Skip to main content

BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

3 ways to improve your pet's dental health

Jan 27, 2023 10:47AM ● By Jenna Kretschman

Dental hygiene is important—and if you’ve ever experienced dental health challenges, you know that dental pain can take a serious toll on your quality of life. 

The same is true for our pets. Dental problems can cause (or be caused by) hidden internal problems, so caring for your pet’s mouth is a chief part of their overall wellness. 

February is Pet Dental Health Month, which means now is a great time to prioritize your pet’s dental hygiene! Signs that it’s time to take your pet in to see a veterinarian for a dental exam include bad breath, broken or discolored teeth, tartar buildup, abnormal chewing or drooling, a swollen mouth and/or reduced appetite. 

In December, a 10-year-old cat named Greybeard arrived at Roice-Hurst Humane Society in rough shape. He struggled to eat and spent most of the day curled up in his kennel. A veterinary exam revealed that he had profound tooth loss and stomatitis—a painful autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of the gums. 

After undergoing a dental procedure to remove his remaining teeth, Greybeard’s relief was transformative. Now, he’s a happy, loving, pain-free senior kicking off a new chapter in life.

Here are three tips for improving your pet’s dental health:

1. Schedule an annual checkup.
Greybeard’s poor mouth condition could only be addressed after a dental exam. Your pet’s veterinarian will examine their mouth and let you know when it’s time for an in-depth dental cleaning. Dental cleanings are performed under anesthesia and include scaling, polishing and x-rays of your pet’s mouth to address any issues under the gums.

2. Brush your pet’s teeth.
Veterinarians recommend brushing your pet’s teeth daily. Even weekly brushing goes a long way between professional cleanings. To get started, purchase pet-friendly toothpaste (do not use human toothpaste!) and a pet toothbrush. Begin by allowing your pet to lick the toothpaste from your finger, then slowly introduce the toothbrush over time. 

3. Give your pet a healthy diet.
Be sure your pet receives the nutrition they need with appropriate food for their age, size and medical conditions. Check with your veterinarian for specific recommendations tailored to your pet. You can also provide dental treats and dental chew toys for your pet that are designed to scrape tartar from the teeth and promote salivation, which protects against tooth decay. 

This month, prioritize your pet’s dental health and your pet will thank you with kisses that don’t smell so bad! 

Anna Stout holding her dog Gary

Create a dental routine with your pet

Many of us don’t realize how critical dental health is for our pets’ overall health. Read More » 


Sign up for our Newsletter

* indicates required
I am a...