Yes, dogs definitely need regular dental care to prevent gum, tooth and bone disease and the bad breath that results. Without good dental care, 80 percent of dogs show signs of oral disease by age three; in fact, oral disease is the No. 1 health problem diagnosed in dogs. Left untreated, chronic mouth infections are not only painful but also spread bacteria and toxins to the kidneys and other organs.

To prevent dental disease:

  • Clean your dog’s teeth once or twice a week, EVERY WEEK.
  • Do NOT use human toothpaste; it is too foamy and will upset your dog’s stomach. A simple salt-water solution works just fine, or you can get enzymatic canine toothpaste from the veterinarian.
  • With a soft children’s toothbrush, scrub the teeth and gums vigorously. Concentrate on the canines and upper back molars and the outer surface of the gums and teeth. The inner surface collects tartar much more slowly, so if your dog resists, remember it’s not a priority.

If your dog simply won’t let you introduce a toothbrush into his mouth, rub a gauze-covered finger across his teeth and gums, scrubbing gently in a circular motion.

While brushing is a very important component of dental care, there are now commerciatly available products that can be added to your pets drinking water. They effectively prevent microorganisms such as bacteria and yeasts from accumulating and also improve your pets breath. They should be used as part of your pets overall oral care program.

Posted in: Dog FAQs