Dental care can be a hassle for humans and dogs, but proper maintenance can be a money
saver in the long run and even a lifesaver. Let’s face it; No matter how much you adore your
pets, their breath can be downright gross at times. Pets need more than just a good brushing,
bad breath can be a sign that your pet is suffering from gum disease (also known as periodontal
disease), which can lead to serious health concerns, ranging from tooth loss to organ damage.
With a majority of adult pets suffering from some degree of periodontal disease, maintaining
your pet’s oral hygiene isn’t luxury, it’s a vital piece of her health care routine. Here’s how to
keep your pet’s mouth cleaner so you can keep your pet healthier from tooth to tail.
1. Visit your veterinarian for teeth cleaning
- Your Veterinarian plays an integral part in your pet’s overall oral health. At each
wellness visit, your pet’s mouth will be examined to catch any potential problems before
they get out of hand. Dental cleanings and oral examinations under anesthesia should
be performed once or twice yearly.
2. Brush your pet’s teeth everyday with the right pet-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Dog toothbrushes are similar to human toothbrushes, but are smaller and have much
softer bristles. A finger toothbrush can be another option which fits over your finger and
makes cleaning those hard-to- reach areas all the easier. A clean scrap of gauze or a
washcloth will do the trick too.
- Never use human toothpaste for your pet. Most contain fluoride, which is extremely
toxic- and sometimes fatal. Swing by your local pet store or hop online to find a pet-
3. Feed your pet a special dental diet if recommended
4. Offer appropriate chew treats
Keeping a watchful eye on your pet’s teeth will help you catch problems early! Here are some
common signs of oral disease; (yellow-brown tartar, bleeding gums, red (inflamed gums), Bad
breath, Difficulty chewing /dropping food when trying to eat, excessive drooling, change in
eating habits, pawing at the mouth or rubbing the face against the floor or furniture.
Things to Keep in Mind
• It is normal for your puppy’s teeth to fall out. Just like humans, this gives space for stronger,
adult teeth to come in. Puppy teeth usually start falling out between 12 and 16 weeks of age.
For most puppies, permanent teeth are usually in by eight months.
• If you choose to neuter your dog, which usually occurs between four to six months of age, it is
normal (and even necessary) to pull out any baby teeth that are left.
• If a dog loses an adult tooth, it is gone forever. Careful dental health is essential to help them
keep these as long as possible!