Your pet explores the environment through their mouths. That means that most things they encounter touch their teeth and gums. With the right plan, dental for dogs and cats can help them live longer and give you peace of mind as they examine the world around them.

Let our veterinarian in Las Vegas look out for your pet’s oral health. Learn more about what to look for and how we can help you brush up on pet oral hygiene in and out of our clinic. 

Why Is Dental Care for Dogs and Cats Important?

Your pet uses their teeth, tongue, and mouth to do more than eat their food. In fact, for your cat or dog, the mouth serves as a means of protection and social expression. Your dog shows their affection through licking, and cats groom themselves and each other with their tongues. Without teeth, it’s difficult for animals to eat dry food or protect themselves. They also rely on their mouths to play, vocalize, and express their curiosity.

Our veterinary dentist performs a dental examination that tells us a lot about your pet’s general health and well-being. With routine dental cleanings and good at-home oral care, your pet can avoid potentially dangerous infections and tooth loss.

What Is a Veterinary Dentist?

A veterinary dentist maintains your pet’s oral health. This specialty requires extensive knowledge beyond general veterinary medicine. Therefore, a vet dentist must have in-depth knowledge of pharmacology, dental anatomy, pathology, anesthesiology, neurology, physiology, and radiology.

Here are some of the major services performed by our veterinary dentists:

  • Pet dental exams
  • Teeth cleaning for cats and dogs
  • Fillings and tooth extraction
  • Oral Surger
  • Treating periodontist disease

Pet dental cleanings can help you avoid extensive dental work for your pet and preserve their natural smiles.

What Is a Pet Dental Cleaning?

We recommend you bring your pet in for a veterinary dental cleaning at least once a year. During the dental cleaning, the vet removes tartar and plaque to help prevent gum disease and other conditions that can jeopardize your cat’s or dog’s health. Before beginning the procedure, we examine the gums, tongue, teeth, and lips to assess any potential problems.

Because most pets don’t react well to having their mouths poked or prodded, the procedure requires general anesthesia. Besides waking up a little groggy, your pet won’t remember the procedure. This is less stressful for them and allows the dental veterinarian to focus on removing plaque and tartar instead of calming your pet.

Once the anesthesia takes effect, we place a soft tube down the main airway to maintain normal breathing. It also prevents your pet from inhaling or swallowing potentially dangerous bacteria released during the cleaning.

A comprehensive dental cleaning involves several steps, including the following:

  • Removal of plaque and tartar from teeth
  • Under the gum cleaning
  • Examination of any dental sockets
  • Polishing enamel to diminish scratches that collect bacteria
  • X-rays to evaluate bone health
  • Application of dental sealer
  • Extraction of badly infected teeth
  • Repair of damaged teeth
  • Complete examination of the gums, teeth, mouth roof, and tongue

a dog and a cat sleeping together

Tips for At-Home Cat Oral Care

Your cat may not allow you to perform all these tasks, but do what you can to promote good feline oral health:

  • Brush your cat’s teeth to prevent tartar buildup.
  • Feed them dry food recommended by the pet dentist.
  • Use dental treats to keep their teeth cleaner.
  • Treat their water with a plaque-busting oral rinse.
  • Visit the vet regularly to check your cat’s oral health.

Tips for At-Home Dog Oral Care

You can also care for your dog’s teeth at home. Here are a few tips to promote healthier teeth for your canine:

  • Brush your dog’s teeth.
  • Use doggie dental wipes to clean their teeth.
  • Stock up on dental treats for dogs to improve your dog’s oral health.
  • Choose dog chews with teeth-cleaning properties.

Brushing your dog’s or cat’s teeth is the best way to remove food, plaque, and tartar. However, it’s also one of the toughest ways to practice oral care for your pets at home. Fortunately, there are many other options to keep their teeth cleaner and their breath fresher.

Let’s take a look at the top conditions that result in oral health issues for your animals.

Top Oral Health Issues for Dogs

Here are a few conditions that can affect your pet’s dental health. We treat these and other conditions with exams, pet clinics, and customized care:

  • Periodontitis, cavity, or abscess
  • Oral trauma or fractured tooth
  • Gingivitis (gum disease)
  • Deciduous teeth
  • Benign oral tumor

Most Common Cat Dental Conditions

Cats and dogs share some of the most common dental problems. The most prevalent dental problems for cats include the following:

  • Periodontitis, cavity, or abscess
  • Oral trauma or fractured tooth
  • Gingivitis (gum disease)
  • Tooth resorption
  • Ulcerative stomatitis


Periodontitis is a severe gum disease. It differs from gingivitis, which describes the beginning stage of gum disease in your pet. This is the number one issue for cats and dogs we see at our veterinary clinic in Las Vegas.

Tooth Infections, Cavities and Abscesses

If you develop an infection, it’s probably due to advanced gum disease. The same holds true of your pet’s oral health. Cavities, tooth infections, and abscesses cause great pain and diminish your cat or dog’s quality of life. Maintain checkups twice a year and follow the tips above and the advice of our dental veterinarian.

Oral Trauma for Cats and Dogs

As discussed, pets use their mouths to explore their environment. Unfortunately, this sometimes has unhappy consequences. Suppose your pet fractures a tooth or develops lacerations in their mouth. In that case, it’s best to bring them in for an exam to determine whether they require immediate dental care.

Benign Oral Tumor

Our veterinary dentist also treats benign oral tumors. Tumors that form inside your cat or dog’s mouth can interfere with your pet’s ability to eat normally. Therefore, we recommend removing both cancerous and non-cancerous oral tumors, when possible.

Malignant Oral Tumor

As part of our proactive approach to professional dental care for your pet, we also perform surgeries to remove all or part of malignant oral tumors. These tumors often grow aggressively, creating challenges for pets who like to explore their environment with their mouths. Depending on their location, malignant oral tumors may make it difficult to eat and vocalize.

Tooth Resorption

Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs) form at the base of your cat’s tooth. This condition rarely presents itself in dogs. Our veterinarian in Las Vegas can treat various stages of this condition. Additionally, we’ll do what we can to save the impacted tooth.

Ulcerative Stomatitis

Your cat or dog can also develop ulcerative stomatitis. When the mucus lining in the mouth becomes inflamed, it can worsen gingivitis and similar conditions. It’s important to treat this condition as quickly as possible to prevent pain and the inability to grow or socialize.

Trusted Dental Care for Dogs and Cats in Las Vegas, NV

Southwest Animal Hospital faithfully serves customers in Las Vegas, NV.

Our other services include:

  • Surgery
  • Vaccinations and Microchipping
  • Wellness Exams
  • Boarding
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Grooming

Contact Southwest Animal Hospital today to set up an appointment with our Las Vegas vet dentist.

a happy dog wearing a Elizabethan collar for protection