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Dental Care is Wellness Care

Katy Pet Wellness Solutions

February 2023

February has long been celebrated as Pet Dental Health Month, though in the past several years, it has not been celebrated as much and often doesn’t get the attention it needs. Dental care is something that is important to be aware of all year long, it’s a good reminder to keep dental health at the forefront of pet care because focusing on our pets’ dental health is just as important as proper nutrition and regular preventative veterinary care.

According to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), dental disease is the number one problem affecting our pets.1 Dental disease affects up to 90% of pets.2 By age 2, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of dental disease.3 Based on this information, it’s important to maintain proper dental hygiene for our pets and do what we can to address current problems and prevent disease progression.

Dental disease, more accurately called periodontal disease, is progressive. That means it gets worse over time. Periodontal disease is classified into four stages. Only grade 1 periodontal disease, which is classified by gingivitis, is reversible.3 Once the disease has progressed beyond stage one, permanent irreversible damage has occurred and while it can be treated to reduce infection and stop progression, certain changes cannot be reversed. Additionally, dental disease is not limited to bad breath and loose, painful teeth. Harmful bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the inflamed gums, circulate through the body, and cause damage to internal organs like the heart, liver, and kidneys.

Home care is the primary way to prevent periodontal disease. Just like with humans, cats and dogs need their teeth brushed daily. There are also a number of dental products which can help reduce plaque and tartar and in fact, the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) has published lists of approved pet dental products which have proven to be effective in addressing these conditions.

Treats and brushing do not replace routine veterinary care, so discussing your pet’s dental health with your vet is of utmost importance. Your vet can tell you if your pet’s dental health has progressed to grade 1 or beyond which indicates the need for Complete Oral Health Assessment and Treatment (COHAT).3 That basically means your pet will need a thorough examination of each tooth to assess its health as well as a professional scaling, polish, and fluoride treatment under anesthesia. Based on the condition of the individual teeth, some extractions may be needed. Your pet may also need additional medications like antibiotics to address infection in the mouth.

Talk to your vet today if you have questions about your pet’s dental health and ways you can address it at home or through treatments in clinic. Remember, daily dental care is part of overall wellness care and can have a big impact on keeping your pet happy and healthy.

For help selecting VOHC accepted treats visit the links below:

VOHC Accepted Treats for Cats

VOHC Accepted Treats for Dogs

1. [Draft #7] Kenes - #5 Brook Niemiec & Kymberley Stewart Global Dental Guidelines Committee Video. (2018). Retrieved February 1, 2023, from

2. World Small Animal Veterinary Association Global Dental Committee . (n.d.). Introducing Tooth Brushing - Client Handout.

3. Berg, BS, RLATG, RVT, VTS (Dentistry), M. (n.d.). Dental Authority Certification Program. C.E.T Dental Ambassador. Retrieved January 11, 2023, from

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