Self-Care and Pet Care with Moonshadow Pet Resort: Oral Care | Charleston SC Pet Boarding, Grooming | Pet Hotel in Johns Island, SC | Moonshadow Pet Resort - Charleston SC Pet Boarding, Grooming | Pet Hotel in Johns Island, SC | Moonshadow Pet Resort

Self-Care and Pet Care with Moonshadow Pet Resort: Oral Care

Self-Care and Pet Care with Moonshadow Pet Resort: Oral Care

brushing your pet’s teeth

As we continue our focus on self and pet care, we want to highlight dental care this month. While Charleston’s best doggie day care doesn’t offer dental care on-site, we can offer some tips to keep your pet’s mouth healthy. We also encourage you to schedule a dental visit for your dogs and cats with your vet. You go see your dentist regularly, and your fur baby should, too!

Why is pet dental care important?

You know how humans have all kinds of periodontal diseases that we need to prevent by brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist? Well animals have that, too! Yep. Dog dental disease is a real thing. In fact, according to, “By age 3, over 80 percent of dogs have some form of dental disease.” That’s a high percentage and a young age. The symptoms of dog dental disease include:

  • bad breath (like, worse than usual)
  • loose teeth
  • bleeding gums
  • refusal to eat or drink

Just like in humans, dental disease can affect more parts of the body than just the mouth. Because plaque on your pup’s teeth contains bacteria, it can easily enter his bloodstream and make its way to the kidneys, heart, or liver.

And cats are no different, even though they like to think they are. In fact, their independence and attitude may mask some of the symptoms of dental distress. Because the pain associated with cat dental disease increases slowly, they generally learn to tolerate it and don’t let their humans know they are feeling any discomfort. For cats, it’s important to check their gums to be sure they are pink and healthy looking and to be sure there is no swelling or appearance of ulcers in the backs of their mouths. I don’t know about you, but to me, the idea of looking around in the back of Fluffy’s kitty mouth doesn’t sound pleasant. That’s yet another reason we encourage annual vet visits for mouth checks.

How can we prevent dental disease in our pets?

We humans have long said “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and a similar principle can be applied to our fur kids. Fortunately for them, most of the preventative products available for pet oral care come in the form of tasty treats!

Some of our favorite cat dental treats include:

  • Feline Greenies
  • Dentalife by Purina
  • Dentabites from Whiskas

For pups, we like:

  • Canine Greenies
  • Dentalife by Purina
  • Hill’s Science Diet Canine Oral Care Chews
  • HealthyMouth NutriNeeds

We prefer these brands because they are approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), meaning they have met a standard of effectiveness and gone through clinical trials.

And then there’s the dreaded but essential task of tooth brushing. The good thing is, animal toothpaste companies make great flavors for our pets. What cat wouldn’t enjoy a swath of tuna-flavored paste swishing around their palate? Yeah, we know. It’s the brush and the experience, not the taste that usually makes this process difficult for cats and dogs alike. But here are some helpful tips to take the edge off:

  1. Start when they’re young! If we introduce a habit like brushing teeth when our pets are young, they’re more likely to tolerate it as they get older. No, we’re not saying they will ever enjoy it. We can hope, though!
  2. For smaller mouths, try using a finger brush! These little miracles can be found on the (human) baby aisle and can make life so much easier. Plus, they protect your fingers if kitties and smaller dogs decide to apply toothy pressure during the process. There are also some finger brushes marketed specifically for cats, but they’re the same as the human ones, which are a bit less expensive.
  3. Cradle your furry love so they feel comfortable and safe. While I wouldn’t really want someone cuddling me while I brush my own teeth, this technique can be quite soothing for our multi-legged friends.
  4. NEVER use human toothpaste on your pet. The ingredients can upset their digestive tracts and make them very sick.


What else can I do to care for my pet’s teeth?

We’ve covered the basics, like visiting the vet and brushing at home, but there’s always more you can do. If your vet feels like the front line in dental care isn’t enough, s/he may recommend more specialized products like prescription sprays, drops, wipes, or oral creams. Since they are the professionals in this matter, we at Moonshadow Pet Resort highly recommend relying on their expertise.

Remember, when you use Moonshadow’s Charleston and Johns Island pet boarding or pet sitting services, we are happy to give your dogs and cats their personal treats. Just let us know about their special requirements, and we will serve their needs!

Join us next month as we wrap up our self-care and pet-care series discussing physical exercise. We’ll see you around the yard!

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