According to the American Veterinary Dental College, 70% of cats and 80% of dogs show symptoms of dental disease by the age of 3 years. The first indicator of dental disease is halitosis or bad breath. While we do not expect your fur baby to have perfect minty fresh breath, it definitely shouldn’t be strong enough to make you gag. Some of the other things that you may come across are- stained teeth, altered eating habits (showing pain, discomfort or being uninterested during meals), swollen or bleeding gums and drooling.

Now you may be wondering why is my pet’s oral hygiene so important when there is no such thing in the wild or on the streets? Well, that’s not a sound comparison because their living conditions and life expectancy are different from those of our pets. Now you may be wondering why is my pet’s oral hygiene so important when there is no such thing in the wild or on the streets? Well, that’s not a sound comparison because their living conditions and life expectancy are different from those of our pets. 

Poor dental hygiene may lead to problems such as plaque/tartar build up, dental cavities, gingivitis, periodontal disease and oral cancer to name a few. The problem doesn’t end here, bacteria and toxins from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause serious diseases in the heart, kidney, liver and even brain.


Why is Dental Hygiene Important for Pets
Dental Hygiene
Implementing a home dental care routine may be the first step to maintaining oral hygiene. This includes brushing your pet’s teeth for a minimum of 3 times a week using a veterinarian recommended toothpaste and finger-brush or soft toothbrush. To get started you must get your pet acquainted with a dental routine, this can be achieved by using chicken broth in place of toothpaste or using a soft gauze as a toothbrush.

The ideal time to start a dental regime is at 10-12 weeks of age, although it’s never too late to start. Dispense a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto a brush and gently brush in a circular motion, first the sides and then the front teeth for a few seconds. Gradually build this up to about 1-2 mins. Dental sprays and wipes may act as an easier alternative to teeth brushing, but they definitely will not clean the nooks and crannies of your pet’s mouth. 

Dental treats and chews are known to reduce plaque/ tartar build-up, bad breath and maintain gum health, all of this due to the simple action of chewing. While chews may seem like the medicine to all your dental woes it is advisable to moderate the amount being given as it may cause tummy upsets in your dog. The different types of chews available are- rawhide chews, dental bones, dental chews and biscuits.  Chew toys can act as longer lasting alternatives, especially if your dog has a tendency to quickly chomp down edible chews. Ensure that the treats or toys are suited to your dog’s size, age, preference and personality.


A balanced diet with ample fresh water is very important to maintain oral health and hygiene in animals. Dry foods may be a better option than wet foods as they show lesser tendency to stick to the teeth. 


Lastly your veterinarian may be able to perform ultrasonic dental scaling. This procedure involves the use of ultrasonic scalers to remove plaque formation, this is followed by polishing of the teeth which removes scratches thus reducing rate of future build-up. Keep in mind that this is a procedure performed under general anaesthesia.



Dentistry is not expensive, but neglect is, so make sure you keep your fur baby’s mouth clean.