Pet Dental Health

Dental health is closely linked to your pet’s overall health and happiness. Caring for your cat or dog’s dental hygiene can extend the length and improve the quality of your pet’s life. Poor dental hygiene can lead to a number of tooth and gum-related issues, including periodontal disease, gingivitis, tooth decay, broken teeth and abscesses. It can also lead to infections elsewhere in the body, including the liver kidneys and heart.

Periodontal disease is the most common dental problem in both dogs and cats. Most pets will show early indications of the disease by the time they are 3 years old. Signs of dental problems include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Excessive drooling
  • Bad breath
  • Discolored teeth or visible tartar
  • Pain or sensitivity around their mouth
  • Abnormal chewing, such as chewing on one side of the mouth
  • Reduced appetite or refusing to eat

The best way to care for your pet’s health is through regular brushing. Our video shows you how to get your pet accustomed to having their teeth brushed Our technicians can also assist in showing you the proper way to care for your pet’s teeth.

Pets may not cooperate initially, but you can gradually introduce it into their schedule. Daily tooth brushing can help reduce the build-up of tartar, which begins to form in just 24-hours. Be sure you use toothpaste intended for pets as human toothpastes may contain ingredients that are toxic to cats and dogs.

In addition to brushing, there are other products that can assist with dental care, including teeth wipes, dental chews, water additives and kibble specifically geared to improve dental health. Talk to your veterinarian about your options if you are unable to brush your pet’s teeth. Your veterinarian can recommend the products most appropriate for your pet’s situation.



With marijuana now legal in Illinois and many other states, it is important that pet owners be aware of the dangers of marijuana to pets. Marijuana in all forms can be toxic, and possibly even deadly, to pets. Edibles and concentrates can be especially toxic to pets. Marijuana edibles, such as brownies and candy, can have additional toxicity when made with chocolate, raisins, macadamia nuts, sugar-free sweeteners such as xylitol or other foods that are toxic to pets. Second-hand smoke can also be a problem for pets.

What if my pet ingests marijuana?

If a pet ingests marijuana, pet owners should immediately contact their veterinarian or a veterinary emergency center. Gather as much information as possible about what your pet consumed and how much your pet weighs. Do not try to treat them at home, and do not try to get your pet to vomit, unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian as it could make the pet’s condition worse.


Symptoms of marijuana toxicity in pets include:

  • dilated pupils
  • drooling
  • dribbling urine
  • lethargic but easily startled
  • difficulty walking
  • vomiting
  • fluctuating body temperatures.


Preventing pets from accessing marijuana is important. Store all marijuana products out of the reach of pets. This includes keeping all visitors’ coats, purses and bags out of reach. Keep pets on a leash and watch closely any time they are outside, as they may find lost or discarded marijuana on the ground.

Medical marijuana for pets

Occasionally, we will get questions from owners about medical marijuana prescriptions for their pet. Federal law prohibits veterinarians from recommending or prescribing marijuana, in any form, for pets.


Many pet owners ask about the use of CBD, or cannabidiol products for their pets. At this time, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any CBD products for use with animals. The FDA says that it cannot ensure the safety or effectiveness of CBD products for pets, which currently are not regulated for content, quality or safety. One of the concerns from the FDA is that CBD can cause negative side effects or interact with other medications.

Although studies are underway and early indications show that there may be some benefits to CBD use for pets, we do not yet understand the full effect of CBD on pets. Pet owners should talk with their veterinarian before using CBD products for their pet. Your veterinarian can guide you on how to best care for your pets and address any health issues they may have.

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