Dental Hygiene in Dogs

While many humans refer to their beloved canine’s doggy breath with affection, proper dental hygiene in dogs should not be taken lightly. In fact, bad smelling breath in a dog can actually indicate health problems.

smiling dogAccording to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition in dogs and cats. Periodontal disease includes gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (loss of bone and soft tissue around the teeth). Evidence of the disease is usually present by three years of age in a dog and can worsen as she grows older. It can be painful for animals, leading not only to tooth loss but to other health problems when mouth bacteria is carried throughout the body in the bloodstream.

Adding a regular dental health regiment to your dog’s routine is just as important as your own tooth care. Fortunately, a variety of approaches are available that can make it fun and easy.

  1. Brushing. The act of tooth brushing is as good for dogs as it is for humans, but ditch the human toothpaste and be sure to use one specially formulated for pets. Dental supplies for dogs can be found at pet stores or most veterinary offices.
  2. Chewies. Encourage your dog to chew her way to clean teeth by providing chewies that will keep her busy for a while. Antlers, pig ears, and cow hooves are great choices, though they can be a smelly option. Additional products like Greenies and Benebones are also available and have been specially designed with a dog’s dental health in mind.
  3. Toys. Playtime isn’t just for fun anymore; it’s also a great time to banish tarter! Providing your dog with toys that they can chew is a great way to keep their teeth sparkling and white. Look for toys with ridges like KONG Dental Dog toys, Nylabones, or rope toys.



Some breeds are more susceptible to dental health problems than others, but all dogs can benefit from dental health care. Talk to your veterinarian to learn more about your dog’s needs and how you can ensure that she’s smiling brightly in the years to come.