine, you can help your pet combat dental diseases to keep them happy and healthy.

Border Collie Getting Teeth Brushed

Tooth Brushing

Brushing your dog or cat’s teeth goes a long way towards maintaining their mouth health. Just like humans, dogs and cats are susceptible to bacteria and plaque build-up, which can harden into tartar and cause other oral health issues.

Dog Tooth Brushing

Try to brush your dog’s teeth two to three times per week. Work your way up to brushing so your dog gets used to the process. Start by massaging your dog’s lips with a finger. Then move on to the gums, and finally the teeth.

Once your dog is comfortable with the process, put a little dog toothpaste on his lips to help him identify the taste. Then you can move on to the toothbrush.

Keep in mind that a dog toothbrush is smaller than a human one and has softer bristles. Or, use a soft brush that fits on your finger, and use a massaging motion to clean your dog’s teeth.

Cat Tooth Brushing

Cat Teeth

Brushing a cat's teeth is similar cleaning a dog's. Start either by massaging the gums with your finger or using a cotton swab. Once your cat adapts, put a small amount of cat toothpaste on her lips, so she can get used to the taste.

Then move in to a cat toothbrush or small fingertip brush using a gentle, massaging movement for cleaning. As a note, if your cat doesn't like toothpaste, consider salt and water or talk to your veterinarian for suggestions.

Chew Toys

Chew toys can also help your dog or cat can keep their teeth clean.

Gnawing on a chew toy serves several purposes for dogs, like:

  • Strengthening teeth and massaging gums
  • Scraping off soft tartar
  • Reducing stress levels and preventing boredom

Some dog treats also keep teeth healthy. Additionally dry foods can reduce tartar.

And yes, cats like to chew, as well. Even better is that cat chew toys—and cat treats—offer similar benefits to those provided by their canine counterparts.

Ark Naturals Brushless Toothpaste Dog Chews

Raw Bones

Giving your dog or cat a bone is a tradition in many pet households. Dogs have a natural urge to chew, and bones satisfy that need while helping to clean and scrape their teeth all the way up to their gums, making them a great option for treat time. 

Raw bones provide them with a safe bone to gnaw and crush to their hearts content while providing them with healthy amino acids, iron, and calcium. Offering marrow bones is the most natural way to clean your pet's teeth.

Curious to learn more about raw bones? Check out our What's the Deal with Raw Bones blog here

 Given that raw bones are frozen, we are unable to sell these products online but do encourage you to visit us in-store and try Primal's raw bones located in the freezer. 

Dental Health Issues

Pet Stages of Periodontal Disease

You can also help your four-legged buddies by keeping an eye out for dental issues like gingivitis, periodontal disease, and salivary cysts. Dogs can also be prone to:

  • Proliferating gum disease, when gums grow over teeth.
  • Swollen gums, resulting from tartar buildup and food particles lodged between teeth
  • Canine distemper teeth, common among dogs who had distemper when they were young
  • Mouth tumors, appearing as lumps in the gum; malignant ones need to be removed

Cats have their own dental problems, which can include:

Orange Cat Brushing Teeth
  • Mouth ulcers, which form on tongue or gums; these can be caused by kidney or respiratory issues
  • Rodent ulcers, a slowly enlarging sore on the upper lip
  • Stomatitis, as evidenced by an inflamed mouth lining; this is caused by a virus or foreign body lodged in the mouth

Both dogs and cats can also have bad breath. If "dog breath" or "cat breath" is overwhelming, it could signal a digestive issue, gingivitis, or other gum condition. Finally, untreated dental issues in your dog or cat can result in kidney, liver or heart disease, or appetite and/or weight loss.

So, when it comes to keeping your canine pal or feline friend healthy and happy, look after their dental health. Doing so is a great way to keep all of you smiling!

Visit Pets on Broadway for a variety of treats, tools, and techniques to keep your pets' teeth clean and their breath smelling sweet!

Check out our favorite pet dental products here.

Curious to learn more? Check out our Pet Dental Health: Where to Start blog here?

Learn more on pet dental health in our Ask the Expert: Forever Pet Dental blog here

Check out our Dental Guides linked below: