Skip to content

Dental Care

Dental care is one of the most effective ways to prolong your pet’s life and prevent the chronic discomfort that accompanies dental disease. Your pet needs dental care to prevent problems. Those pets that receive routine dental care have been known to have fewer heart, lung, kidney, and liver problems as they mature, as well as nicer breath!

Dental Hygiene

Cats and Dogs seldom develop tooth cavities, as humans do. However, the cat and dog are not without a major dental problem! In fact, the most common dental problem that we find in pets is considered far worse than cavities! It is called “PERIODONTAL DISEASE.” This disease affects the gums and other tissues around the teeth, instead of the teeth themselves.

About 75% of all dental problems serious enough to be seen by a veterinarian, (and almost all teeth lost), are the result of periodontal disease. It is the cause of 95% of all cases of “bad breath.” In advanced cases, it results in infected, foul-smelling, loosened teeth; with a massive, unsightly accumulation of tartar. Often there is a loss of appetite due to painful gums. Even signs such as diarrhea, vomiting and irritability may be the result of this disease.

Food material, bacteria, and saliva accumulate and adhere to the tooth surface, forming a soft “plaque.” This material can be easily removed at this point. However, if buildup is allowed to continue, it becomes hard and “chalk-like” from its mineral content. The tartar buildup causes erosion of the gums, with subsequent inflammation and infection of the tooth socket. The teeth then become loose and may even fall out. The gums become reddened, swollen, and bleed easily and often salivate excessively from the associated pain.

The buildup of this material allows bacteria to constantly grow in the infected mouth tissue. These bacteria may enter the bloodstream through the bleeding gums; and cause such problems as: heart valve infections (endocarditis) and kidney infections (nephritis).

This condition becomes very painful, as well as causing it to be unpleasant due to the bad mouth odor.

Rapid buildup of tartar is PRIMARILY due to ACIDITY of the saliva—not what pet eats! The more acid in the saliva—the quicker the buildup of plaque.


Did you know over 70% of dogs and cats show signs of oral and dental disease by the age of 3, making it the most common disease of cats and dogs?

Consequences of dental disease

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Oral pain
  • Abscessed teeth
  • Tooth loss
  • Decreased appetite/ weight loss
  • Chronic infections that can spread to the heart, liver, lungs and kidneys

Dental Home Care

The most important aspect of dental care is daily brushing of the teeth with an enzymatic toothpaste for pets.

In addition to brushing teeth you can:

  • Apply C.E.T. Oral Rinse to the teeth and gums daily
  • Use C.E.T. rawhide chews
  • Add C.E.T. AquaDent to the water
  • Feed Prescription Diet t/d or use as a daily treat. (Give 5-10 pieces daily as a treat.)

All of these products are available at Canfel Care, so come by today to get more info!

Dental Cleanings and Oral Surgery

Many pets need their first dental cleaning by age two and, in some cases, will need a dental cleaning each year. If consistent dental home care is provided, fewer dental cleanings will be needed. We encourage pet owners to start their pets on a home care regimen as soon as possible to prevent future routine cleanings and oral surgery.

What is included in a dental cleaning?

  • Full oral exam
  • Ultrasonic scaling/cleaning of all tooth surfaces
  • Root planing
  • Polishing
  • Fluoride treatment

Since dental cleanings must be performed under general anesthesia, how do we limit anesthetic risk?

  • Pre-anesthetic blood work
  • A thorough physical exam with your veterinarian prior to the procedure to assess the overall health of your pet
  • Using the newest and safest anesthetic drugs tailored to your pet’s individual needs
  • Veterinarian and/or experienced technician monitoring anesthesia including:
    • Heart rate
    • Respiratory rate
    • Pulse oxygenation

During your pet’s anesthetic recovery, a technician is by their side monitoring their temperature, heart rate, any signs of pain if extractions were performed, and the need for additional mild sedatives or pain management if your pet shows any signs of anxiety during his/her recovery.

What additional steps are taken should your pet need extractions/oral surgery?

  • Injectable pain medications are given after extractions.
  • Injectable antibiotics are given after the extraction.
  • When extracting teeth with 2 or 3 roots, the tooth is sectioned into 2-3 pieces, then removed. After removal, the deficit is flushed with an oral rinse. In some cases, sutures may be needed to close the deficit.
  • During your pet’s recovery you will be treating with antibiotics, pain medications, and feeding soft food.

The Good News

Follow these tips for good oral hygiene

  1. Feed at least some hard food, which will provide a cleaning action.
  2. Have teeth examined at least once every year for tartar buildup. Pets vary considerably in the amount of tartar that accumulates.
  3. Use a pet dentifrice on a regular basis. We will be happy to recommend what is best for your pet. Chews and pet toothpaste are available for both dogs and cats.