Dragon breath –  we’ve all had a whiff of this cringe-worthy olfactory sensation somewhere somehow, but truth be told, smelly pet breath is usually a sign of dental disease and an issue we’ll have to stick our noses into.

A sad statistic is that 3 out of 4 pets over the age of 3 years and 80% of dogs over the age of 2 suffer from bad breath due to dental / gum disease and it’s terribly devastating, I know. 

However, dental disease is generally easy to manage and winning this war is absolutely doable. Needless to say it’s our pet-parental responsibility to keep those teeth trolls at bay along with dental disease away.

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As with humans, tooth problems in pets can cause serious pain.

Our pets generally don’t show any outward signs, since they suck it up and stick it out.

But underneath the silent dental anguish, what starts off as just a little tartar build-up and gingivitis can very well lead to horrendous infections that can damage the heart, liver and kidneys to vets performing a full mouth extraction (a very long and expensive operation)! Furry Guacamole!

So bottomline – signs or no signs – if their pearly whites aren’t properly cared for, it could most definitely lead to grievous consequences and ain’t nobody got time for that.

Take your pet for an annual dental check up, sommer when they go for their vaccinations. Small breed / older dogs may need more regular checks though, as they do have a higher risk of dental disease.

General anaesthesia is going to be necessary when doing dental scaling on pets to keep those busy bodies still, so that your vet can have a really good and close look at your fur-baby’s teeth. They’ll remove calculus, tartar, take out dead tissue or infected teeth –  depending on your pet’s dental situation.

And then in the case of senior pets, most vets will do blood tests before an anaesthetic to make sure there aren’t any underlying health issues that could make it risky for them. So you, your pet and their enamels are forever and always in very safe hands.

A regular brush honestly goes such a long way and is a magnificent way to prevent oral nightmares. A daily brush is the best, but luckily this isn’t Las Vegas and brushing is not an all or nothing situation –  every bit helps and every brush counts. You’re only required to brush the outside of their teeth, since their tongues are anatomically responsible for brushing the insides. Boom, half the work has already been done.

You’ll need a pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste too. FINGER TOOTHBRUSHES are steller to tackle tiny mouths and is easy to use, fast and totally worthwhile. If you’re in the market for something more snazzy, the TROPICLEAN TRIPLEFLEX TOOTHBRUSH boasts 360° bristles to clean 3x times faster than a normal pet toothbrush. I know right – mind blown. 

However, if you have a big canine and a gigantic dental cave to cover, then the PETDENT TOOTHBRUSH flaunts that glorious long handle to reach all those cuspids effectively.

Not used to a brush? You can simply start by rubbing their gums with a facecloth. Once they are used to the sensation you can introduce a brush. The sooner the better please, even though puppies lose their baby teeth, the training will do wonders later down the road.

In regards to toothpaste – I personally love using the PETDENT TOOTHPASTE, because my pet adores the taste. If you have a rebel on your hands that REALLY hates dental time, remember to reward them with a dental chew treat or some serious TLC after brushing.

NOTE - never ever use human toothpaste as it contains fluoride that can be harmful to our four-legged loved ones.

Provide your pets with additional protection / cleaning and use an ORAL RINSE and ORAL GEL (in that order) after brushing.

If brushing pet teeth is not a talent you’re comfortable taking to the Olympics, try a squirt of oral rinse in their mouths each day after breakfast / supper with a weekly gel treatment of course. It helps slow down the onset of dental disease and is most certainly better than doing nothing. OROVET rinse is all the rage and definitely worth a try.

A mere capful of FRESH BREATH WATER ADDITIVE added to water bowls in the morning cleans your pet’s teeth and keeps breath fresh for up to 12 hours too. Just saying, these cool products indeed do exist.

AND another honourable alternative is the magnificent PETDENT DENTA BIO. It’s a chicken flavoured probiotic dental supplement that improves oral malodour, gingivitis, dental plaque, supports overall oral health and is also a comprehensive nutritional supplement for the treatment of periodontal disease. SJOE! So many words, but so many benefits too –  incredible!

Hard and rubbery chew toys are the way to go for dogs. Buy size appropriate toys like the MINI DENTAL CHEW PACK for SMALL DOGS or the ORKA TRIPLE LINKS for LARGER DOGS. You cannot go wrong with ROPE TOYS either, let’s call it the floss effect, why don’t we.

And then there’s the long lasting and colourful CHEW TOY range for cats that are great to sink kitty fangs into. These cat toys are also infused with catnip / mint –  meaning your cat simply won’t be able to resist cleaning their teeth during an afternoon play session.

Treat your pet after din-din with a refreshing DOG or CAT dental treat for dessert.
Just remember NOT ALL dental chews are low calorie treats, so over-feeding in a dire attempt to freshen up their breath is probably the worst idea ever. Moderation is key – always.

NOTE - stay away from bones, cow/pig hooves and rawhide! Raw or cooked, it can cause obstruction in your pet’s gut and break their teeth too. JUST NO.

Exfoliate pet teeth and prevent tartar from forming on those pet ivories with specially shaped kibbles made with extra special dental care ingredients.

Great choices include ROYAL CANIN ORAL SENSITIVE for cats, as well as the entire EUKANUBA range for dogs. Definitely chat to your vet about special dental diets if your pet continues to have dental issues.


Life is busy, I know. But when we adopt our four-legged children, our priorities simply MUST change – especially if they’re sleeping in our beds! Cough cough.

Dental health is non-negotiable, so in a nutshell: Consider an annual dental check, brush their teeth once a week, add a squirt of oral rinse here and there, provide them with a dental chew for dessert, dental toys for play and dental appropriate food for dinner. All tips and products will help ensure for radiant smiles, fresh breath and healthy bodies. Good luck and enjoy!

Comine du Toit
Animal lover and cat fanatic, Comine du Toit is a Freelance Copywriter at ePETstore in South Africa. She is a mom to a very energetic Sphynx, and the godmother to a clowder of cats, a kennel of dogs as well as a flock of geese. She's a firm believer that pets are family.
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Thandeka Dingiswayo
Thandeka Dingiswayo
Wednesday 12th October 2016

Thank you, this is very helpful.

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