Recommended Dental Schedule for Pets

Dog and Cat Dental Health is Serious

A cat or dog’s bad breath is typically the butt of jokes, but in our experience, it’s no laughing matter.  Bad breath in pets isn’t because they had extra garlic on their pizza.  It’s because they have an active, oral infection.  Because pet dentistry is relatively new in veterinary medicine, some clients brush it off as unimportant.  On the contrary, the medical team at Animal Medical sees the impact of dental disease and infection nearly on a daily basis.  Here are some facts about bad oral health that we have learned over the years from working so closely with our patients.

The Facts About Dental Disease in Pets

  • Patients that come to us with clean, healthy mouths rarely have any systemic disease. Though we don’t have any statistics, it appears that a healthy mouth= a healthy body. Author Mary Berg, VTS, has more specific information on how oral disease increases systemic disease in dogs and cats.
  • Patients with moderate to advanced dental disease feel constant pain. We actually see this during oral exams.  Even when these oral disease patients are under anesthesia they can show pain response.
  • Patients with moderate to advanced dental disease have difficulty chewing. Watch your pet eat. Dropping food out of its mouth as it chews is often a sign of oral pain associated with dental disease
  • Patients with advanced dental disease are much more likely to suffer from kidney and other major organ diseases
  • Patients with advanced dental disease are more lethargic and appear less healthy
  • Patients with advanced dental disease can have higher than normal white cell counts, indicating infection throughout the body.

Even with brushing, dental disease in all cats and dogs is inevitable.  Regular cleanings not only ensure your pet will live longer and healthier, but they are shorter, safer and more affordable than waiting until your pet has an active oral infection.  To help you prepare for a life time of oral care for you pet, here is a oral health schedule

Dental Plan and Schedule for Dogs and Cats

Breed/SpeciesAgePlan
All species and breedsJuvenile to 3 years of ageDaily brushing along with oral treats and chews
Cats3 years and every year of lifeAnnual oral health check
Cats5 yearsMost cats require preventative dental care by 5 years of age if clients have been compliant with brushing and oral treats.   Other cats require a brief annual cleaning each year starting at age 3
Small Breed Dogs3 yearsEven with regular brushing, most small breed dogs are ready for their first annual cleaning at age 3
Medium Sized Dogs4 yearsMost medium-size breed dogs need their teeth cleaned by age 4
Large Breed Dogs4 yearThough large breed dogs can self-clean their teeth with the use of hard, veterinary approved dental treats, they can also wear down their teeth with chronic rock chewing and other bad habits. All large breed dogs need oral health assessments and cleanings by age 4.