Dental Health Tips and Solutions For Dogs and Cats

Has your dentist ever told you to brush or floss your teeth more? We may need reminders here and there, but keep in mind that dental hygiene is also a very important part of your dog or cat’s overall health and wellness. Dental problems can also be the source of other health conditions. Periodontal disease is the most common oral condition in dogs and cats. It starts with plaque, a sticky film made of bacteria that covers the surface of the teeth. When plaque is not removed and allowed to build up, it hardens into tartar, which can cause gum inflammation and prompt infections. Poor oral hygiene is more than bad breath, it can lead to painful mouth conditions and make eating difficult. February is National Pet Dental Health Month, so teeth are the topic, and we have some helpful tips to keep your dog and cat healthy and happy.


Get In Charge of Dental Health

  • The first step is to talk to your veterinarian. During an exam, they will look at your pet’s teeth and gums for signs of plaque or tartar buildup, as well as detect problems. They will recommend a regimen based on your pet’s age, general health, and the condition of their teeth. X-rays and regular teeth cleanings are a common treatment plan for dental wellness and diseases. Learn more.
  • Start an at-home regimen as early as you can. If you have a puppy or kitten, get them accustomed to having gum massages. When their adult teeth come in, they’ll be more accepting of regular tooth brushing -One of the best ways to remove plaque.
  • Choose the best pet oral hygiene products. Talk to your veterinarian about which dental health supplies, chews, and supplements are right for your pet and how to use them. These can help you maintain your pets dental health at home between visits or cleaning, and may help prevent the formation of oral diseases.
  • Commit to your plan. Stay on schedule and follow through with the plans for the best long-term dental care.

Dental Health Care Products

VetRxDirect has a wide selection of dental care products for both dogs and cats. Check out these favorites:

Vetradent at VetRxDirectVetradent reduces bacteria in the mouth responsible for plaque and tartar formation. It is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless liquid that contains Biotrate technology to break through bacterial biofilm in the mouth. Vetradent also eliminates bad breath and maintains the dental pH balance. Use Vetradent Water Additive to fresh water, or Vetradent Spray directly on the teeth and gumline.


1-TDC at VetRxDirect1-TDC, TetraDecanol Complex, is an esterified fatty acid oil that naturally supports healthy gum tissue and helps reduce the risk of periodontal disease in dogs and cats. It also works to support the health and function of your pet’s joints to keep them active and mobile.



Oratene at VetRxDirect

Oratene dental care products contain a patented enzymatic system with antifungal and antibacterial properties. Use Oratene Drinking Water Additive for a brushless oral solution that removes plaque and reduces odor-causing bacteria. Antiseptic Oral Gel helps treat mouth infections. Brush with Oratene Toothpaste to eliminate plaque and bacteria. Breath Freshener soothes dry mouth, cleans, and refreshes.


DuoClenz Dental Chews at VetRxDirectDuoClenz chews keep your dog’s teeth clean and their breath fresh. They have a special enzyme coating and abrasive texture to make contact with the tooth surface while preventing plaque and tartar buildup. Each chew is made from cooked beef rawhide and has a tasty poultry flavor that dogs love.


How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

As domesticated as they may be, our dogs and cats have retained some of the instincts that ensured their survival in the wild. First and foremost, they are reluctant to show pain, since injured animals are easy prey for predators. It is for this reason that it can be difficult to discern when our furry friends are sick or injured. For obvious reasons, oral discomfort in pets often evades detection.

According to the experts, 75 percent of middle-aged pets have some form of gum disease.  The percentage is slightly higher, perhaps as much as 85 percent, in canines. Of course, there are other dental concerns and disorders besides gum disease. They include abscesses, infections, loose, crooked, or cracked teeth. But most of them are a result of a serious gum disease, such as gingivitis or periodontitis.

Both of these disorders are caused by plaque, which is a sticky deposit that forms on teeth and can cause irritation, infection, inflammation, even bone lose. At its earliest stages, gingivitis is the result of plaque buildup near the gum line. This mixture of bacteria, mucus, and food particles may irritate the sensitive gum tissue, resulting in future dental issues.

The good news is gingivitis can be painlessly treated and reversed, if it is caught in time. But if it is not, the dental plaque will harden into a thick deposit known as tartar, which cannot be removed by normal means, i.e., brushing, flossing, rinsing. The only way to get rid of it is to have a dental professional remove it with instruments.

Signs and Symptoms of Dental Disease in Pets

Even a mild case of gum disease should produce visible signs of irritation, including a reddening of the gum line around the affected area. In more advanced cases, the gums may actually bleed, which may cause a loss of appetite. Your pet may also have a hard time sleeping at night and may rub his face against soft surfaces. On occasion, his face may swell, making it harder for him to eat, bark, or meow.

What can you do to help your pet with dental disease?

No matter how cute and cuddly they may be, most pets don’t like people looking in their mouths. One again, this is a visceral vestige of their untamed days. Now, your pet probably won’t snap at you if you try to take a look at their teeth and gums, but they will, at the very least, struggle and try pull away.  In other words, it will be unpleasant for the both of you, but there’s no way around it.

Large plaque deposits can turn to tartar in just three days! And as we mentioned, tartar cannot be removed with brushing or rinsing alone. At that point, you must make an appointment with your pet’s veterinarian and your pet must be anesthetized, in order to remove these dangerous and destructive deposits. The time between dental procedures can be increased by introducing your dog or cat to brushing at an early age. They may not enjoy it, but in most cases they’ll get used to it. After all, it is for their benefit.

Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth

Just as it is for human beings, brushing helps maintain oral hygiene in pets. How often you need to break out the brush depends on your dog or cat. Some breeds are predisposed to dental problems and may require regular cleanings, while others will only need it a few times a year. How can you tell who needs a cleaning and when?

The only surefire way is to examine your pet’s mouth firsthand. If your dog or cat has fetid breath, severely discolored teeth, red, irritated, or bleeding gums, or any combination of the aforementioned, he most likely has some form of gum disease.  Depending on the severity of the disorder(s), it may be necessary to take him to his veterinarian for a professional cleaning. But in less extreme cases, you may be able to handle it at home. Be sure to ask about your pet’s dental health during your pet’s next veterinary exam.

Start a Brushing Regimen with Puppies and Kittens

Because they loss them in short order, it is not necessary to brush your pet’s baby teeth, only the permanent ones. With that said, it is often best to introduce the procedure at an early age anyway. Waiting until adolescence or adulthood could be disastrous, since your pet may not accept anything in the mouth, even from his owner.  Toothpastes, rinses, gels, sprays, and other solutions are now sold specifically for pets. Most are designed to curb the growth of anaerobic bacteria, which is what causes dental plaque and tartar buildup.

Tools for Cleaning Your Pet’s Teeth

Simply use a pet’s toothbrush and message your pet’s gums several times before you introduce an actual pet dental product, which won’t be needed until his permanent teeth come in. And when they do, he will be familiar with the routine and should not give you too much trouble during cleanings.

Happy Brushing,