Is Dog Dental Care Necessary?

Caring for your dogs teeth is a vital part of his overall health and maintenance. Sure, you may feel funny brushing Fido's pearly whites every night before bed, but good dental care for dogs is much more than just having white teeth and good breath.

Dental disease in dogs can cause serious health issues as the bacteria from infected gums and teeth can "spread" to other parts of the body and affect vital organs such as the heart, kidneys and intestines. Tarter or dental calculus starts off soft but can harden on the dogs teeth. Once hardened, it cannot be brushed away but requires a dental scaling just like you get in the dentist chair! If the teeth are left untreated, the buildup can cause the gums to become inflamed and can also cause serious infections.

Does Your Dog Have Bad Teeth?

To tell if your dog has bad teeth, lift up his lips and check his teeth at the gumline - can you see tarter? Are the teeth white or discolored? Does his breath smell? Are there broken teeth?

All of these can indicate the need for better dog tooth care. Your veterinarian will probably do a dental check as part of they yearly checkup and can advise you as to the extent of the problem, if any.

Providing Better Dog Tooth Care


Chewing on raw bones can be a good way for your dog to remove built up tarter. I would advise against cooked bones as they can splinter and cause damage to the gums or intestine if swallowed. There are also some manufactured bones that are specially formulated for dental care.

Brushing Your Dogs Teeth

Brushing is a vital part of dog tooth care and should be done at least once a week. There are plenty of flavored toothpastes formulated for dogs that your pet will love the taste of. You can use a finger brush (a rubber piece that fits on the end of your finger with bristles), a hand held brush that looks much like a human tooth brush, or a little brush that fits on the end of a "ring" which you put on your finger. I have a tiny dog with a small mouth and I find the "ring" brush works best for me.


This procedure is done by your veterinarian and is pretty much the same thing as the scaling you get at the dentist. The teeth are scraped and polished and any loose or badly damaged teeth are removed. Your dog is put under anesthesia for this procedure and it is quite costly. Proper brushing will limit the need for this to be done.

Getting Your Dog Used To Brushing

While it's best to start when he is a puppy, it's not too late for your older dog to get good dental care! Start off slowly, maybe with just a dab of the toothpaste on your finger so he can lick it off (my dog loves the taste!). Be sure to use a special paste for dogs and not human toothpaste - get a paste from your vet that has enzymes that will help fight the bacteria. Also, you'll want a soft brush so you do not damage the gums.

Take it one day at a time and gradually get the dog used to you touching his head and opening the mouth. Each day try to go one step further - open the mouth, then touch his teeth, then his gums. Use your finger at first and introduce the brush later. This can be a a bonding time for you and your dog - eventually your pet may even look forward to his nightly brushing!

You should try to brush your dogs teeth every day or at least every other day so that the plaque will not have a chance to harden. While this may seem like a chore, think of it as an important medical need for your pet. Frequent brushing and proper dental care can add years to your pets life!

Lee Dobbins is a pet lover and webmaster of ePet Pet Center where you can find out more about the care of pets. Be sure to check out the new dog breed guide.



Should We Really Be Keeping Cats And Dogs — And Geckos — As Pets?
Bioethicist Jessica Pierce includes pets — or "animal companions" — among her family members: a cat, two dogs and fish. So, it's startling to read this passage near the beginning of her new book released this week, Run, Spot, Run: The Ethics of ...
Is it wrong to keep cats and dogs as pets?Miami Herald
How to curb pets' weight gainBaltimore Sun

all 6 news articles »

Huffington Post Canada

Fort McMurray Fire: Owners Forced To Leave Beloved Pets Behind
Huffington Post Canada
Dale Kossey and his three dogs — Elmo, Gizmo and Lacey — rest in a pet owners reception area at the evacuee reception centre in Anzac. Evacuees have since been moved further south to Lac La Biche due to shifting weather patterns. (Photo: Greg ...
Pets evacuated from Fort McMurray wildfires receive help, but those left behind must
Left behind in Fort McMurray, here's what happens to petsThe Weather Network
Fort McMurray wildfire: Pet owners desperate to save animals left

all 2,407 news articles »

The Guardian

Do hamsters make pets fit for a princess?
The Guardian
When I was younger I wanted a home filled with pets, and begged my mum for everything from ferrets to goldfish. I even built my own snail hotel in the garden. I have always had cats, and am now the proud owner of a tortoise. However, hamsters are a big ...
Why the Duchess of Cambridge is correct: hamsters make the best
Kate Middleton Reveals Princess Charlotte 'Really Likes' Pet Hamster's Whiskers; Recounts Childhood PetsMovie News Guide
Kate reveals Prince George and Princess Charlotte have a new pet – find out what it
Vanity Fair -Huffington Post Canada -Huffington Post UK
all 234 news articles »


Cardboard playhouses puts pampered pets in architectural landmarks
Poopy Cat, the firm behind the Blocks cardboard pet playhouse kit we looked at last year, has unveiled its latest project. Landmarks features flatpack pet playhouses modeled on seven architectural classics, including the Sphinx of Giza, the White House ...

Is there hope for the pets of Fort McMurray?
For pets left in burning structures, firefighters know how to help. Some fire departments now carry oxygen masks designed for animals, and others encourage people to put stickers on their doors notifying fire personnel that animals live in the house.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Pets in Abusive Relationships
Austin Chronicle
According to the American Humane Association and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, "71% of pet-owning women entering women's shelters reported that their batterer had injured, maimed, killed or threatened family pets for revenge or to ...
Schumer supports PAWS Act for abuse victims' petsRochester Democrat and Chronicle
Schumer: Spousal abusers use pets to maintain controlNews 10NBC
Bill would allow pets of domestic violence victims at shelters13WHAM-TV
all 5 news articles »

Queens Chronicle

FEMA: Emergency plans include pets
Queens Chronicle
The pet preparedness questions are useful for adults too, and center around what owners would do with their pets if forced to evacuate their homes. The answer might be to carry them with you in a crate. The answer might also be: “We need to buy a pet ...

and more »

Unwanted pets find new homes in 'dog-friendly' Utah
WEST JORDAN — Anxious canine rescue groups gathered at the South Valley Regional Airport on Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the arrival of their new foster pets. Earlier Wednesday, 95 dogs and cats of all sizes boarded a Cessna Grand Caravan and ...
95 rescue animals flown in from overcrowded kill

all 6 news articles »

The News Tribune

East Pierce Fire & Rescue acquires a life-saving tool for pets
The News Tribune
Pets are an important part of any family. Should a house fire or other disaster happen, East Pierce Fire & Rescue is now even more prepared to rescue furry members of the family. Firefighters now have access to specially designed oxygen masks that ...

and more »

Toronto Sun

Documentary explores the bond between the homeless and their devoted pets
Toronto Sun
The incident inspired her to begin working on her new documentary, "A Dog's Life," which explores the emotional support and inspiration homeless people receive from pets. "Most of them have addictions to drugs or have mental (health) issues and the dog ...

Google News - the best dating site for singles who are pet lovers!

home | site map
© 2006