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5 Ways to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Healthy

December 1, 2019

Just like people, dogs can suffer from a variety of dental issues. Some of the most common dental problems seen in dogs include gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth fractures, and tooth abscesses. To learn more about these issues and how to prevent them, check out our article on Common Dental Issues in Dogs. Dental care is very important to your canine friend’s overall health and well-being! Unfortunately, this aspect of dog care is often inadvertently overlooked, even by some very devoted pet parents. We can help! Read on as a Salem, VA vet lists some ways to Fido’s teeth healthy.


The best way to keep your dog’s teeth healthy is by brushing them. Start by gently massaging Fido’s teeth and gums with your finger. Incorporate praise and cuddles, so your four-legged friend knows he’s being pampered. Next, you can move on to using pet toothpaste and a pet toothbrush. You can also get finger ‘toothbrushes’ that you put on. You don’t have to do your pup’s entire mouth daily. Just doing one section at a time is fine!

Doggy Dental Products

There are now several pet products that are specifically formulated to remove plaque and tartar. Dental-formula kibble and treats are quite popular. Oral rinses, as the name suggests, are liquids that help fight plaque and gingivitis. You can also get dental flakes, which you would sprinkle into your furry pal’s food. Ask your vet for specific recommendations on these products.

Chew Toys

Did you know that chewing is actually good for Fido’s teeth? It keeps his jaw muscles strong, and stimulates the flow of saliva, which helps wash away food particles. (Tip: put some flavored doggy toothpaste on a chew and let your pooch have at it!)


Make sure Fido always has plenty of fresh water. This is of course important for many reasons, but it’s absolutely crucial to your furry friend’s dental health. Clean your pup’s bowl daily, so dirt and bacteria don’t build up.


Fido should have his teeth checked at least once a year, starting at age one. In between his appointments, you’ll want to watch for warning signs, such as bad breath; ropy or bloody drool; bloody smears on toys; tartar buildup; and/or swelling. Your pooch may act a bit grumpy if his teeth hurt, and he may lose interest in play. Dental issues can also cause dogs to change their eating habits. If you notice any of these red flags, it’s important to schedule an appointment with our Veterinary Dentistry services right away to address the problem and prevent further complications.

Our Advice on Ways to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Healthy in 2024

What is the most effective way to maintain your dog’s dental health?

The cornerstone of maintaining your dog’s dental health is regular brushing with pet-specific toothpaste and a suitable toothbrush or fingerbrush. Initiating this habit gently and gradually can help your dog become comfortable. Complementing brushing with dental-specific diets, chew toys that promote mechanical cleaning, and routine veterinary check-ups enhances oral hygiene further. These steps not only remove plaque and tartar but also prevent the development of dental diseases. Starting dental care early and incorporating it into your dog’s daily routine ensures the best outcomes for their oral health and overall well-being.

What are some dog-specific dental products that help in removing plaque and tartar?

Several dog-specific dental products are designed to combat plaque and tartar effectively. Dental-formula kibble and treats are engineered to mechanically clean teeth as your dog chews. Oral rinses can be added to your dog’s water or applied directly to the gums to help reduce plaque and freshen breath. Dental chews and toys are formulated or shaped to scrub the teeth, stimulating saliva flow, naturally cleaning the mouth. Additionally, enzymatic toothpaste specifically for dogs helps break down plaque and tartar without harsh brushing. Always seek veterinary advice to choose the best products for your pet’s specific needs.

What are the warning signs of dental issues in dogs that pet owners should watch for?

Pet owners should be vigilant for several warning signs of dental issues in dogs, which include bad breath, visible tartar buildup, red or swollen gums, and difficulty eating or a change in eating habits. Dogs may also exhibit drooling more than usual, which could be bloody or not, and a reluctance to play with chew toys. Additionally, you might notice your dog pawing at their mouth or showing signs of discomfort when their mouth or head is touched. If any of these symptoms are observed, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian promptly to address potential dental problems and prevent further complications.

Why is it important to clean your dog’s water bowl regularly?

Regularly cleaning your dog’s water bowl is essential to prevent the buildup of bacteria, algae, and fungi, which can pose health risks. Water bowls, especially those left outdoors, can quickly become contaminated with environmental debris and saliva, creating a breeding ground for pathogens. These contaminants can lead to gastrointestinal and other infections in dogs. Moreover, fresh, clean water is vital for your dog’s overall health, aiding in digestion, nutrient absorption, and temperature regulation. A clean bowl encourages your dog to drink more water, staying hydrated and supporting kidney function and dental health.

How can pet owners address their dog’s dental issues effectively?

Pet owners can address their dog’s dental issues effectively by establishing a comprehensive dental care routine. This includes regular brushing with canine-specific toothpaste, providing dental chews and toys that promote gum health and reduce plaque, and ensuring access to fresh water. Incorporating dental-friendly diets can also make a significant difference. Regular veterinary check-ups, including professional dental cleanings, are crucial for identifying and treating issues early on. Watching for signs of dental problems, such as bad breath, discomfort while eating, or visible tartar, and seeking prompt veterinary care ensures timely intervention and prevents more serious health complications.

Please contact us, your Salem, VA pet clinic, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs. We’re happy to help!

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