This is the question that our patients (or, their human parents) ask us a lot. Many people think the tartar and plaque are the same thing, but there are a few important differences between the two, and understanding the differences can help you understand why a daily hygiene ritual for your pet is so important.  Green Dog Pet Products and Green Dog Dental are here to give you  insight!


Dental plaque is a soft, sticky, film that builds up on teeth and gums throughout the day. It contains millions of bacteria, and theoretically you remove it both morning and night with your daily brushing.

Our furry friends probably develop less plaque then humans, because their diets are generally lower in carbohydrates and sugar, which are plaques favorite kind of food. But quantity doesn’t change the fact that it still needs to be removed regularly, as the bacteria that is contained in plaque produce acids that erode tooth enamel and can eventually cause cavities. This is why it’s so important to remove plaque on a regular basis.


While human beings generally brush their teeth twice or even three times a day, it’s easy to slack a little bit with our furry friends. But dogs and cats develop plaque just like people do, and plaque can wreak havoc on their oral hygiene just as it can for humans. To prevent plaque buildup, remember to clean your dog or cats at least a few times a week!


Tartar, on the other hand, is what accumulates on your teeth when you don’t remove plaque. If plaque is allowed to remain on your dog or cat’s teeth for too long, it hardens into tartar and is much more difficult to remove.

Tartar is the reason why veterinarians frequently need to anesthetize dogs and cats when doing a dental cleaning. We’re not simply brushing plaque off your pet’s teeth of the toothbrush, we often have to scrape off hardened tartar and it would be impossible to do this if the animal were conscious.


Just like in human beings, tartar can only be removed by a dental professional (in this case your veterinarian). And don’t forget: plaque buildup that hardens into tartar can cause more than just cavities and dental hygiene issues. Tartar can cause tooth discoloration as well as gum recession, periodontal disease, and gum sensitivity.

Your best bet in preventing tartar is removing plaque on a regular basis. And the best way to remove plaque from your dog and cat’s teeth is regular dental hygiene and teeth cleaning!  This was the reason we created smileSPRAY!