Your Pet's Oral Health

By the age of two, 4 out of 5 pets are living with dental disease1. Maintaining oral health is important because gum disease can cause pain and may possibly lead to more serious illnesses, such as heart, liver and kidney disease2.

Causes of Dental Disease

Plaque is at the root of most dental problems in pets. Plaque is a colourless film that contains large amounts of bacteria. Left untreated, plaque hardens into a substance called tartar that forms along the base of the tooth, near and below the gum line. This process causes inflammation of the gums that is known as gingivitis.  As the inflammation progresses, it destroys gums and tissues that support the teeth, leading to pain, bone loss and tooth loss.

Infection associated with dental disease can be responsible for bad breath, bacteria can enter a pet’s bloodstream and spread to vital organs such as the heart, liver or kidneys. Preventive oral care throughout your pet’s life can reduce the formation of plaque and tartar, which can lead to gingivitis, dental disease and systemic diseases that can negatively impact the life of your pet.

Signs of Dental Disease

Make sure to check your dogs teeth and cats teeth regularly for the following signs:

•  Bad breath

•  Bleeding or red gums

•  Yellow brown crust around gum line

•  Dribbling saliva

•  Subdued behaviour

•  Tooth loss

•  Pawing at the mouth

•  Change of eating habits

•  Pain when eating

•  Refusing to eat

Dental Formula in Pet Food

All premium pet food sold at VetEnt is specially formulated to slow down the formation of plaque and tartar and to scrape the tartar off you cat or dogs teeth.

Specific prescription diets are available to reduce the progression of dental disease. You will notice a difference in a few weeks. Prescription diets are nutritionally balanced providing all the nutrients your pet needs for staying healthy.

These foods should be fed long term, either on their own or alongside your pet’s regular food to maintain dental health.

Also avoid feeding your pet table scraps and treats that encourage plaque formation.


Research has proven that 70-80% of all cats and dogs have some form of visible dental disease by the age of 2. Tartar build up is like cement on the teeth. The best way to avoid more serious dental disease is for your pet to have annual dental checks. The vet or nurse may suggest a scale and polish is required.

Your pet needs to be anesthetised and a tube placed down the throat before an ultrasonic descaler is used to remove all tartat, any loose teeth are removed and the teeth are polished to help reduce tartar build up again.

Prevention is the best way to reduce further dental work being required.

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There are several methods we use to try and slow the build up of tooth tartar which leads to gingivitis, decay and tooth loss.

Regular brushing of your cat of dogs teeth should be done using finger brushes, pet tooth brushes and pet toothpaste which are available from VetEnt. 

Dog and cats teeth should be brushed using a brush at a 45 degree angle in small circular motions. Get your pet used to having its teeth brushed using just a brush initially then progress to using pet toothpaste, initially brush the front teeth only and then slowly incorporate back ones as well.

Never use human toothpaste on dogs.

Chew and teeth toys 
These are created and designed to help keep the surfaces of the teeth free from tartar and massage your pet’s gums, as your pet plays.

Smoked bones 
These are very hard and dogs are not able to break them into small pieces (NB raw, cooked or dried bones are not appropriate and can lead to constipation, sharp shards in the stomach and intestine, and foreign bodies).

Water treatments 
There are treatments you can add to your pet’s drinking water to stop the bacteria laden tartar sticking to the teeth.

There are several specially formulated treats available that have chemical and mechanical teeth cleaning properties.

Maintaining Oral Health

To protect your animals’ teeth it is essential that you provide them with regular home and veterinary dental care. It is beneficial to start dental care in young pets where dental disease is not yet present. Prevention is always better than treatment. Options include a combination of:

•  Regular pet health and dental checks

•  Professional dental cleaning (to remove plaque and calculus)

•  Scientifically proven dental diets

•  Appropriate chews

•  Tooth brushing

•  Use of dental toys for play

All pets are at risk of developing dental disease. Some pets show no signs of dental disease, even when it is severe and extremely painful.

Regular visits will help our veterinary health care team provide for your pets best interests.

Click here to download a printable version of this factsheet or click for more information on dog or cat dental care

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For emergencies or urgent appointments within the next 24 hours, please phone the clinic directly.