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Keeping your pet healthy with dental care

The 4 keys of dental care for dogs and cats


For many pet owners, dental care for your cat and dog often falls by the wayside. It’s not because you don’t care. It probably hasn’t even crossed your mind, and they certainly aren’t going to ask you for a trip to the vet. Not even for fresher breath! But a healthy mouth can help your pet live longer and happier. 


In this video, Dr. Reindel and Licensed Veterinary Technician Samantha talk about the key ways dental care can catch a problem tooth in progress, maintain good hygiene, and practice preventative care for your pet. There are four keys to keeping your pet healthy with dental care, and we break them down in this article as well as in the video.

How to spot dental disease in your pet

There are several signs that your pet may be suffering from a sick tooth or gum disease, so if you spot any of these issues, please call us today to make an appointment. The sooner we catch dental disease the better!


  • Unusually stinky breath
  • Difficulty chewing (especially with dry food)
  • Chewing only on one side of the mouth
  • Dropping food from their mouth
  • White stuff or discharge along the gums
  • Redness in the gums or swollen gums
  • Broken or cracked teeth


If your pet is suffering from one of these conditions, he’s probably in pain, and probably trying to hide it from you. It’s important that we notice when our pets aren’t feeling well, and when dental disease strikes — a bad tooth, cracked tooth, or infected gums — that infection can enter the bloodstream and cause much more serious problems that affect the heart, kidneys, and lungs.

Will my dog’s tooth heal itself?

A lot of pet owners might think that their dog or cat’s sick tooth will take care of itself. This is not true. That tender tooth you noticed they’ve been avoiding using at dinner time may take awhile before it becomes really bad. You might even think your pet is just being weird by skipping a meal every once in a while. Small dogs and toy breeds can be finicky. But ignoring these signs can lead to skipped meals, unnecessary suffering, and organ disease, like we mentioned above. 

An infected tooth will eventually form an abscess, which is extremely painful and may cause your pet to stop eating. This is when bacteria from the affected area in the mouth becomes a blood risk. If the infection enters the bloodstream, the heart, kidneys, and joints may suffer as well. 

Don’t ignore signs of a bad tooth!

How does a dental cleaning for my pet work?


There are several steps we take when your pet comes in for a dental cleaning. Some pet owners get nervous because a dental cleaning means a light anesthesia. All of our vet techs are certified veterinary technicians and all are highly skilled in administering and monitoring anesthesia during the cleaning. Putting your pet under helps us more easily access all the teeth and gums, and it gives your pet’s jaw muscles a break. Opening wide can tire them out!


Let’s look at the steps involved in a dental cleaning.


  1. We do a quick oral exam while your pet is awake
  2. After administering anesthesia we take a deeper look
  3. We then use an ultrasonic scaler to remove plaque and tartar buildup
  4. We take x-rays of the entire mouth 
  5. If we see any teeth with disease, we remove them
  6. Finally, we polish the teeth to remove microabrasions and make them shiny


After the cleaning, we prescribe any medications for anti-infection or pain if needed, and send your beloved pet home feeling better — and with a brighter smile.

Doing preventative dental care for your pet the right way

We recommend every pet owner incorporate a few regular practices for keeping your pet’s mouth clean and happy. This includes brushing and giving them special treats and supplements that aid in dental hygiene. 

  • Brush your pet’s teeth

This can be done with your finger or a piece of gauze. Make sure you do not use human toothpaste. It has fluoride, which can be toxic to pets! Apply the paste in a brushing motion along the teeth and gums. 

  • Dental treats for happy teeth

Look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal when you purchase dental treats for your pet. The seal represents science backed ingredients that help keep your pet healthy. 

  • Consider food or water additives

Dental additives that can be added to your pet’s food or water bowl can help keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy. These can work like a mouthwash alongside that daily brushing routine. 

If you have any questions about your pet’s dental health or how a cleaning procedure works, we have answers. Call us today to schedule your pet’s dental cleaning. 

Glove Cities Veterinary HospitalDove Creek Animal Hospital 
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