Protect Your Pet’s Teeth


Follow These Top 10 Tips from the Pros

They’re not just for chewing shoes — your dog’s teeth are important to his health and happiness. VCA West Los Angeles shared their top 10 tips for protecting your pet’s pearly whites.

1. Dogs have 42 teeth and cats have 30, while humans have 28. That’s 14 more teeth for dogs and two more teeth for cats that can develop problems.

2. Brush your pet’s teeth as often as possible and rub an oral rinse on gums.

3. Monitor your pet’s breath; bad breath typically means there is a dental health issue.

4. Pets have a remarkable ability to hide pain, making it tough to tell if they have a toothache or abscess. Yearly check-ups are key.

5. Small and toy breed dogs, especially those fed a soft food diet exclusively, are at increased risk for dental disease and should have their teeth examined more frequently.

6. Oral cancers are one of the most common forms of cancer in cats and dogs. Regular exams and proper dental care can catch cancer early to allow for quick treatment.

7. Dental disease can lead to life threatening infections of the blood and heart. Good dental health is critical for older pets and pets with other diseases that may alter their immune defenses.

8. Severe periodontal disease can also weaken the jawbone, causing it to break, which can be very painful and difficult to treat.

9. Use the “kneecap rule” when deciding what chew toys are safe for your dog. If you wouldn’t want someone to hit you in the kneecap with it, it is not safe for your pet’s teeth.

10. A full dental cleaning under anesthesia, performed by a veterinary professional, is the only way to thoroughly clean above and below the gum line, check for periodontal disease, and polish the teeth. Other techniques are less effective and more risky.

Find a long list of veterinarians and dental specialists in our Petsguide Directory.