Pet Dental Care FAQs

 Think about what would happen to your teeth and gums if you never brushed them for three years. Many pet owners subject their pets to just that by ignoring their pet’s dental health. Most dogs and cats suffer from periodontal disease by the time they are three years old. Our veterinarians at Shelley Drive Animal Clinic in Tyler, TX would like to look at some of the questions that we run into regarding pet dental care.

Doctor checking a dogs teeth

What is Periodontal Disease in Pets?

It is similar to periodontal disease or gum disease in people. Bacteria in the mouth feed on food particles left on the teeth. They multiply to form plaque, which eventually forms tartar. This leads to a variety of problems, including bad breath, tooth loss, and pain. Bacteria that cause periodontal disease can get into your pet’s bloodstream and cause damage to the heart, liver, kidneys, and meninges of the spinal cord and brain.

Isn’t My Pet Supposed to Have Bad Breath?

It is a common misconception that it is normal for dogs and cats to have bad breath. It is not. Normally, the breath of dogs and cats is odorless. Plaque causes bad breath.

Doesn’t Dry Food Clean My Pet’s Teeth?

Although dry kibble does scrape off some bacteria from the teeth, it cannot get everywhere, so it will always leave some bacteria behind.

Doesn’t Dental Treats Clean My Pet’s Teeth?

Dental treats remove more bacteria and plaque than dry food, but they still do not do as well as brushing or a cleaning from your veterinarian. Pets with bad teeth will often not eat dental treats.

Can My Pet Use the Same Toothpaste I Do?

Never give pets toothpaste meant for people. Not only do dogs and cats not like the taste, but the toothpaste can also make your pet very sick. Only use toothpaste meant for pets. They come in flavors that pets really like.

What Kind of Toothbrush Should I Use for My Pet?

You can use a toothbrush made for pets, a people toothbrush with soft bristles, or a brush that fits over your finger.

How Often Should I Brush My Pet’s Teeth?

Ideally, you should brush your pet’s teeth every day. Many pets will not sit still for you to brush their entire mouth but will sit for a few teeth. Even if you only brush a few teeth per day, that is better than not brushing your pet’s teeth at all. If you do not know how to brush your pet's teeth, ask your vet to show you how.

When Should My Pet Have a Professional Cleaning?

Dogs and cats should get their teeth cleaned by a veterinarian or animal hospital at least once per year. This way, all of the bacteria and plaque are removed periodically.

Book a Dental Cleaning with Our Veterinarians in Tyler, TX

If you have questions about your pet’s dental health and live in the Tyler area, contact Shelley Drive Animal Clinic to speak with one of our veterinarians. Call our team today at (903) 561-7373 or reach us through our website by using our online contact form.

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Shelley Drive Animal Clinic


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