San Jose Pet Parent's Guide

San Jose Pet Parent’s Guide | Five Signs Your Pet Needs a Dental Cleaning

San Jose Pet Parent’s Guide

Brought to you by the veterinarians and staff at Story Road Animal Hospital

Five Tell-Tail Signs Your Pet Dog or Cat Needs Professional Teeth Cleaning

Perhaps your veterinarian has already recommended your pet have a professional teeth cleaning. Maybe you’ve been wondering about the right kind of teeth cleaning or about the dental health products available today. Our veterinarians and staff have put together what we believe are the top five signs your pet’s teeth, gums, and oral health may need some attention.

#1 Bad Breath

Wait. What?

So, “doggie breath” could be more serious than seriously stinky?


Your pet’s mouth should not smell bad, at all. When your pet has a healthy mouth, the normal “good bacteria” keep everything in check.

And there are a bunch of pet dental health products ranging from poultry flavored toothpaste (with safe ingredients so the pet can swallow it because our human toothpaste is toxic to pets) to oral rinses with gooseneck nozzles making it easy to flip the lip, then squeeze and squirt. You can also find a variety of treats and kibble which have been specially formulated to help scrub away plaque before it cements into hard tartar.

Be sure to ask us about the newest pet-specific toothpaste flavors. You might be envious as it’s made only for dogs and cats. Mmmm…peanut butter flavored toothpaste.

#2 Hasn’t been to the vet in a year…or two…or, um, maybe seven

First and foremost, here at Story Road Animal Hospital, our sole purpose for being here is to serve YOU, the people of our San Jose community, through the care of your pets. We will always listen to your concerns, present our recommendation, offer fair pricing, and most importantly, we will never pass judgement. So, please don’t worry or feel embarrassed if your pet has not seen a vet in several years. We are here to help.

#3 You can see yellowish-brown hard material stuck to their teeth

The hard yellowish-brown material that gets stuck to teeth is called tartar. Tartar builds up when an accumulation of bacteria-filled plaque mixes with saliva.

It happens in people, too.

Can you imagine if we saw our dentist only once every seven years, or if we never brushed our teeth? Eeew! Well, that’s similar to what happens with our pets when they skip their annual exam.

Once the tartar has formed, the only way to get it off is with a professional teeth cleaning, here is a link to our web page explaining exactly what we do when our veterinarians recommend your pet have “a dental.”

#4 Red, swollen, or maybe bleeding gums. Ouch!

Did you know our pets are experts at hiding their pain?

It goes way back to the “survival of the fittest” behavior. Animals in the wild learned how to hide their pain and weaknesses for fear of becoming prey or being demoted in their pack’s hierarchy.

This is another reason it’s so important to have your pet examined by a veterinarian at least once per year. You may think everything is fine, because your pet seems to be acting fine, but there could be dental disease hiding in their mouth.

#5 Acting sluggish, sleepy or downright grumpy

We often hear from our clients about pets who have “perked-up” after a dental cleaning.

Some of our clients have said their cats are more active, and their dogs have a renewed love for playing fetch.

The biggest improvement we hear about is that their pets have become friendlier and less grumpy. Again, this goes back to behavior; when animals are in pain, they may act aloof or hide under the bed, under the dining room table, etc., because they don’t understand what pain is – all they know to do is try to hide from whatever it is that is hurting them.

Some pet owners have been able to once again feed dry kibble because the pet is no longer associating the pain with the food.

As always, we’d be delighted to hear from you.

Have you tried any of the pet dental health products? Does your pet have a favorite toothpaste flavor? Do you have any questions about your pet’s teeth or gums?