Does my pet have dental caries?

In humans, it’s common to have dental caries, but what about dogs and cats? Can they also have dental caries? To answer this question, we must first understand how dental caries form.

Caries formation

To begin with, dental caries come from bacteria found in dental plaque. They are formed in three stages. The first stage does not create discomfort and only affects the enamel of the tooth, that is to say the outer, hard layer, which covers the tooth and protects it. The second stage is a little more painful and involves dentin, in other words, the substance that makes up the tooth. The third and most painful stage is when the infection affects the dental pulp where the blood vessels and nerves of the tooth are located. At this stage, if left unchecked, the dental carie can damage elsewhere in the mouth, that is, to ligaments, bones and gum tissue.

Dental caries are formed by bacteria that love and produce acid from the sugars in the foods we eat. From a young age, we learn that it is important to brush our teeth well in order to avoid dental caries. As for our food, we find a lot of sour and sweet products. This is also why it is necessary to limit the consumption of products of this nature, since this contributes to the formation of dental caries.

Is it the same with animals?

The formation of dental caries is the same whether it is a human or animal mouth. The difference is mainly in the oral pH level. The human one is more acidic while the animal one is more basic. In fact, the oral pH of humans is between 6.5 and 7 while dogs and cats one is between 7.5 and 8. As a result, in animals, the bacteria that form dental caries are more rare. In addition, there are not many sour products in their diet. Since dental caries are very rare in animals, the use of sour ingredients can even be beneficial in oral products as they help maintain pH balance in the mouth. This is why many of the oral products for animals can contain sour ingredients.

We hope you found this article helpful. To find out how cranberries have a positive impact on oral bacteria or how to practice good dental habits with your pet, you can consult our other blog articles!


Feghali, K., et al., Cranberry proanthocyanidins: natural weapons against periodontal diseases. J Agric Food Chem, 2012. 60(23): p. 5728-35.
Niemiec, Brook A. (2013) Veterinary Periodontology. John Wiley & Sons, 372p.
Gouvernement du Québec, 2016. « Carie dentaire ». https://www.quebec.ca/sante/problemes-de-sante/a-z/carie-dentaire/
L’association canadienne des médecins vétérinaires, 2012. « Les chats peuvent-ils avoir des caries? ». https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/Francais/documents/can-cats-get-cavities

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