The Importance of a Dog and Cat’s Dental Health and Hygiene

February is officially designated as dental health month in the pet ecosystem.  The idea is to create awareness of the importance of dental health for both dogs and cats.  Proper dental health is not only about maintaining a pet’s teeth, but can also help to prevent other health issues.

Most veterinarians will have a look at a pet’s teeth during an annual visit, but pet parents can take a proactive approach to improve and monitor their pets’ dental health.  In addition, your store can capitalize on this month by not only educating pet parents on its importance, but having dental health and hygiene items highlighted and throughout the month.

There are many ways pet parents can check their dog and cats’ overall dental health:

Pet parents can take a quick smell of their dog or cat’s breath for anything unusual

While most pet owners might not find it fun or appealing, a dog or cat’s breath is indicative of a pet’s health.  Their breath should not be offensive or have any type of abnormally strong odor.   It likely won’t smell like roses, but should not smell like “decay.”

If a dog or cat’s beath does smell bad, it could be indicative of a gum condition called gingivitis.  Or even a digestive issue or problem.   If this is the case, pet parents should take their dog or cat to the vet for a thorough exam.

A dog or cat’s gums should be examined for issues

With their dog or cat facing them, pet parents should push back the dog or cat’s lips and take a quick look.  A pets’ gums should be pink and firm, not red or white and should not show any signs of swelling.  They should look very close to our human gums.  Their dog or cat’s teeth should be clean and none of their teeth should be loose.

Pet owners should look out for tooth decay (discoloring) in their dog or cat’s mouth

There are different forms of bacteria and plaque-forming food that can build up on a dog or cat’s teeth.  This can become tartar which can potentially cause gingivitis or tooth loss.  If a dog or cat’s teeth are discolored, pet parents are encouraged to start brushing their pets’ teeth with to help get rid of the decay.

Does anything look unusual in their dog and cat’s mouths?

If pet parents see anything unusual in their dog and cat’s mouths such as the following, they should take their pets to the vet: dark red lines along the pet’s gums, pus or extreme amount of saliva, loose teeth, or any discoloration.  The same should occur if their pets are pawing at their mouths, have difficulty chewing or are drooling excessively.

Supplies that stores can have on display this month

As pet parents are much more aware of the importance of dental health, your store can also have a special dental display section with the following items this month:

Have toothbrushes and pet toothpaste on display

While not all pets love it, it is recommended that pet owners brush their cat or dog’s teeth.  By providing them with a small pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste, they can brush their dogs’ teeth quickly and efficiently.  Most cats aren’t a big fan of brushing, but some pet retailers have kitty dental floss that can help.

Chew toys are great to keep a dog and cat’s teeth strong

As many pet parents know, chew toys are a great way to keep their dog and cats occupied.  Chew toys can also help strengthen a pet’s teeth, massage their gums and scrape away the soft tartar.  A win-win for both you and the pet parents.

Dog, cat food and dental chews can help prevent tartar build up

If your store doesn’t carry any, you might consider having pet food that helps prevent tartar build up.  There are many different types on the market now due to the awareness of dental health for pets.  When pet parents implement this kind of food or even a daily pet wipe to remove the dog or cat’s tartar, it can help prevent dental issues for their pets.

While February is dental health month, it is always helpful to have some dental products, chew toys and toothbrushes on hand all year round.

If you need help with answering your customers’ questions about the importance of pet dental health or any other pet related matter, our agents can help.  Make sure to contact our success team ( to learn more about this service.