pet dental health

Make Those Canines Shine: The Definitive Guide to Your Pet’s Dental Hygiene

Proper canine dental care is essential to ensure a long and happy life for your pet.

Responsible pet owners know that proper nutrition, ample exercise, affection, and regular visits to the vet are all necessary to keep their furry housemates healthy and happy. In fact, most pet parents monitor their dog’s or cat’s well-being as vigilantly as they do their own.

Yet many of those same owners overlook a crucial element of pet health: dental hygiene. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats harbor some form of tooth decay or oral disease by age three. To avoid such decay, proper canine dental hygiene must start from a puppy’s very first days.


Read the Signs   pet dental health

Since your pet can’t tell you if they’re experiencing tooth pain, you should always be on the lookout for the telltale signs of dental disease yourself.

Twice a week, gently pull up your pet’s lips to examine her teeth and gums. Healthy teeth will appear white and clean, with no patches of brown tartar, and healthy gums will appear pink with no swelling. If this sounds like your pet’s mouth, you’re in the clear. But if you notice particularly foul-smelling breath, red and swollen gums, broken teeth, a mass on the gums or tongue, or excessive drooling, schedule an appointment with the vet immediately. Those may be symptoms of more serious dental problems.

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The Importance of Pet Teeth Cleaning

Dogs and cats need pet teeth cleaning to keep them healthy both inside of the mouth and in other areas that contribute to the total overall health of your pet. Your veternarian will check inside your pet’s mouth on his or her annual exam. However, a pet dentist at your animal hospital will take x-rays to evaluate any beginning problems below the gum line to better access your pet’s dental condition and keep him or her healthy.

Dog and Cat Oral Health

According to VetStreet, “Eighty-five percent of all pets have periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years of age.” This is why it is so important to have dental exams starting at about the age of 2 years old. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the tissue around the teeth and it can cause early tooth loss in your pet. Bacteria combines with food particles and then minerals from saliva to form a hard substance of plaque on your pet’s teeth. The bacteria works itself under the gums and causes gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums. The bacteria then destroys tissue around the teeth and causes tooth loss. If this dental disease is not corrected, it can travel through the bloodstream, infect the kidneys and heart, and possibly cause organ failure of the kidneys or heart in your pet.

Signs That You Need a Pet Dentist

Your pet should see your veterinarian at your pet hospital sooner than one year if you notice any signs of dental issues including broken or loose teeth, retained baby teeth, bad breath, teeth covered with a hard discolored substance, excessive chewing, drooling or dropping food when eating, pain or swelling in the region of the mouth, decreased appetite or mouth bleeding. Each of these problems point to some sort of dental disease in your pet. The American Veterinary Medical Association  suggests that you take your pet to a dentist if they have changes in behavior and act irritable. This is often how they display the pain of dental problems.

Pet Teeth Cleaning

When you take your pet to have his or her teeth cleaned, they will be put under anesthesia. Our pets do not understand that they must remain still to have a thorough teeth examination and cleaning as humans do. The anesthesia keeps them still and quiet so your pet dentist can expertly clean their teeth after taking x-rays, where your dog or cat needs to remain still for them to display under the gum health issues. After your pet wakes up from anesthesia, he or she will be very groggy and will likely spend the night at your vet’s office for safety so that he or she doesn’t injure himself or herself by falling.

Pet Parents Role in Teeth Cleaning

There are several things that you as a pet parent can do to help your dog or cat have great oral health. Pet toothpaste and a pet toothbrush is a great way to start. Vet’s recommend brushing your pet’s teeth once a day. The toothpaste’s are flavored and most pets love the taste of chicken. Dental chews are available for pets to clean their teeth while they enjoy them. Dental chews usually have a nice scent and can alleviate bad breath at the same time. WebMD recommends checking dental chew packaging for the statement “Approved by The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)” This organization evaluates pet products to make certain they meet certain standards for reduction of tartar or plaque for good oral pet health. Taking care of your pet’s teeth is as important as pet grooming, dog grooming or cat grooming to keep their pearly whites clean and healthy.

Animal Teeth Cleaning is an Important Part of Health

Promoting Healthy Teeth Daily


There are several ways to keep your dog or cat’s teeth healthy between visits to your pet dentist for animal teeth cleaning.

Feed your pet kibble instead of semi-solid or wet food. The dry kibble cleans his teeth when it breaks into small particles as it is chewed to scrub teeth and gums.

Provide your dog or cat with chew toys. The act of chewing on something, especially long periods at a time, scrapes plaque and dirt away from his teeth and gums to promote a healthy mouth.

Look for dental chews for your pet with the “VOHC-approved” stamp on them. These products meet the teeth cleaning standards of the Veterinary Oral Health Council and are helpful in removing unwanted buildup of food or plaque from teeth and gums.


Daily Tooth Brushing


Cats and dogs should ideally have their teeth brushed daily to obtain good oral hygiene. You should start when your pet is very young, so they accept this as part of a daily routine. If you can’t brush their teeth daily, try for at least several times a week. Purchase toothpaste formulated for your dog or cat at a pet store. They are made with chicken or beef flavoring to be palatable to pets. Choose a pet toothbrush and place a small bead of the pet toothpaste on it. Let your pet lick it off and enjoy the flavor. Start by brushing the front teeth with gentle circular motions and move to the rear as your pet allows you. It can take some patience and time to get your pet acclimated to this new idea.


Pet Mouth Examination


A close examination of your pet’s mouth, teeth and gums can alert you to a problem requiring a visit to your pet hospital for dental issues. The first sign of tooth decay is when your pet has a gum condition, such as gingivitis is his breath. If your pet’s mouth has a very strong or foul odor, he needs to see your veterinarian. Lifting your pet’s lips gently allows examining his gums. The gums should be pink and firm. Abnormal gums are white, red or swollen. The teeth should not have brown tartar on them and teeth should not be loose or broken.


These signs are an indication that your pet needs to see his dentist:


Difficulty chewing food

Drooling excessively

Pawing at his mouth

Red, swollen gums

White Ulcers on his tongue or gums

Loose teeth

Pus anywhere in the mouth

A dark red line along the gum line


At the first sign of swelling, take your pet to your veterinarian to treat gum disease so he can retain his teeth, be able to eat kibble and live a happy and healthy lifestyle.


Ask the Pet Dentist: “What Is Periodontal Disease?”

Of all potential health problems for your pet, dental problems tend to be the most common. Unfortunately, this has become a common occurrence as pets instinctively hide their discomfort. Many pet owners do not notice dental problems until the disease has become severe and threatens the health of the pet. To help you fight this growing trend, let’s ask the pet dentist about pet dental disease prevention, signs, and treatment.

What Is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is the most common dental disease affecting dogs and cats. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease includes inflammation of gums, or gingivitis, and infection in bone and tissues around the teeth. Unfortunately, unmanaged periodontal disease has been linked to poor quality of life and pet health, especially for pets with diabetes. Additionally, periodontal disease may lead to holes from the mouth to the nasal passages, damage to the tissues around the teeth, heart problems, and kidney failure.

How Is Pet Dental Disease Prevented?

Prevention is critical to avoiding dog and cat dental problems. Your pet should have at least one annual animal teeth cleaning, and you should avoid feeding table food to your pets. Additionally, you should brush your pet’s teeth with an AVDC-approved, pet toothpaste at least twice per week. Some additional products, such as Greenies, are an excellent way of curbing the buildup of tartar and plaque on your pet’s teeth as well.

What Are the Signs of Pet Dental Problems?

You may notice some changes in your pet’s typical behaviors when dental problems are present. Periodontal disease may also be identified, explains WebMD, by the following symptoms:

  • Bad breath.
  • Bleeding and inflamed gums.
  • Loose and missing teeth.
  • Blood in the water dish and on chew toys.
  • Excessive chewing on toys and other items.
  • Making noises when eating and drinking.
  • Swollen pockets and bumps in the mouth and on the cheeks.
  • Avoiding touching on the head.
  • Excessive sneezing, nasal discharge, or difficulty breathing.

What Is the Treatment For Pet Dental Disease?

The treatment for dental disease in pets depends on the progression of the illness. Some teeth may need to be removed.  Teeth may require sealants and a thorough animal teeth cleaning. Your pet may be given antibiotics prior to dental work to reduce the chance of spreading the dental infection. Additionally, you will need to perform some home dental hygiene for your pet, such as brushing his teeth and giving medication.

Although periodontal disease remains the most prevalent health condition for US pets, it’s completely avoidable with proper, routine dental screening and total health checkups. If you have noticed any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your pet, contact University Animal Hospital for a dental consultation today.



5 Facts About Animal Teeth Cleaning

When pets have a chipped tooth, a loose tooth or a toothache, they have no way of telling their owners. Consequently, animal teeth cleaning is sometimes overlooked during pet grooming sessions. Just like humans suffer from oral diseases because they neglect to visit a dentist, animals may also suffer tooth decay, gum disease and extensive tooth loss if they don’t receive regular dental cleanings. We’ve put together 5 simple facts that pet

Animal Teeth Cleaning  Facts Vets Want You to Know

  1. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, drooling while holding food in the mouth or dropping food already in the mouth may indicate oral disease. Any pressure exerted on painful, decayed teeth or inflamed gums will cause an animal to release whatever is causing the pressure. Other symptoms of oral disease in pets that owners often fail to recognize include chronic eye infections, frequent sneezing, nasal discharge and chewing on one side of the mouth.
  2. A research paper published in Veterinary World reports a positive correlation between dogs suffering periodontal disease and instances of chronic kidney disease. This correlation was attributed to the presence of inflammatory bacteria in the bloodstream caused by untreated periodontitis.
  3. Root canal therapy is applicable to dogs suffering dental pulp infections, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. A pet dentist performs a root canal procedure on canine teeth similar to how it is performed on human teeth, by cleaning out the infected pulp, filling the hole with amalgam or composite filling and capping the tooth.
  4. Pets develop oral diseases when biofilms composed of proteins, dead cells and food debris accumulate on dental enamel and harden into plaque. Unless removed by an animal teeth cleaning specialist, plaque develops into an even harder substance called calculus that cannot be removed by brushing.
  5. The American Veterinary Dental College warns against using human toothpaste to brush your pet’s teeth because of detergents and abrasives found in human toothpastes that should not be inhaled or swallowed by pets. Pet-specific toothpastes containing safe ingredients are available in meat flavors palatable to dogs and cats.

How Does a Pet Dentist Clean Animal Teeth?

Following a physical examination and blood testing to thoroughly assess an animal’s health, your pet’s mouth is then x-rayed using cutting-edge dental technology that detects problems not readily visible by just looking at the animal’s teeth and gums. For example, oral x-rays allow a pet dentist to see decayed areas between teeth, jawbone damage caused by infections or cysts and tumors developing within the gums. By finding dental issues in their earliest stages, veterinarians can initiate preventive care so that your pet doesn’t suffer from periodontitis or other chronic health conditions.

Pets Getting Their Teeth Cleaned Will Need to Spend a Day in an Animal Hospital

Cleaning an animal’s teeth requires putting the animal to sleep so that it can be done properly while reducing stress for the animal.  Following completion of a dental cleaning procedure, pets are kept for observation for a short time until the vet releases them to their owners.

Does your Dog need a Pet Dentist?

While dental care is an essential part of your dog’s healthcare routine throughout his life, oral care becomes even more important as dogs age. Older dogs may have other health concerns that affect their teeth, such as diabetes, and will need to visit a pet dentist. They may be less active, as well, which can slow their circulation and affect the health of their teeth and gums. Older pets can also be more at risk for infections as their immune systems age.

Why animal teeth cleaning matters

Clean teeth do more than give your dog a bright smile and sweet-smelling breath. A comprehensive veterinary dental cleaning removes plague and stains below the gum line. Preformed under anesthesia, this procedure removes the bacteria that causes dental plague. Left unchecked, this bacteria can damage your dog’s teeth, inflame his gums and lead to serious infections. These infections are not only painful, they can affect your dog’s overall health, as well. The pain of infected teeth can be stressful and hamper your dog’s ability to eat. Bacteria from gum disease can also enter your dog’s bloodstream and affect his heart and other organs. This is particularly hard on older dogs who might not be able to fight off such an infection.

Signs that it’s time for your dog to see the pet dentist

When you take your older dog to the animal hospital for his annual wellness exam, your veterinarian will check his teeth and gums. If there are signs of tartar build up or gingivitis, your veterinarian will most likely recommend a comprehensive dental cleaning. In between checkups, however, there are signs you can watch for that may indicate a problem with your dog’s teeth and gums. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, these signs include:

  • Teeth that look brown or stained
  • Teeth that appear to be loose
  • Bad breath that doesn’t clear up after a bath (sometimes doggy bad breath is caused by a dirty muzzle)
  • Tenderness in and around the mouth
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Shying away when you try to touch his mouth
  • Blood that shows up on pull toys or chew toys after your dog has played with them
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unexplained loss of weight

Concerns about anesthesia

Anesthesia is not without risks, especially for older dogs. For a comprehensive dental cleaning, however, anesthesia must be used. There are two ways that the risk to your pet can be kept at a minimum. At the pet hospital, your veterinarian will most likely recommend a blood panel before your dog’s dental procedure. This will tell the doctor whether or not your pet has underlying medical conditions that might adversely affect how well he tolerates anesthesia. Your pet’s doctor will also use the least amount of anesthesia needed to ensure the safety of his staff and the comfort of your pet.

The Importance of Animal Teeth Cleaning

The Importance of Animal Teeth Cleaning

During your pet’s dental cleaning (scientific name – a prophylaxis), tartar and plaque are cleaned off your pet’s teeth, and the health of your pet’s whole (teeth, gums, tongue, and lips) mouth are evaluated. A pet’s dental exam is a lot different than that of a human. The first thing the veterinarian does at animal teeth cleaning appointment is an oral exam of your pet’s mouth. This provides you with an opportunity to ask any questions and for the veterinarian to get a good look at your pet’s mouth and teeth. Your pet will then have blood drawn to make sure they are healthy enough for general anesthesia.

What to Expect at Your Pet’s Dental Exam

During your pet’s dental cleaning (scientific name – a prophylaxis), tartar and plaque are cleaned off your pet’s teeth, and the health of your pet’s whole (teeth, gums, tongue, and lips) mouth are evaluated. A pet’s dental exam is a lot different than that of a human. The first thing the veterinarian does at the animal hospital is an oral exam of your pet’s mouth.

This provides you with an opportunity to ask any questions and for the pet dentist to get a good look at your pet’s mouth and teeth. Your pet will then have blood drawn to make sure they are healthy enough for general anesthesia. Once your pet has been determined to be healthy, veterinarian will administer the anesthesia.

Once your pet is asleep they are put on a ventilator (breathing machine), to help them breathe and to prevent the inhalation of any bacteria that is dispensed into the air during the cleaning, preventing it from entering your pet’s lungs.

The anesthesia allows the veterinarian and assistant to provide pain free and anxiety free dental care for your pet whether your pet is having a cleaning, digital x-rays, examination or a dental procedure such as, filing a cavity, or extracting a tooth. Your pet will have to stay overnight for observation at the pet hospital, after the exam.

What Does the Pet Dentist Do During the Dental Exam

A pet dental cleaning includes the following:

  • All visible built-up plaque and tartar are removed from the teeth
  • The tartar and plaque is removed from under the gums
  • Digital x-rays (to look for or evaluate any issues underneath the gums
  • The dental sockets are probed to evaluate any dental diseases
  • The teeth are brushed and the enamel is polished to remove any scratches that can attract bacteria
  • Dental sealer or fluoride is applied to your pet’s teeth for extra protection
  • Any dental procedures that need to be done such as, filling a cavity, repairing or removing cracked or infected teeth
  • Your pet’s whole mouth including the tongue and lips are checked for open wounds, abnormal growths, or any other issues, which may or may not be tested or treated during the exam
  • The pet dentist charts everything they found, treated, and things that need to be monitored, so when you bring your pet back to the animal hospital, they medical record is up to date

An animal teeth cleaning is so much more than a quick look in their mouth and a few strokes with of a toothbrush. Untreated infections, cavities, or cracked teeth can affect your pet’s overall health.

University Animal Hospital, is located in the Upper East End of Manhattan, NYC. They offer numerous services for your pet including: animal teeth cleaning, complete animal dental exams, dental procedures, preventive care for your dog or cat, such as immunizations, diagnostic services, surgical procedures, pet boarding, pet grooming (dog grooming and cat grooming.) Chances are if your pet is in need of nearly any type of care University Animal Hospital, is where you should bring your pet first.

February is Dental Month! 10% off all dental cleanings!


February is Pet Dental Health Month!


Receive 10% off your pet’s Dental Health Care in February!

Dental care is more than just a cure for your kitty or pup’s bad breath. Just like people, pets need preventative dental health care to avoid painful problems later in life.

Here are some things to think about while you’re brushing your teeth:

  • More than 8 out of 10 dogs, and 7 out of 10 cats show signs of poor dental health by the age of three.
  • Dental problems in pets as in people can lead to pain, tooth loss, and periodontal disease.
  • Pets’ oral disease invariably progresses with time, as does people’s, and can result in damage to internal organs, including the heart, liver and kidneys.


Poor dental care affects more than just your pet’s mouth. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and damage your pet’s liver, kidneys, lungs and heart. A proper dental care routine can add 3-5 years to your pet’s life.

Call (212) 288-8884 to schedule ‘s appointment. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

University Animal Hospital

(212) 288-8884

354 East 66th Street

New York, NY