Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

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Cat Teeth vs Dog Teeth

Every day at work, I look in a lot of pets’ mouths. I can tell you that I see a lot of dental problems. As a matter of a fact, the second most common health concern of dogs and cats in Morinville is a problem with their teeth. The most common concern is being overweight. This level of concern is not a surprise to owners of dogs in the Edmonton area (or any city in Canada). Unfortunately, there are a lot of cat owners who are quite surprised to find out that their cat has a problem with their teeth. The main reason for this is that cats and dogs are so different when it comes to what dental problems look like.

The most obvious is the smell. Dogs that have bad teeth usually have breath that would knock you down. Teeth that are abscessed are draining pus, and pus is a liquid that smells. Obviously, the pus rinses over the teeth, gums and tongue. Even if you cannot see the bad tooth, you can smell it. Dogs get more teeth that abscess than cats do. On top of that, dogs are more likely to pant than cats; this fills the air with their rotten breath. Anyone who has had a big dog with a rotten tooth spending time in a room with their family cannot miss the foul stink. It gets even worse if your dog licks you-now you stink too! Cats, on the other hand, do not have teeth that abscess so easily. They also rarely pant, nor do they lick their owners. That does not mean that cats with bad teeth do not have bad breath, it is just harder to notice.

Another difference is the gum reaction. Cats with gum disease tend to have a line of bright red gums that seems to dissolve into the teeth. Dogs are more likely to have gums that swell up and pull away from the teeth. That is one of the reasons that dogs with dental disease often have teeth that wiggle and fall out.

The teeth are different too. Dogs will have their teeth get infected roots. This is what makes a tooth fall out. It is more common for cats to get cavities along the gum line that cause the tooth to fracture along the gum line, and only lose a part of the tooth, and leave a root fragment under the gum.

Both dogs and cats can have crowded, misplaced teeth. That is more a factor of their breed than being a dog or cat. A shih tzu dog is just as likely to have crowded teeth as a persian cat. Any tooth that is out of place is more at risk for dental problems. That is why Morinville Vet Clinic sees so many shih tzus and persians for dental cleaning.

What is the same in dogs and cats with dental problems is that they do not often lose their appetite. Both animals just learn to gulp down their food without chewing, so they eat just as much as before. The best way to find out if your pet has a dental problem is to either look in their mouth or bring them to the vet clinic for an exam. Like many health concerns, early detection leads to easier treatment.

Written by Dr. Michael High


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Last updated: July 23, 2020

Dear Clients,

Thank you for choosing Morinville Veterinary Clinic for your pets' veterinary needs. As we continue to adjust to the "new normal," we have implemented new protocols to keep you and our team safe.

It is still preferred that you stay in your vehicle while we bring your pet in for their appointment. However, as of Monday, July 21, 2020, we will be allowing one client to accompany their pet during their visit.

Along with wearing a face mask and using hand sanitizer, any client wishing to be present during an exam will need to record your name, phone number and email address for contact tracing purposes, in compliance with Alberta Health requirements.

Should you choose to come in with your pet, we kindly ask that you comply with the following protocols:

  • Our doors will remain locked. Please call us at 780.939.3133 upon your arrival.
  • Physical distance with staff and other clients while inside the building.
  • Face coverings must be worn to enter the clinic.
  • Use hand washing station upon entry.
  • Continue the use of credit cards as the preferred payment method.
  • Continue with curbside pickup of food and medication (unless you have used our online store and are having your order delivered directly to your home). To place an order through our online store, visit our website and click on "Online Store".
  • If you wish to wait in your vehicle during the appointment, when you arrive, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call us. We will take a history of your pet's health and discuss any concerns. A staff member will then meet you outside to bring your pet into the hospital for an examination. The Veterinarian will call you to discuss the recommended treatment plan. After your appointment, a staff member will return your pet to you outside, and take care of any needed medications and payment.

    If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.


    Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.


    We are OPEN with the following hours:

    - Monday to Friday: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm
    - Saturday: 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
    - Sunday: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - Your dedicated team at Morinville Veterinary Clinic