Looking After Your Pet’s Pearly Whites

From new toys and fancy accessories to sweet treats and nutritious meals, as a nation we spend a lot of cash on our furry-friends. However, what we sometimes neglect is our pet’s dental care.

There are many ways to tell if your pet is suffering from dental neglect. From a dog’s bad breath to a cat’s reluctance to eat, there are plenty of signs to look out for. Here at Asda Money, we’ve looked at some of the main warning signs, as well as top tips on how to prevent dental disease in your pets.

Warning Signs

Generally, it’s quite easy to tell whether your dog or cat has unhealthy teeth, but there are some tell-tale signs to look out for. According to The Kennel Club, dogs could have:

Bleeding Gums: If you notice that your dog’s gums are bleeding lightly over a wide area of the gum, then there’s a chance that it could be something serious, such as gingivitis or periodontal disease. If they’re bleeding heavily, then it’s more likely your pooch has cut their gums on something sharp rather than a disease. If you see that your dog’s gums are bleeding for any reason, then you should take them to the vets as soon as possible.

• Tooth Loss: Tooth loss is quite common in older dogs, so if you have a younger pooch who’s losing teeth, then there could be a problem. If a tooth has just broken off, then they could have eaten or chewed on something hard, so you have to go to the vets immediately to stop the remaining part of the tooth digging further into the dog’s gum. A broken tooth could also lead to a tooth root abscess, which could potentially end up costing a hefty amount to sort at the vets.

• Bad Breath: Many people think that every dog naturally has bad breath. However, this is a common misconception, as bad breath can often mean that the dog is suffering from dental neglect.

According to the National Pet Dental Association, there are many signs of dental diseases in cats too:

Bad Breath: This could be one of the first symptoms you’ll notice, as bad breath can occur due to periodontitis and periodontal disease. This is caused by bacteria forming between the gums and the teeth, resulting in an infection.

Eating: If your cat is refusing to eat, then this could be a warning sign of unhealthy teeth. A cat’s gums and teeth become really sensitive when they have dental problems, meaning they’ll find it painful to eat.

Drooling: When a cat has sore teeth, they tend to try not to put any pressure on their teeth, causing them to often drool.

Pawing: If a cat starts touching their face with their paw, don’t mistake this with cleaning themselves. A cat pawing at its face could mean that they are trying to take something out or away from their mouth.

Other Symptoms: There will also be some obvious signs that your cat has a dental disease, such as yellow deposits around the teeth. You might also spot puss around the gum line, teeth becoming loose or falling out and red and swollen gums.

Video sourced from BanfieldPetHospital


Most dental diseases are preventable, but you’ve got to catch them before it’s too late. There are a few things you can do at home to make sure your pet doesn’t end up with unhealthy teeth:

Brush: Like humans, dogs need their teeth brushing to keep them clean and healthy. Daily brushing would be ideal, but even just three to four times a week will help reduce plaque levels massively. Make sure you use toothpaste or gel that is specifically for dogs and cats, as human toothpaste will severely upset their stomachs. You can even get small toothbrushes designed for pets too. If you’re not sure how to brush your pet’s teeth, then your vet will show you how to do it properly.

• Chews and Dental Sticks: If your pet isn’t a fan of getting their teeth brushed, there are other ways to help them stay pearly white without them even knowing. There are plenty of dental sticks available in supermarkets that will help reduce tartar build up, including Pedigree Dentastix for dogs and Whiskas Dentabites for cats.

• Sprays and Gels: There are also a variety of sprays and gels available to help your pet have a healthier mouth. For example, Petkin Plaque Gel is specially formulated to target plaque and tartar, leaving your pet’s teeth a lot cleaner. Plus, these sprays and gels will also help to freshen your pet’s breath too! Your vet should be able to give you any recommendations for specific
Video sourced from PDSA

Although pet insurance usually doesn’t cover your pet’s dental treatment, pet insurance does generally protect your cat or dog if they damage their teeth during an accident, so you should always make sure they’re covered. If you have any questions about Asda Money Pet Insurance, call us on 0800 181 4904 and we’ll be happy to help.

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