7 Tips for Better Doggie Dental Care


Doggie dental care is an aspect of canine health often overlooked by dog owners. Yet no matter how well-planned the diet is or how regular the exercise routine is, any dog would still suffer when he has periodontal disease or fractured tooth. These are the two most common canine dental problems which can stress a dog.

What is dental disease in dogs?

What comes into your mind when you hear of the term ‘ canine dental disease?’ Is it tooth decay? On the contrary, our canine friends don’t suffer from tooth decay because of their bacterial microsystem.

Dogs, though, are prone to dental problems specifically periodontal disease and a fractured tooth. In fact, studies have shown that eight out of 10 dogs aged three years and above are suffering from active dental disease.

Periodontal disease is the most common dental disease affecting canines and felines. It is a general term used in describing inflammation of the tissues surrounding the tooth. It happens when plaque and tartar have accumulated in the teeth, resulting in gum recession. When it is left untreated, the infection can spread and destroy the bone.

Tooth fractures, on the other hand, involve damage to the parts of the tooth particularly the thin outer covering (called enamel) and the sensitive layer beneath the enamel (called dentin).

What causes dental disease in dogs?

There are several causes of dental disease in canines, one of which is diet. The intake of highly processed pet foods, especially cereals, has been identified as a significant contributor to dental problems. Manufactured pet foods contain high levels of carbohydrates and sugar that nourish oral bacteria and lead to dental disease in dogs.

Moreover, the lack of amylase in the saliva of dogs further fuel plaque growth. Amylase is an enzyme in the saliva that clears carbs and sugar from the teeth. Furthermore, old age, breed, and facial arrangement can contribute to dental diseases.

Does your dog have oral health problems?

You can easily tell if your dog is suffering from dental health problems. Bad breath is one of the common symptoms that you can observe. Increased drooling can also be indicative of oral health problems, as well as red or swollen gums. You should also look out for yellowish brown plaque building up on the teeth. Finally, dogs who have difficulty in eating may be suffering from dental health problems as well.

Stages of pet periodontal disease

Familiarizing yourself with the stages of dog periodontal disease can help you recognize and act on it early.

The first stage

The first stage of periodontal disease may be the earliest phase, but it’s also the time when you should act quickly. During this phase, the pet’s mouth is healthy without any visible plaque. At the most, mild gingivitis or reddening of the gums will become apparent.

The Second Stage

The second stage is characterized by moderate gingivitis. There are more noticeable swelling and inflammation of the gums. Plaque is also more pronounced and covers a larger area of the teeth. The bad odor is also evident. This is the stage when you should make frequent trips to your veterinarian to prevent the symptoms from worsening.

The Third Stage

The third stage is also usually the time when most dog owners notice the periodontal disease. In this stage, the gingivitis has progressed into periodontitis. This means that the gums are not only swollen or irritated but also bleed easily. The dog also has bad breath.

The Fourth Stage

The fourth and final stage is considered extreme. The gums are severe bleeding and swollen. There is also tooth and bone loss. Medical treatment including extractions is necessary.

Don’t wait for your dog to suffer from stage 3 or 4 periodontal disease. Aside from risking your best friend to unbearable pain, you are also risking him to severe ailments. Bacteria from a toothache can enter the bloodstream and affect internal organs like the kidney, liver, and heart.

It has been reported that nearly 9 out of 10 dogs aged four years and above suffer from some type of periodontal disease, an oral condition that’s painful and can result in tooth loss and infection.

7 Tips for Better Doggie Dental Care

Those scenarios above illustrate how essential it is for dog parents to focus on the dental health of their pets. You can prevent dental health-related problems(like periodontal disease and a fractured tooth) by following these seven tips for better doggie dental care:

Tip 1: Regular toothbrushing

Tip 2: Weekly teeth check

Tip 3: Bones and good quality dry food

Tip 4: Know if your dog is prone to dental disease

Tip 5: Use chew treat or chew toys

Tip 6: Twice-a-year checkups

Tip 7: Dental cleaning under anesthesia

Tip 1: Regular toothbrushing


Just like humans, dogs need to have their teeth brushed regularly. Veterinarians agree that daily brush is beneficial to canine oral health although most dog owners find it difficult to do so.

In brushing a dog’s teeth, it is essential to bring him to a quiet area where there would be no distractions. Keeping the canine relaxed is equally critical, and this can be done by gently stroking his body especially the head and mouth.

Most dogs detest being touched in their mouths. You can get your dog to get used to it by running your fingers along his gum line several times a day. Make sure that your dog is relaxed when you do this. Always talk to him in a soft voice. Shower him with lots of praise and affection before, during and after touching his mouth.

Once your dog has become used to it, allow him to sniff the toothbrush and toothpaste. Place the toothpaste on the toothbrush and work on the canine teeth starting at the back. Remember that the incisors or small front teeth are highly sensitive, so you should work on those last.

Gently brush the lower canine teeth, going up to the upper teeth while praising your dog. Stay patient as your dog will likely resist at first. Gradually increase the number of that you brush until you make it to the molars and the back of his mouth and eventually, the front teeth.

What Toothbrush Should You Choose for Your Dog?

But you may wonder– how do you choose a toothbrush for your pal? In selecting a canine toothbrush, consider the size of your pet. Toothbrush with small finger brushes is best for big canines. Standard toothbrushes should suffice for smaller dogs.

The handle of the toothbrush should not be overlooked, too. It should be of the right size so that you can hold and maneuver it with ease. The toothbrush itself should be lightweight, short, and easy to move around which should come in handy if you have a dog who’s not fond of brushing his teeth.

The bristles of the toothbrush are equally important. Most veterinarians agree that soft bristled brushes are the most effective in removing debris and plaque along the gum line.

As for the toothpaste, never use human toothpaste for your dog because it contains ingredients that may be toxic for your pet. Ask your veterinarian about the best toothpaste for your canine instead. Canine toothpaste is not only safe for our furry friends but also designed to taste good for dogs.

Tip 2: Weekly teeth check

Weekly inspections of your pet’s teeth can also go a long way towards ensuring that his teeth and gums are in the pink of health. You don’t need to see a veterinarian for this purpose. Inspecting a dog’s teeth is easy as you would learn below.

Look for a place that’s well-lit so that you can see your pet’s teeth. Once your dog is relaxed or comfortable, raise him off the ground and place your hands on his face with the fingers around his mouth. Just like in brushing teeth, this will take a lot of patience, so it is recommended that puppies are trained early for routine doggie dental examinations.

Examine your dog’s face for any signs of unusual swelling. Then smell his breath. The fruity breath may mean that your pet has diabetes. Breath that has a urine-like scent can be a sign of kidney disease. Either way, you may want to bring him to a veterinarian to be sure.

Finally, pull back on the lips to see the front teeth of your pet. Look for signs of dental problems such as discolored or loose teeth. Are the gums bleeding or receding? If yes, then go see your vet. Watch here below one of our favorite video about how to check your dog’s teeth.

Tip 3: Know if your dog is prone to dental disease

Your dog’s diet is not the only factor that can contribute to doggie dental disease. As mentioned earlier, other contributing factors include the age and breed of the dog.

Small breeds, in particular, are at higher risk of developing dental disease. Dogs who are shorter than a human’s knee height are prone to periodontal disease.

Short canine breeds such as Collies, Pugs, Yorkies, and Chihuahuas are set up for dental diseases. The same goes for Dachshunds, Boxers, Shih Tzus, and Labradors. These dog breeds have small mouths but large teeth. This results in the teeth being so close together, leading to more crevices where the tartar can build up.

Tip 4: Bones and good quality dry food

Feeding the right food can also make a difference for dogs who are susceptible to dental problems. If your dog has stage 1 or stage 2 periodontal disease, start feeding him with bone and good quality dry food.

High-quality dry food or kibble is highly recommended for dogs with dental health issues. Unlike canned wet food, dry food won’t stick to the teeth of dogs. This means that there is less plaque that would build up over time.

Raw bones are also beneficial to dogs as it can provide them with minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Meat attached to the bone can also be a good source of nutrients for any canine.

Tip 5: Use chew treat or chew toys

If you can’t give raw bones to your dog, you can provide chew treats or toys instead. These products can encourage chewing, natural canine behavior that helps clean the teeth.

It has been proven that dogs who chew actively are less prone to plaque build-up. The simple mechanical action of chewing makes an enormous difference. One independent study showed that chew treats can significantly reduce the accumulation of tartar.

When shopping for chew treats or toys for your pet, however, avoid getting those made of hard plastic or nylon. These chew treats could cause a gastrointestinal blockage. These are also difficult for most dogs to chew, and could damage their teeth in the process.

You can give your pal rubber chew toys instead as these are tough enough to withstand serious chewing. Rubber chew toys won’t also damage canine teeth. Moreover, these toys typically have hollowed-out parts where treats like peanut butter can be placed.

Tip 6: Twice-a-year checkups

Dental checkups are a must for canines, especially those whose teeth are not regularly brushed. Your veterinarian will examine your dog’s teeth to determine its overall health. Moreover, the specialist will be able to identify dental issues and determine the most appropriate treatment method. Without regular dental checkups, you are risking your pet to serious dental problems.

Dental checkups are particularly beneficial to young puppies as veterinarians can detect if adult teeth are coming in. There are instances when puppy teeth don’t fall out usually, interfering with the positioning of the adult teeth in the process. Early dental troubles such as this can be corrected by vets.

Tip 7: Dental cleaning under anesthesia

Many dog owners think that putting a dog under anesthesia for doggie dental cleaning is very risky. Yet the truth is, dental cleaning under anesthesia facilitates comprehensive dental cleaning while the pet is in an unconscious state.

While the dog is under anesthesia, a veterinarian can perform an oral exam as well as x-rays to detect problems beneath the gum line. The specialist can also perform a thorough cleaning of the gum-line, which is impossible to do when the dog is awake. Vets can also scale or polish the visible part of the dog’s teeth to remove plaque.

There’re our seven tips for better doggie dental care which will improve and prevent your buddy get the periodontal disease and a fractured tooth. If you have any other tips or experience with dog dental issue, please share with us here in the comments section below. We also summarize 7 best doggie dental product of each category in this article “7 Dog Dental Care Products to Maintain Healthy Teeth & Gum“. Thanks for reading.

Sara Malik

Sara Malik

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