Pet owners should take care of their pet's teeth to avoid regular trips to the vet, it has been claimed.
Michelle Marshall, a vet at Horton Animal Hospital Northeast in Missouri, revealed that dental disease is the most commonly diagnosed health problem in dogs and cats and urged owners to act in order to prevent it.
She told the Columbia Daily Tribune: "Home dental care is an important part of providing the best possible care for your pets.
"Flavoured toothpastes can be used with a variety of toothbrushes such as finger toothbrushes or soft-bristled brushes. Do not use human toothpaste on your pets."
Ms Marshall added that signs of dental disease include bad breath, tooth loss, bleeding gums, drooling and the presence of tartar.
In the US, around 80 per cent of dogs and 70 per cent of cats show signs of dental disease by age three, according to figures from the American Dental Society.