Care & Husbandry: The Importance of Home Dental Care for Dogs

While you may be great at keeping up with your dental hygiene and scheduling regular dentists visits, are you as diligent about your dog's dental health? The answer to this for many dogs owners is unsurprisingly "no." In this blog, we'll dive into the importance of proper at home dental care for dogs, how it can prevent common dental diseases and complications, and what you need to do as an owner to keep your dog smiling with those pearly whites!

1. Perio-dontal Defined

  • "Perio" means around, and "dontal" means tooth, highlighting that periodontal disease affects the area around the outside of the tooth.
  • Illustrated anatomy of the tooth includes the crown, root, and attachment to the bone.

2. Pets vs. Humans

  • Pets lack dental hygiene practices like brushing and flossing, leading to dental issues.
  • 85 percent of pets develop periodontal disease by the age of 3.

3. Consequences of Neglect

  • Lack of regular care results in plaque mineralizing into tartar, causing inflammation, tooth loss, and potential jaw bone issues.
  • Bacteria from the mouth can spread, causing infections in various body areas.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

1. Professional Cleaning

  • Required every 6-12 months, involving anesthesia for proper attention to each tooth.
  • Tartar removal, root planing, enamel polishing, and disinfection are essential steps.

2. Home Care

  • Daily brushing is ideal, with even twice a week showing benefits.
  • Importance of becoming comfortable examining a pet's mouth and assessing dental health.
  • Tartar deposits indicate the need for professional cleaning.

Products and Techniques for Home Care

1. Toothpaste and Brushing

  • Animal toothpaste in various flavors prevents sudsing agents.
  • Finger brushes for puppies and kittens.
  • Daily brushing or at least three times a week recommended.

2. Dental Wipes, Rinses, and Pads

  • Suitable for pets intolerant to brushing, wiping off plaque daily.

3. OraVetĀ® Preventives

  • Gel and chew options providing weekly and daily solutions for plaque prevention.

4. Dental Treats

  • Daily use reduces plaque and tartar up to 69%, with appropriate size and ingredients.

5. Dental Diets

  • Large kibble sizes encourage chewing, and high fiber aids in plaque removal.
  • Effective for molars and premolars, less so for fangs and incisors.

6. Greenies

  • Approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council, these treats aid in plaque removal with daily use.

The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)

  • Evaluates and awards the VOHC Seal of Approval to dental products proving efficacy in plaque and tartar control.


  • Judicious use of chew toys to avoid choking hazards and intestinal obstructions.
  • Potential risks of diseased teeth breaking during chewing activities.
  • Caution against inappropriate chew toys like cow hooves and bones, which can lead to tooth fractures.
  • Pig ears, while favored by dogs, might pose bacterial contamination and are not studied for dental disease prevention.

At the end of the day, dog owners should be aware of the importance of both professional dental care and consistent home care in ensuring the oral health and overall well-being of pets, preventing the consequences of neglected dental hygiene.

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