The Teeth: Window to your pet’s health


healthy smiles

As a pet owner, you naturally want what is best for the animal members of your family. You know thatnutritious food, bathing, exercise, and regular veterinary checkups are important to ensure that your dog, cat, or other pet lives a long and healthy life. However, you may not realize the importance of caring for your pet's oral hygiene. While most people brush their own teeth twice a day, doing the same for their pet doesn't cross their mind. They simply don't realize that many serious health issues experienced by animals start with lack of attention to the teeth and gums.

Pet Dental Problems are Easy and Inexpensive to Prevent

According to a 2013 study conducted by the veterinary insurance industry, the average cost to treat oral diseases in animals is $532 annually. In contrast, the typical cost to prevent the problem is just $172 per year. This includes regular trips to the veterinarian for oral health checkups as well as treatment at home.

One common reason pet owners give for not brushing their dog or cat's teeth is that the animal won't cooperate. While it's normal for pets to protest, most will learn to accept the procedure if you introduce it gradually and it becomes a normal part of their routine. You can find the right sized toothbrush and appropriate toothpaste from a pet store or from our veterinary clinic.

It's also important to be gentle. Hold your pet on your lap and speak soothing words throughout the process. Since most animals love to please their owners, be sure to offer your pet plenty of praise for any cooperation that you get. Dr. Baillie or any member of his staff is always happy to show you how to get started with an oral hygiene program for your pet.

Possible Consequences of Poor Oral Hygiene

Unfortunately, up to 80 percent of dogs and cats have some form of dental disease by the time they are a young adult. It is critical to schedule a veterinary appointment if you notice one or more of the following problems:

  • •  Blood coming from the mouth.
  • •  Your pet seems hesitant to eat hard food.
  • •  Rubbing or pawing at the mouth and face.
  • •  The teeth are stained brown or the gums appear red or swollen.
  • •  If your dog or cat's breath smells like rotten eggs, this is a clear indication that gum disease has already started.

February is Pet Dental Health Month

Even if your pet is an older adult and you've never cared for his or her teeth, it's not too late to get started. Don't let pet dental health month end without scheduling an oral care appointment with Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo.


Image credit:  Fly Dragonfly |


After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128


Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)