Your Dog’s Dental Hygiene is Important

Your Dog’s Dental Hygiene is Important

Updated on 10/14/15, Originally posted on 10/8/11

Weekly Bible Verse: Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”

Is dental hygiene important for dogs?

Yes, your dog’s dental hygiene is very important!  Why? Poor dental hygiene can lead to a bacterial infection that can enter the bloodstream and can cause problems with your dog’s kidneys, liver, and heart! Also poor dental hygiene can also lead to tooth loss, as you probably already guessed.

Periodontal Disease

What is periodontal disease?  Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the teeth, gums, and can even get into a dog’s jaw bone!  A dog’s gums become infected first and or bacteria builds up on the teeth.  Periodontal disease can lead to tooth decay and then the dog will loose teeth.  Periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases in dogs.  At 2-3 years of age, most dogs have signs of periodontal disease.  If your dog’s teeth go untreated, there can be big health consequences later on and it can even shorten your dog’s life!

Signs of poor dental hygiene:

Bad breath

Yellowish or brown teeth (tarter build up)

Tooth loss

Chipped teeth

Inflammation or reddening of the gums

Seek help from your veterinarian

Just like people go to the dentist to have there teeth cleaned, a dog will need to go and have its teeth cleaned but it is a little different.  There are not very many dog dentists but most veterinarians are than capable of cleaning your dog’s teeth but not all of them do a good job.  It is important to have your dog’s teeth checked regularly by your veterinarian.  Also having your dog’s teeth cleaned by a vet is not cheap and for a proper deep cleaning, your dog must be put under anesthesia.  In the end it is worth paying your vet to clean your dog’s teeth so that your dog can live a happier, healthier, and hopefully longer life.  Don’t let your dog’s teeth go without treatment. Treatment that is given too late can NOT correct damages to your dog’s teeth or internal organs. Periodontal disease is preventable!

Before and After photos of a dog’s teeth that were cleaned by a vet.


These are photos of the same dog’s teeth.  In the first photo, on the left, you can see the dirty teeth that are about to be cleaned at the vets office. Photo on the right was taken right after dental cleaning by a veterinarian.  Brushing this dog’s teeth could have NEVER cleaned them like the vet could, that is why getting your dog’s teeth cleaned by a veterinarian is so important.  After your dog’s teeth have been cleaned by the vet, it is important to brush them to help keep them stay cleaner longer.  Every dog is different but your dog’s teeth should be cleaned by a vet every 1-3 years depending on how much you brush your dog’s teeth at home and what you feed your dog.  Low quality diet can also cause a dog’s teeth to deteriorate faster.

Choosing a vet to clean your dog’s teeth

Not all vet’s are the same!  Some vets have higher standards than others.  Often the old saying is true: “You get what you pay for”.  This video we found to be helpful and is from a vet named Dr. Stacey Wallach.  We have NOT met her and do not know much about her other than her veterinary licence is #2003012434, Original Issue Date  6/5/2003 and Expiration Date 11/30/2016 as of 10/14/15.  One thing we do know about Dr. Stacey Wallach is that we loved this video and wanted to share it with you to help you lean the question your should ask a vet before having them clean your dog’s teeth.  Enjoy!

Brushing your dog’s teeth

Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly is important just like brushing your teeth is important.  Having your dog’s teeth brushed only by your dog groomer is not good enough.  Could you imagine only getting your teeth brushed when you got a haircut at the salon?  Your teeth would be in bad shape if you never brushed them and the same is true for your dog.  If possible brush your dog’s teeth daily or at least 3-4 times a week.  Brushing your dog’s teeth will save you money because you will not need to have your veterinarian clean them as often.

Training your dog to take a toothbrush

Train your dog from puppy-hood to accept tooth brushing and only use dog toothpaste (never use people toothpaste!).  Older dogs can be trained to accept tooth brushing but it can be a little harder.  Start training with dog toothpaste on your finger and let your dog lick it off (there are yummy dog toothpaste flavors available at the pet store).  When your dog has accepted the toothpaste rub it on your dog’s teeth with your finger.  The last step is adding the toothbrush, start by only brushing a little bit at a time and gradually increase the time over several days.

It may sound crazy brushing your dog’s teeth but just remember it really is important to your dog’s health.

Will kibble, bones, or toys keep a dog’s teeth cleaned?

 NO, kibble will not keep your dog’s teeth clean.  Kibbles are crunchy but they are not that strong.  Kibble may help a little to keep some tarter off but kibble can not get bacteria off your dog’s teeth.  Some bones and toys can help keep a dog’s teeth cleaner but you must be careful what you give your dog as some things are not very safe and your dog can also chip their teeth.  Brushing your dog’s teeth several times a week and taking them to the vet are two of the better safer options for most pet owners.

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