Dog Dental Care: Why It’s Important & How to Do It

 Wednesday Jul 26,2023
By  Lancaster Puppies

Good dental hygiene is important for the overall health of your dog. If your dog develops problems with its teeth and mouth, those problems can make your dog sick and cause damage to other areas of its body. Keeping your dog’s teeth clean doesn’t have to be a difficult or time-consuming task. There are multiple fast and easy products you can use at home or get from your vet.

At-Home Dental Care

Person holding the jaw of a brown and white dogIt’s recommended that you brush your dog’s teeth once a day. However, if you aren’t able to brush your dog’s teeth daily, you should at least do it 3 times a week. Remember that all products purchased should be safe for dogs to use. Using a product created for humans or other animals, like cats, can be ineffective and make your dog sick.

Dog-Safe Toothbrush & Toothpaste

The most obvious method of cleaning your dog’s teeth is a toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste. When choosing a toothbrush for your dog, make sure you get one that matches your dog’s size. If a traditional toothbrush doesn’t work for your dog, you may find it easier to use a finger toothbrush. A finger toothbrush is a special toothbrush that fits on your index finger and can be rubbed over your dog’s teeth.

Dog toothpaste comes in different flavors and doesn’t need to be rinsed off after being applied. You should only use dog-safe toothpaste and never substitute it for human toothpaste as its ingredients are very harmful to dogs. Using a toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste is one of the most effective ways to clean your dog’s teeth and can be more affordable than other methods.

Dental Supplements

Dental supplements, like dental powder, don’t require any extra work from you to keep your dog’s teeth clean. These supplements are generally added to your dog’s food so you won’t need to get close to their face or open their mouth.

With dental powder, all you need to do is sprinkle the suggested amount onto your dog’s food every meal. Continued regular use will give your dog a cleaner mouth and fresher breath.

Dental Water Additives

Water additives are a popular way to keep your dog’s mouth clean and healthy. These additives are easy and safe to use since they are created for your dog to ingest. With a water additive, all you need to do is pour the suggested amount into your dog’s water bowl and let the solution do its work when your dog drinks water.

Dental Treats

Border Collie smiling

Giving your dog crunchy, solid dental treats that require chewing will help scrape off plaque and tartar. Dental treats are very helpful for dogs that hate having their teeth brushed. Just like normal treats, you should follow the suggested portion size and avoid any flavors your dog is allergic to.

Similar to dental treats, giving vegetables like carrots and cucumbers can also help keep your dog’s teeth clean when chewed. You can even freeze vegetables before giving them to your dog to encourage chewing. Just make sure anything you give your dogs is safe for them to eat!

Chew Toys

Giving your dogs chew toys will help scrape plaque off their teeth while they play. This method is great for dogs that won’t allow you near their face or teeth. If you have a dog that may bite, dental chew toys take away any risk of being bitten while trying to clean your dog’s teeth. There are even chew toys designed to promote dental health!

Dental Wipes

Dog dental cleaning wipes are an excellent alternative for dogs that don’t allow their owners to use canine toothbrushes and toothpaste. With dental wipes, you can use your finger to rub your dog’s teeth. This method is less messy than using a toothbrush but is less effective at scraping off plaque.

Additionally, dental wipes work best when combined with another type of dental care such as chew toys or dental treats. The wipes soften the plaque which makes it easier for dental toys and treats to scrape it off. Depending on how frequently you use dental wipes for your dog, this method can be expensive because each wipe is single-use.

Signs of Dental Issues

Vet examining a dog's teeth

Different dogs can show discomfort and pain differently; however, there are some general indicators that your dog’s mouth may need vet treatment. Signs your dog may be having trouble with its mouth and teeth include the following:

  • Not eating or having trouble eating

  • Foul-smelling breath

  • Gums that are bleeding, inflamed, or appear to be causing pain

  • Teeth that are broken, missing, or appear to be causing pain

If you notice any of these issues with your dog’s teeth or gums, contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment to get your dog’s mouth examined.

Prioritize Prevention & Annual Check-Ups

When you go to a routine vet check-up once a year, your dog’s teeth will be examined. Routine visits to the vet are important for catching any problems early on. If your dog’s dental hygiene is struggling, your veterinarian can give you recommendations or schedule a cleaning to treat any issues.

Speak With Your Vet

If dental hygiene and health are issues for your dog, ask your vet about routine dental cleanings. Your vet can suggest which products are best for your dog in particular or schedule a dental cleaning appointment. These appointments can be expensive as they require your dog to go under anesthesia, but keep in mind that general prevention is much more affordable than dental treatment.

Want to learn more about caring for your four-legged companion? Subscribe to Lancaster Puppies’ monthly newsletter or check out our blog!