Ideally, dogs should have their teeth brushed on a daily basis. This process should be made into a routine just like walking your dog daily or feeding him/her dinner. Once a day is fine.
In younger dogs, brushing the teeth is still important but daily care is not always necessary. The frequency of teeth brushing is really dependent on several factors, including:
- Age. Older dogs will need much more teeth care attention, as build up accumulates over the years.
- Breed. Breeds that are prone to under/overbites will commonly develop plaque accumulation on their teeth earlier than other dogs.
- Size. Small dogs are notorious for having dental problems from an early age, so they’ll need more teeth-brushing attention.
- Diet. Dogs fed a canned diet will develop more buildup than dogs eating a kibble based diet.
- Time Spent Chewing. The amount of chewing activity is crucial because dogs that chew more on hard materials (toys, bones, kibble, etc.) will be less likely to have dental buildup. This is because the act of chewing is abrasive and will rub off plaque and calculus.
See what this veterinarian has to say – the more you brush the better! Even once a week or once a month makes a huge difference for your dog’s chompers.
Why is cleaning my dog’s teeth important?
Believe it or not, routine dental hygiene is one of the most overlooked aspects of canine ownership.
Many owners do not regularly brush their dog’s teeth – for this reason, dental disease is one of the most prevalent problems in all breeds of dogs.
Can I use my toothpaste to clean my dog’s teeth?
No way. Human toothpastes contain fluoride, a substance that is toxic to pets.
Be sure to always use dental products specifically designed for pets, such as this Petrodex Poultry-Flavored Toothpaste and these extra-long canine toothbrushes from Pet Republique.
What if I can’t brush my dog’s teeth?
Not every dog will tolerate teeth brushing. Your best shot at having an adult dog who cooperates with regular teeth brushing is to introduce puppies to dental care from an early age.
Though most young dogs will not need regular teeth cleaning it is important to teach them to accept the use of a toothbrush.
Just like you train a puppy to allow you to cut their nails, you should train them to let you brush their teeth. If dogs are not introduced from an early age, it is a process that will require much more training, time, and patience.
Some dogs will just not allow us to handle their mouths. In this case, a hands off approach is best for the owner and pet – thankfully, there are plenty of doggie dental products on the market that can help combat dental disease for dogs who can’t stand teeth brushing!
What are the best dog dental products?
Dog dental products are various commodities that we utilize to keep our dog’s teeth clean! Mild tooth disease can generally be resolved by using a dental product, which is life-savings new for dogs that hate getting their teeth brushed!
These products work through abrasive action or enzymes to reduce plaque and calculus buildup. There are several options available through your local pet retail store, online, or at your veterinary office. Here are some of the most common products:
- Dental Treats. Treats like the popular Greenies dental treats are great for freshening your dog’s breath as well as cutting down on plaque development. Many dogs love the taste too!
- Dental Sprays & Water Additives. These products contain enzymes that break down your dog’s plaque accumulation. We recommend the Natural Breath Oral Care Spray from Amazon.
- Dental Powders. Powders can be placed on your dog’s food and can help to scrub the teeth. One such powder that has received great review online is the Vetri-Science Laboratories Perio-Support Powder.
- Prescription Dental Diets. For severe teeth issues, vets may prescribe dental dog food diets, with specially formulated kibbles that, instead of crumbling, scrub your dog’s teeth.
- Dental Dog Toys. Dental dog toys have small nubs and scrubbers that help scrub your dog’s teeth clean while he chews and plays, such as the Nylabone Dental Dog Chew Toy.
Dog dental disease can cause serious health problems
If left untreated, dog dental disease can cause damage to other vital organs within the body. Toxins build up within the mouth and then get circulated by the blood stream.
These toxins are then filtered by important organs, like the liver and kidneys. Subsequently, these organs become damaged and long term disease can lead to organ failure.
What are signs of dental disease?
A few symptoms of doggie dental disease include:
- Foul smelling breath
- Excessive drooling
- Red, inflamed, or bleeding gums
- Loss of appetite
- Plaque or calculus build-up
- Loose or missing teeth
- Sore or painful mouth
How can dental problems be avoided?
Good news! The best way to prevent dental problems in your best friend is to practice good dental hygiene. That should be easy to remember since it’s the same for humans!
Taking preventative measures will ensure that your dog has a healthy mouth with pearly white teeth. Like humans, dogs should have their teeth brushed on a regular basis. This should be done with products specially designed for dogs, especially toothpaste.
Also, be sure to have a good relationship with your veterinarian. Severe dental problems can be avoided by having your dog seen by a vet every year. They will assess the teeth at your pup’s yearly check-up and recommend professional cleaning if needed.
My dog’s teeth are really bad. What should I do?
Talk to your veterinarian. Your vet knows what is best for your dog and can recommend how to address dental disease for your dog as an individual. Professional teeth cleaning is usually required as dogs get older or develop excessive plaque and calculus.
A professional deep teeth cleaning is performed by your veterinarian, similar to how your dentist would clean your teeth. For your dog’s safety, he/she will be placed under anesthesia. This will allow your vet to examine the entirety of your dog’s mouth and target all the problem areas.
Vets use specialized tools to chip away the plaque and calculus. The dental cleaning is then followed by a polishing to leave your dog’s teeth squeaky clean.
More severe cases of dental disease may require teeth to be assessed with x-rays. This will allow the veterinarian to determine whether or not the tooth should be pulled.
Surprisingly, dogs heal very well after dental procedures. They can even eat kibble with little to no teeth! It is amazing how well they spring back once they have a healthy mouth.
What are your favorite doggie dental toys and chews? Share your picks in the comments!