September 24, 2023

The good news is that dogs and cats do not get cavities as easily as humans do. Despite the widely held idea that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s, pets can develop tartar and plaque collection and gingivitis. You should be concerned about more than just bad breath and yellow teeth. Canine dental anomalies, like human dental abnormalities, can lead to potentially lethal infections and illnesses, including heart, liver, and kidney disease.

How to Keep Your Pet’s Teeth Healthy

We’ve provided some pointers below on how to maintain your pets’ mouths as healthy as your own.

Brush your pet’s teeth daily.

While we are all aware of the need for daily oral care for our teeth, few are aware that pets require the same amount of care daily. It’s best to start this habit when your pet is young, as this will help them acclimate quickly. With plenty of positive reinforcement, even an aged dog or cat can acquire this new behavior.

Invest in tooth-friendly foods.

Canned pet food, which encourages tartar and plaque buildup, is preferable to crunchy kibble. While multiple pet foods and treats claim to support pet oral health, not all of them do. For more information about dental-specific diets, speak with your veterinarian.

Have your pet’s teeth examined at least once a year.

While you and your family may visit the dentist regularly, most people do not take their dogs to the veterinarian to get their teeth examined. You should take your pet to the veterinarian for advanced vet care at least once a year to have his or her oral health checked.

Be wary of treats and toys that can damage your pet’s teeth. 

While toys and treats might help your pet’s teeth stay clean, others can cause tooth fracture or premature tooth erosion. Bones and other delights can also fragment, causing choking or stomach discomfort. Only give your pet rawhide, bones, or even nylon tennis balls when you are present to supervise. When you have to leave your animal companion alone, give him or her rubber balls or Kong toys instead to avoid pet surgery in the long run. 

Contact your vet immediately if you notice any dental health issues.

If you notice any of the following oral health issues in your pet, you should have their teeth checked before their yearly dental exam on places like Advanced Veterinary Care:


  • Teeth that have become loose or cracked
  • Teeth discoloration due to bad breath
  • Teeth encrusted with tartar
  • Mouth bleeds
  • Mouth or surrounding area swelling
  • Unusual chewing or dumping of food
  • Excessive drooling
  • Appetite loss or aversion to eating
  • Noticeable pain in or around the mouth


Dental care can be unpleasant for both humans and animals, but proper maintenance can be cost-effective and even lifesaving in the long term. Allowing it to go can lead to more expensive and often unpleasant vet appointments in the future. Some pets require an anesthetic to clean their teeth and gums if the accumulation is bad enough. Keep your pet’s mouth clean, and both of you will be happy.