Are cats’ mouths cleaner than dogs?

This article may contain affiliate links. For details, visit our Affiliate Disclosure page.


Cats and dogs have been long-time companions of humans. While dogs are known for their loyal nature, cats are often known for their aloof and independent nature. However, one question that pet owners often ask is whether cats’ mouths are cleaner than dogs’? This question has been debated by pet owners, veterinarians, and scientists for years. In this blog post, we will explore this topic in detail and try to find out whether cats’ mouths are cleaner than dogs’ or not.

Are cats mouths cleaner than dogs?

Dental Health

One of the most important aspects of a pet’s oral hygiene is their dental health. Good dental health is essential for pets’ overall health and well-being. Cats and dogs have different dental structures, which affects their oral hygiene. Cats have sharper teeth, which help them to hunt and kill prey. In contrast, dogs have a more diverse range of teeth, including incisors, canines, premolars, and molars, which are useful for biting and chewing.

Cats have a cleaner mouth than dogs because they have less bacteria in their mouths. A cat’s mouth contains fewer bacteria than a dog’s mouth. Bacteria cause bad breath and can lead to dental problems such as gum disease and tooth decay. Furthermore, cats have fewer teeth than dogs, which makes it easier to keep their teeth clean. They also groom themselves frequently, which helps to remove food particles and bacteria from their mouths.


Another factor that determines the cleanliness of a pet’s mouth is their saliva. Both cats and dogs produce saliva that helps to keep their mouth clean and healthy. However, the composition of their saliva is different, which affects their oral hygiene. For example, cats produce saliva that contains a natural antibacterial enzyme called lysozyme. This enzyme helps to kill bacteria in their mouths, making their mouths cleaner.

On the other hand, dogs produce more saliva than cats, and their saliva contains more bacteria. The extra saliva production in dogs is due to their need to digest food properly. The enzymes in their saliva help to break down food before it reaches their stomach. However, this increased saliva production also leads to the accumulation of more bacteria in their mouths, leading to bad breath and dental problems.


Cats are known for their cleanliness and grooming habits. They spend a significant amount of time grooming themselves, including their fur, paws, and even their mouths. They use their rough tongue to clean their teeth and remove food particles from their mouths. This frequent grooming helps to keep their mouths clean and reduces the chances of developing dental problems.

Dogs, on the other hand, do not groom themselves as often as cats. They rely on their owners to groom them regularly. While some dogs may clean their teeth by chewing on toys or bones, most do not have a natural instinct to clean their teeth. As a result, their teeth may accumulate more bacteria and food particles, leading to dental problems and bad breath.

Behavioral Factors

Cats and dogs have different behaviors when it comes to their mouths, which can also affect their oral hygiene. Cats are known for their meticulous grooming habits, and this extends to their mouth. They use their paws and tongue to clean themselves, including their teeth and gums. This self-grooming behavior helps to remove debris and bacteria from their mouths, contributing to a cleaner oral environment.

Dogs, on the other hand, may exhibit less self-grooming behavior compared to cats. While some dogs may lick their paws or chew on objects, it is not as thorough or frequent as the grooming habits of cats. This can result in a higher accumulation of bacteria and food particles in their mouths, increasing the risk of dental issues.

Environmental Factors

The environment in which cats and dogs live can also impact the cleanliness of their mouths. Cats are generally more cautious and careful when it comes to exploring their surroundings. They are less likely to engage in behaviors that expose them to unclean or contaminated objects. This reduces the chances of introducing harmful bacteria or substances into their mouths.

Dogs, on the other hand, are known for their curious nature and tendency to explore with their mouths. They may pick up objects, chew on toys, or even eat things they find outdoors. This behavior increases the risk of introducing bacteria, toxins, or foreign objects into their mouths, which can lead to oral health problems.

Genetic Factors

Genetics also play a role in the cleanliness of cats’ and dogs’ mouths. Different breeds have different genetic predispositions to oral health issues. Some dog breeds, such as small toy breeds, are more prone to dental problems due to their crowded teeth or misalignment. Similarly, certain cat breeds may be more susceptible to dental diseases.

It’s important to note that while cats generally have cleaner mouths than dogs, individual variations exist within each species. Factors such as genetics, diet, and oral care practices can influence the oral hygiene of both cats and dogs. Regular veterinary check-ups, professional dental cleanings, and good oral hygiene practices at home, such as brushing your pet’s teeth, can help maintain a clean and healthy mouth for both cats and dogs.


In conclusion, the question of whether cats’ mouths are cleaner than dogs’ is a complex one. Cats have certain advantages such as a lower bacterial count, specific enzymes in their saliva, and their grooming habits, which contribute to a cleaner mouth. However, it’s essential to remember that individual variations, diet, behavior, environment, and genetics also play significant roles in oral hygiene.

As responsible pet owners, it is crucial to prioritize and maintain our pets’ oral health. Regular dental check-ups, appropriate diet, providing dental care products recommended by veterinarians, and practicing good oral hygiene routines are essential for both cats and dogs. By paying attention to their dental health, we can ensure that our beloved furry friends have healthy mouths and overall well-being.

Are cats’ mouths cleaner than dogs?
Scroll to top