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Top 5 Dental Conditions in Dogs & Cats

Cats and dogs are very dependent on their mouths as a way to eat, play, vocalize and pick up objects. For this reason, their oral health is very important. In this post, our Liberty Lakevet will discuss 5 dental conditions that affect dogs and cats.

Dental Issues

There are many issues that your beloved pet can face but one of the most common issues is with their oral health. Some signs of oral health issues in pets include:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty eating or not eating at all
  • Difficulty picking up toys or food
  • Drooling
  • Plaque build-up on the surface of the teeth
  • Calculi/tartar

We have compiled a list of 5 conditions that affect cats and dogs. This list is not exhaustive which is why we always recommend taking your pet for annual dental exams.


Dogs, cats, and even humans are affected by this condition. You may be familiar with it as gum disease. Gingivitis develops when plaque, a substance primarily composed of bacteria, is allowed to grow unhindered in the mouth, resulting in gum infection. There are several factors that can contribute to this disease, including diet, unclean toys, and misaligned teeth, but oral hygiene is the most important.

With the gums infected there is a risk that the infection can enter the bloodstream leading to illness around the body.

The way to avoid gingivitis is to brush your pet's teeth and routine dental appointments.


Periodontitis is a more severe form of gingivitis. It is the point at which plaque has hardened into tartar and has often extended below the gum line, beginning to penetrate the underlying bone structure. This disease is prevented in the same way that gingivitis is. The main difference is that the structural integrity of the jaw bone has been compromised, potentially necessitating tooth extraction. Your pet's jawbone mass may also deteriorate.


While a pet's diet should be low in sugar, making cavities less common than in their owners, bacteria can still penetrate the enamel and eat away at the tooth.

If you suspect your pet has a cavity please take them to the vet to have it looked at so the issue can be dealt with before it spreads to other teeth.

Oral trauma or fractured tooth

A lot of play involves your pet's mouth which put them at risk of biting down on something and receiving an injury. While pet parents can’t completely stop the issue we can minimize the risk by:

  • Picking toys that are made of materials that shouldn’t damage their teeth.
  • Removing damaged toys that have broken and may have sharp edges.
  • Picking size-appropriate toys to avoid excessive strain on their teeth.

If you see that your dog or cat has an injury in their mouth or has a broken tooth we recommend you speak with your vet as soon as possible.

Oral Tumors

Tumors are frequently classified as benign or malignant. Although benign oral tumors are rarely cancerous, they can cause discomfort in your pet. Malignant tumors are usually cancerous and necessitate immediate treatment due to their life-threatening nature. We recommend that you do not miss your pet's annual wellness exam so that your veterinarian can screen him or her and catch any problems early on for a better chance of treatment.

In Conclusion

The oral health of your pet is critical. If you have the opportunity, we recommend brushing your pet's teeth with pet toothpaste. Some pets will not tolerate having their teeth touched, so consult your veterinarian for any suggestions for keeping your pet's mouth healthy. Do not put off their annual physical or dental exam. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, contact your veterinarian.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog or cat showing signs of dental issues? Contact our Liberty Lake vets today to book an appointment for your pet. Our vets are happy to assist you.

New Patients Welcome

At Legacy Animal Medical Center, we are always accepting new patients! Our veterinary team's experience and passion make all the difference to the patients at our animal medical center in Liberty Lake. Contact us today to book your first appointment.

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