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Dental health concerns for senior dogs and cats

Amy Holloway

As part of our Senior Pet Month, we’re sharing advice on how to care for your ageing dogs and cats, so let’s talk teeth…

As dogs and cats get older, their dental health is usually on the decline. Whether you’ve been sticking to a consistent home care routine or not, or they’ve had a scale and polish at some point already, it’s likely that as they enter their senior years your pet may need a little extra help.

Dental problems typically start with a build-up of plaque (a sticky pale yellow substance) on the teeth, which then becomes tartar (solid brown coating) if not removed. Left untreated, this can cause gingivitis and gum (Periodontal) disease, and can even affect your pet’s organs, with infections of the kidneys, heart, and lungs.

Signs of poor dental health – check your cat or dog for:

  • Buildup of plaque and tartar
  • Exceptionally smelly breath
  • Red / swollen / bleeding gums
  • Broken or misaligned teeth
  • Holes in the teeth (typically with cats)
  • Loss of appetite or difficulty eating
  • Grumpier than normal, especially if you touch their head or mouth


Want to know what periodontal disease looks like? Pop over to our Facebook page later today for some photos of dogs’ teeth at varying stages of the disease. You might then recognise some of the signs in your dog, or cat. Below are what normal, healthy teeth and gums look like with just a bit of plaque, which can be removed fairly easily at home.


normal healthy teeth and gums of a dog


Dental health problems for any pet will be painful and uncomfortable, so it’s important not to ignore them, would you ignore toothache?

For cats and dogs, home care such as daily brushing, regular checks, and dental aids (topical aids that go on foods and in water, dental chews & toys), is the best way to keep teeth and gums healthy for longer. However, it may not always be enough, and those hard to reach places around the back of the teeth especially will need attention too.

If you’re concerned about your cat or dog’s dental health, book your pet in for a Dental Checkup with our experienced vets who will talk you through the options available to improve your pet’s dental health. Why not check out our doggy dental homecare tips infographic?

This is Ted the miniature dachshund before and after his dental treatment:


Ted the miniature dachshund before dental treatmentAFTER:

Ted the miniature dachshund after veterinary dental treatment


Dental problems don’t go away on their own, they get worse. Call us on 01527 889810.

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