February is Pet Dental Health Month

Many of us have experienced the epitome of doggy love; wet slobbery kisses from our four legged friends. Many of us have also experienced the disgust of doggy halitosis when our pets try to share the love with less than fresh breath! While many people believe that doggy breath is normal, bad breath in pets, like their human counterparts, can  signal poor dental hygiene. This can cause severe long term health issues and pets, so good pet dental health is critical for the quality of life of cats and dogs.



Know the Signs of Dental Disease

One of the most evident signs of oral disease in your dog or cat is bad breath. If your pet has less than fresh breath, this is a sure sign that you may need to step up your game when it comes to caring for your pet’s teeth and gums. 

Other signs of oral disease include tartar build up on teeth, red, swollen gums, reluctance to eat because of tooth pain and loose or broken teeth.

Common Causes of Dental Issues in Cats and Dogs

Dental health problems can be caused by several factors. If a pet develops an abscess in the gums, this can lead to serious infection and is painful for the animal. Some dogs and cats have genetic issues which cause misalignment of the teeth and jaw structure which can cause discomfort and pain. Broken teeth that are unattended to can become infected and cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream and affect the heart, liver and kidneys. 

Home Dental Care

It isn’t difficult to keep your dog or cat (or both) with fresh breath and healthy teeth and gums. Here are a few things you can do at home to maintain good oral care for your pets:

  • Brush pet’s teeth regularly with a pet safe toothpaste. This is also a good time to feel the mouth for loose or broken teeth and notice any swelling or other abnormalities in the gums.
  • Provide safe chew toys for your pet. Regular chewing is an effective natural way for tartar and bacteria to be removed from teeth. Always monitor pets carefully with chew items.
  • Schedule yearly professional cleanings with your veterinarian.

Poor Dental Hygiene Leads to Long Term Health Issues

Excessive tartar and bacteria build-up can have drastic long term effects on dogs and cats. Bacteria that accompanies periodontal disease enters the pets blood stream and can contribute to heart, liver and kidney problems. In addition, poor dental care is linked to shortened lifespans in dogs and cats. I don’t know about you, but I want years and years of good health with all of my pets!

Preventative Dental Care makes Financial Sense

Check this out: the average cost of a professional cleaning and polishing for pets is about $178. Compare this with the average cost of $214 for treatment of dental related diseases and the difference is evident. Treating serious dental issues such as abscesses, slab fractures and tooth removal and you are spending a whole lot more than the average! 

Regular pet dental care makes sense for all involved. As pet owners, we want our pets to have a high quality of life that is pain free and healthy longevity. We also want to save money so we can buy more cool pet stuff right?! A regular at home preventative routine and yearly visit isn’t a lot to reap all these benefits; it’s well worth it for you and your pets’ happiness and well being.

Do you ever wonder how much you know about your pet’s dental health? Take this survey to test your pet dental skills!

What kind of home dental regime do you follow for your pet(s)? If you don’t, what one small thing can you add as a regular practice to support your pet’s dental health? Please share in the comments…we would love to hear from you!

Did you like this blog? We would be so thankful if you would share with family and friends!


  1. Very efficiently written information. It will be valuable to everyone who uses it, including myself. Thanks a lot!

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