Pet dental health is very important when it comes to your pets’ wellness. We at Millbrae Pet Hospital want to inform you on how you could keep your pets oral health in tip top shape.

It is ideal that your pet’s teeth are checked at least once a year by a veterinarian. There could be a potential for secondary health related diseases if periodontal disease progresses too much.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is the most common disease found in adult canines and felines. It is a bacterial build up in which it forms plaque. Plaque can then turn into a hard substance when in contact with saliva for a long period of time and become calculus. When the calculus build up gets below the gum line, that is when the bacteria can secrete toxins and damage tissue. This will lead to inflammation and infection. Periodontal disease is highly preventable.

What should I look for?

Pets with periodontal disease can have:

  • Bad breath
  • Tartar buildup
  • Inflammed or swollen gums
  • A change in eating habits
  • Pus coming from the gums
  • Broken teeth

It is important to have a veterinarian examine your pet at least once a year for periodontal disease.

What about “anesthesia-free” dental cleanings?

As humans, we go to the dentist often for cleanings. We understand what is going on and why these things need to happen for healthy teeth. Good dental health and oral hygiene is important for pets as well, however they’re unaware of where they are and why we need to go in their mouths and extensively clean their teeth. This can cause a large amount of stress on the patient. Every canine and feline handles stress in a slightly different manor. Anesthesia-free dental procedures are unable to do a thorough cleaning under the gum line as this may cause a little bit of pain. This could potentially result in injury in either the pet or the technician performing the procedure. The American Veterinary Dental College does NOT recommend non-anesthetic dental cleanings. Anesthesia may sound scary but at this time and age, it is now more safe than it ever was. Your veterinarian will do a full screening to make sure that it is safe for your pet to go under anesthesia.

What can I do to prevent periodontal disease?

Regular brushing with a pet friendly enzymatic toothpaste and a specially made toothbrush for pets is highly recommended to prevent bacteria build up. A little trick to save money is to go to a local discount store and get children’s toothbrushes as these can fit into a dog or cats mouth. Only use toothpaste that is specifically made for dogs or cats as human toothpaste may contain harmful ingredients. Fluoride is an irritant for the canine and feline gastrointestinal system; you will be seeing a lot of vomiting and diarrhea. A large amount of fluoride ingested can cause heart arrhythmias and hypotension.

If you have any questions on dental procedures or would like to have a veterinarian take a look at your pet’s teeth, contact us at Millbrae Pet Hospital 650.583.1500


  1. American Veterinary Dental College: Periodontal disease https://www.avdc.org/periodontaldisease.html
  2. ASPCA Poison Control: Common vitamins and pet toxicities https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/common-vitamins-and-pet-toxicities
  3. California Veterinary Medical Association: National Pet Dental Health Month https://cvma.net/publications/press-releases/national-pet-dental-health-month/