Can Pets Get Cavities?

As humans, we know it’s not too uncommon for people to develop cavities; however, what about pets? Although it is certainly less common in pets than in people, cavities can also develop in our pets. Cavities may appear as erosions in the enamel of the teeth that may lead to pain and discomfort and dental decay. While cavities may be diagnosed with a direct visual exam, it is often recommended to have dental X-rays as well to define the extent of involvement of the root of the tooth.

As with humans, pets’ cavities may be filled with various types of amalgams; however, this service is often not provided by the general veterinary practitioner, and so referral to a veterinary specialty dentist is often needed to have these cavities repaired.

Following correction of the cavity, thorough dental hygiene is encouraged by using dental products such as CET pet toothpaste or CET dental rinse to help keep bacteria levels down, and tartar buildup at a minimum. February is National Pet Dental Health Month and is a great reminder to maintain your pet’s oral health. For additional information on dental health tips and solutions for pets, visit the resources below:

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9 Comments

  1. Cavities are not common in dogs. When present, they usually form at the gum line and are related to periodontal disease. They can also occur on the crown of a molar. They appear as a black spot on the tooth. Cavities are painful and eventually lead to root abscesses.

    Cairns Vet

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianOctober 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm · Reply

      Thanks for sharing. Cavities are common and can be prevented ideally with good dental hygiene program, as well as treated if they develop .

  2. As a Dentist myself, I’ve gotta say that yes they can get cavities but it’s actually pretty rate. Usually it’s just like the other guy said, they start in the gum line and turn into periodontal disease. Go grab some flavored meaty toothpaste for the dog that is healthy so they let you brush their teeth more often. If you do happen to get a dog with the decay and disease already, you will need to discuss with a vet a good dental plan.

  3. Hi Dr. Dym,

    Those products you’ve mentioned would be great to start on right after a good teeth cleaning. Not much can be done until the tartar is removed and the gums are no longer swollen or infected.

    I’m glad you wrote this article because not many people are aware of the need to get their cat or dog’s teeth cleaned on a regular basis.

    They really don’t take pet dental care seriously at all.

    As a result, a lot of cats and dogs are walking around with gum disease.

    The public is generally unaware of tooth and gum care for their pets, so greater awareness is sorely needed.

    Vets are a good avenue for creating better public awareness and some do a great job of giving out brochures and talking about it to their clients.

    Even so, not all vets do that. It would be helpful to the pets if more of them would be proactive in providing general dental education to their clients.

    Perhaps the AVMA could play a leading role? Are there other avenues to increase public awareness?

    =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

    • Dr. Michael Dym, VMD veterinarianJanuary 1, 2013 at 11:41 am · Reply

      National pet dental month, which comes up in February, is a great time of year for organizations and veterinarians to raise awareness and education on the important issue of dental health care in dogs and cats. It is a great time of year to have pets teeth cleaned, if needed. Unfortunately many vetererinarians charge LARGE sums of money for dentals, which do discourage many people in today’s economy. At the clinic I work at, a routine dental with anesthesia can cost $150.00 to $200.00, while in other hospitals, dentals can cost several hundred to even over one thousand dollars. Anesthesia free dentals are another option performed by many across the country, and is an option in cases that are not too severe.

  4. Hi Dr. Dym,

    National pet dental month would indeed be an idea time to raise teeth and gum health awareness.

    Thank you,

    =^..^= Hairless Cat Girl =^..^=

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  6. Thank you for sharing nice thoughts and suggestion about pets.

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