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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Dr. Michael Dym
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Dental Care Guide for Dogs

Dental care for your dog isn't just about pretty teeth. It also has an effect on his or her kidneys and the heart, which is why a regular dental care routine for your dog is important. With routine toothbrushing, dental cleanings, and overall care, you can help add years to your dog's life. A toothpaste specially formulated for dogs, dental chews and treats, water additives, and oral rinses are some of the products recommended for maintaining your dog's dental health. Follow these steps to prevent your dog from having tartar and plaque buildup, periodontal disease, and/or bad breath.

Practice regular toothbrushing with your dog
  • Start with enzymatic toothpaste such as C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpaste. Toothpaste formulated for human use should never be used on pets as it can make your pet ill.
  • Brush your dog's teeth with a finger brush like the Petrodex Finger Toothbrush or a dual-sided toothbrush. Note: Finger brushes are usually better to start with; however, some dogs don't mind other toothbrushes.
  • Put a small amount of the toothpaste onto the brush and rub over the teeth, front and back and side to side.
  • After you've brushed all of the teeth, give a small dental treat to your dog to signal a job well done and to get some of the toothpaste off of the teeth.
Kill bad breath-causing bacteria

It's no secret bacteria lives inside your dog's mouth, but did you know it can also be found in your dog's water bowl? Dental care products such as water additives can help whiten your dog's teeth, and kill bacteria in your dog's bowl and mouth. Dental rinses can help freshen your dog's breath and fight plaque.

Monitor your dog's oral health

Periodically you should look into your dog's mouth to check for possible health concerns. Lift up the lips and inspect the gums and the teeth, in every angle that you can. Look for:

  • Inflamed/red or bleeding gums
  • Brown or yellow buildup on your dog's teeth
  • Loose or missing teeth

Any of these, as well as unusually bad breath, can be a sign of serious dental problems, which you will want to address with your veterinarian.

Max's Tip

In a full dental cleaning, your dog is anesthetized and then the teeth are scaled and polished, with any problems being taken care of during the cleaning.

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