Pearly Whites and Fresh Breath For Your Pets!



Dental disease is the most common disease we see in pets.  Just like us, our pets require routine dental care to maintain oral health.  Regular professional veterinary dental care is very important to prevent periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss and other health issues such as heart, liver and kidney disease.  Here is some information that you should be aware of:



STAGE /GRADE 1- MILD GINGIVITIS: The gums are inflamed and swollen, and plaque covers your pets teeth. Home dental care is needed. If there is no improvement, dental cleaning is needed to remove current plaque buildup. This disease stage is reversible.

STAGE/GRADE  2- MODERATE GINGIVITIS:  The entire gum is inflamed and swollen. Mouth is painful and odor is noticeable. Dental cleaning to remove calculus is needed within the next month. Home dental care and regular dental cleanings are needed afterward for prevention.  This disease stage is reversible.

STAGE/GRADE  3 – SEVERE GINGIVITIS:  Gums are cherry red and bleeding, damaged by infection and calculus. A sore, painful mouth and bad breath is evident. Dental cleaning and removal of calculus is needed immediately.  This is a very serious stage that can quickly progress to stage four.

STAGE/GRADE 4 –  PERIODONTAL DISEASE:  Chronic infection is destroying the gums, teeth and bone. Bacteria are spreading through the body via bloodstream and may damage the kidneys, liver and heart. Dental treatment is needed immediately. Dental x-rays and oral surgery may be needed as well as extractions due to irreversible bone loss or tooth root abscess. 


Pets are an important part of our lives. Good dental care is essential to extend your pet’s life span and assure a good quality of life. Just like you, your pet needs to

receive daily dental care at home. It is best to begin home care when the puppy or kitten is between 8 and 12 weeks of age; however, it is never too late. The daily

brushing process should be pleasant for both you and your pet. Many pets enjoy the added attention while many owners look forward to the close quality time spent

with their companion animal. The supplies you need are a finger brush and CET pet toothpaste.  Most animals accept brushing very well if they are introduced to the

procedure in a calm and patient way. If you need a demonstration, we will be happy to show you!



Be patient. Take time with the process or your pet may become resistant.

Praise your pet. It’s a new experience and praising your pet will make him or her more receptive.

Reward your pet with treats at the end of each session. Remember, always make it fun!

Stop immediately if your pet shows any signs of aggression. Please call us for advice!

Human toothpaste is for humans and NOT for pets. It is common for human toothpaste to cause stomach problems and even vomiting.

Brushing the teeth at home will decrease the frequency of professional dental care.

Remember, always make it fun!


Make an appointment for a dental exam for your fur baby and find out what stage your pet’s teeth are in! Get those teeth looking and smelling great! If you have  any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us! For your convenience we are open 7 days a week; Monday – Friday from 8 am to 8 pm and on Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm.  


Deciduous what?





One of the most common dental procedures that is performed on our young pets is the removal of retained deciduous canine teeth.  All of our pets have “baby” teeth, but only some of them need to have them removed.  What are they? Dogs and cats, like us, have two sets of teeth that develop during their lives. The first teeth that develop are the deciduous teeth – also known as “baby” teeth.   These teeth are followed at some time by the permanent teeth, or “adult” teeth. 

The deciduous teeth are little replicas of the adult teeth that will come along in the future. However due to the size of the young animal’s mouth, there are not quite as many deciduous teeth in the mouth as there will be in the future.  As cute, and as sharp as they are, the deciduous teeth cannot remain functional in your pet’s life time.  These teeth need to shed and be replaced by the permanent teeth.  The adult teeth start off as tooth buds at the base of the deciduous teeth, and so develop right below the deciduous teeth.  As the permanent teeth start to erupt (emerge from the jaw) they induce resorption of the roots of the deciduous teeth.  When this process is complete the remaining piece of the deciduous tooth falls out of the mouth…….. in most cases.


What problems occur?


Some deciduous teeth for some reason don’t undergo the proper root resorption required for their shedding. This will result in the deciduous teeth still being present with the permanent version of the tooth being erupted as well. This situation is a real problem for a pet. The deciduous tooth is the one in the correct position. However, the adult tooth has had to emerge in an incorrect position.  The problems that occur are twofold:


1) The two teeth are tightly jammed against each other, creating the perfect environment for accumulation of debris and increasing the likelihood of periodontal disease – often resulting in the loss of both teeth.

2) The permanent tooth is in the wrong position therefor causing irregular contact of opposing teeth in the upper and lower jaws.  These issues can be dealt with appropriately by extracting the deciduous tooth and leaving the permanent tooth.

Deciduous teeth can also be fractured. This results in the same issues as a fractured permanent tooth.  However,  the complicating feature with a dead, infected deciduous tooth is that there is a developing permanent tooth at its base, right where the infection of the deciduous tooth is being discharged! Fractured deciduous teeth must be extracted.

For the best results, the extraction of the retained deciduous tooth should occur as soon as it is apparent that it is not going to shed normally and the adult tooth is erupting. This means that if the deciduous tooth is not “wobbly” and any part of the corresponding adult tooth is visible, then the deciduous tooth is removed.   

New canine tooth budding out. The deciduous tooth is behind it.











Once the deciduous tooth is removed and there is still movement of the adult tooth, the adult tooth will preferentially move across into the space left by the now extracted deciduous tooth, into the correct position.  This will ensure your pet to have the best possible chance at having a healthy pain free mouth.  Keeping your pet’s teeth healthy is not an easy task. It takes diligence and time to brush and check on their teeth every day. Even for veterinarians and technicians this can be a chore, but if you make it a part of your regular routine you can save on vet bills and your pet from being in pain. We understand that some pets will not allow brushing and in this case we recommend more frequent dental cleanings and dental products to use at home. If you have further questions about dental health or would like to schedule an appointment, don’t hesitate to call 760-757-2442 or email




Older pets with deciduous teeth still in place will eventually have dental issues if not taken care of right away. Yearly dental cleaning and preventative care is the best medicine for our pets health! 






Some of us love getting wet slobbery kisses or gentle prickly ones from our family pets!  What we don’t like is their bad breath.   Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is generally caused by excessive build-up of odor -producing bacteria inside your pet’s mouth, lungs, or even gut. While most cases of bad breath can be traced back to poor oral hygiene, in some cases, bad breath could be symptomatic of a more serious health problem.  Treating bad breath starts by identifying the cause and taking steps to correct the underlying problem. Other than dental disease, causes of bad breath are oral tumors, tonsillitis, or foreign material in the mouth or voice box area.  Even systemic diseases like kidney disease and diabetes can cause a change in the odor of the breath.

However, bad breath in dogs and cats is most commonly linked to the buildup of bacteria in the mouth due to poor oral hygiene. In fact, bad breath is the most common warning sign of dental disease. Periodontal disease starts out as plaque. Plaque contains bacteria which causes gingivitis. Over time, plaque hardens, forming a substance known as tartar. Plaque and tartar lead to swollen, inflamed gums, along with bad breath.  Abscessed teeth are also common in dogs. These can result from bad periodontal disease, or from a fractured or worn tooth that allows bacteria to move up the canal in the middle of the tooth to the tip where it causes an abscess to form. These abscesses can also cause bad breath.

Love bug Percy is waiting for his teeth cleaning!


The best cure for bad breath is to prevent it before it happens.  In order to best keep your pet’s breath under control, schedule a dental check-up with your pet’s veterinarian.  Veterinary organizations recommend annual dental exams and cleanings for pets.  Brushing teeth is the best way to cut back on tartar buildup and help control bad breath.  Finally, give your pet’s access to safe chew toys. Chew toys not only help reduce your pet’s stress level and eliminate boredom, but these toys can help to reduce tartar buildup. Be sure to use a chew toy approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).  Chew toys that are too soft are a danger because pieces may be swallowed causing an obstruction.  Chew toys that are too hard, such as nylon, bones, and antlers can break teeth.  Rope toys can cause threads to get caught between the teeth.


What’s the Best Way to Treat Bad Breath in Pets?

1. Brush your pet’s teeth daily. Brushing is the best way to keep your pet’s mouth free from bacterial buildup and help control bad breath.

2. Give your pet safe chew toys to gnaw on. The natural process of chewing will help clean your dog’s teeth.

3. Make sure your pet is on a healthy diet. There is one diet, Hill’s T/D that is formulated to help reduce tartar.

4. Schedule regular dental cleanings with your veterinarian.  Be sure your pet has his teeth cleaned at least once every year.  Anesthesia is required to do a good job of evaluating the entire tooth, and dental x-rays are needed to evaluate the        tooth roots and surrounding bone.


If you have noticed your pet has bad breath, is chewing on one side, or it has just been a while since they had a good dental checkup, give us a call!  Doc Talk   Our doctors at Pacific Animal Hospital can thoroughly assess your pet’s teeth and gums.  We will create a treatment plan for you and your pet to ensure they maintain good oral health all year long!


We all love puppy kisses!!!