Show Off Those Pearly Whites: 7 Ways to Maintain Good Oral Health in Your Dog

    Puppy breath and sweet kisses from your dog are signs of a happy, healthy pet who is well-cared for and loved. At the same time, these loving moments with your dog can help you care for your dog's oral health—if you know what to look for.

    Check out these seven tips for maintaining good oral health care in dogs to keep your dog happy and healthy.

    1. Aim for Daily Toothbrushing

    Brush the dog's teeth

    Just like humans, dogs need their teeth brushed daily. Some dogs, however, dislike having their teeth brushed. In which case, the American Kennel Club recommends you try a variety of toothpaste flavors, toothbrush types and textures, and training to help get your dog used to at-home teeth cleanings.

    Chopper's dentist recommended we get toothpaste with the Veterinary Oral Health Council(VOHC) seal. This seal is managed by the American Veterinary Dental College and shows that your dog's toothpaste passed tests for plaque and tartar control.

    2. Schedule Routine Visits to the Vet

    If routine teeth brushing is not enough for your dog, a more proactive approach to your dog's oral health is to schedule a regular checkup for your dog. Take your dog to the vet once a year for a yearly checkup (or in some cases, every 3 to 6 months, depending on your dog's health and your vet's recommendation.)

    Though there are dentists for dogs who specialize in teeth cleaning, most pet owners do not need to schedule an appointment with the dentist unless the veterinarian refers them. A professional teeth cleaning requires anesthesia for your dog and can cost between $200 to $3,000, depending on the condition of your dog's teeth, your dog's age, and overall health.

    Some dog breeds may need to visit the vet more regularly than others because they're more susceptible to oral diseases or behavioral habits that can negatively affect their teeth. PetMD states that the following breeds are more likely to experience dental problems:

    • Collies
    • Dachshunds
    • Yorkies
    • Chihuahuas
    • Boxers
    • Great Danes
    • Bulldogs
    • Labradors
    • German Shepherds
    • Shih Tzus

    Even if your dog's breed isn't on this list, always check with your dog's vet to see if you need to provide more frequent dental care.

    3. Examine Your Dog's Mouth Regularly

    Your dog's oral care doesn't stop at teeth brushing and vet visits—one way that you can catch oral health problems early on is to examine your dog's mouth at home. You know your dog best, so any signs of discomfort, decreased eating habits, or changes in oral behavior should warrant an inspection.

    While it might seem intimidating to take a peek in your dog's mouth, doing so is a fast process that can help keep your dog safe.

    Keep an eye out for these dental warning signs:

    • Bad breath
    • Lumps, bumps, and discoloration
    • Tooth cracks or movement
    • Excess tartar buildup
    • Blood on the gums, tongue, or cheeks

    If you see any of the above or witness other unusual changes in your pet, contact the vet to schedule an appointment and rule out any health problems.

    Check on your dog's teeth

    4. Avoid Giving Your Dog Sweets

    Kids aren't the only ones who shouldn't eat too much candy; sweets have a way of deteriorating teeth in dogs, too! Sugar encourages plaque-causing bacteria growth, which also increases acid production in the mouth. This acid breaks down tooth enamel, making it susceptible to cavities, weakness, and even fractures.

    So, keep sugar away from dogs, and be sure to brush your dog's teeth after eating anything with natural sugars, like fruit.

    5. Keep Your Dog Hydrated

    A dog's water bowl is a dog's best friend—at least when it comes to your pup's teeth! Water rinses food particles and bacteria away and moistens the mouth, which encourages saliva production. Saliva contains enzymes that break down food, helping to rid the mouth of food particles.

    6. Make Use of Dental Dog Treats

    Using Retreads High Roller Plus Chew Toy As Treat Holder For Dental Treat

    While you're busy keeping sugary drinks and snacks out of your dog's reach and making sure your dog gets enough water, consider replacing those pesky cavity-inducing foods with dental dog treats. Dental treats placed inside the High Roller Plus dog toy last longer and help keep plaque and tartar buildup low so that your dog's teeth are protected from cavities and periodontitis (gum disease).

    Periodontitis in dogs is a silent disease that often presents little to no major warning signs until later stages. The worst part is that it's extremely common. According to VCA Hospitals, more than 80% of dogs ages three and up experience dental disease! Advanced stages of gum disease in dogs lead to loose or missing teeth, jaw issues, and even eye and organ problems.

    Switch to dental dog treats that are:

    • Listed on the VOHC dental treat list
    • Grain- and gluten-free
    • Free of artificial coloring or sweeteners
    • Preservative-free
    • Easy on the teeth (for dogs with sensitive teeth)

    7. Choose Chew Toys for Dental Health

    Another way to get your dog to willingly participate in good teeth cleaning practices is to use dental dog toys. Dental chew toys encourage your dog to have playtime fun and reduce tartar and plaque buildup. These chew toys also serve as a great replacement for potentially dangerous chew toys that you might have lying around the house.

    A few of our top picks for dental chew toys include:

    Dental Towering Teeth Cleaning Chew Toy

    The ridge design on dental tower chew toy helps improving dog's oral health

    The Dental Tower is as magnificent as it sounds. This durable chew toy comes with groovy ridges that are designed to help prevent tartar from building up on your dog's pearly whites. Dogs love grabbing this toy and chewing away at it, and the best part is they don't even realize they're cleaning their teeth!

    Mod Treat Bone Chew Toy

    MOD Treat Bone Chew Toy comes with treat holes that makes the chew time more fun and engaging for dogs

    This chew toy may look like a flute, but it's really a toy that is masterfully designed to hide dental treats inside. This chew toy helps massage dogs' gums and teeth to help keep that smile nice and clean. For smaller or medium-sized dogs, try out the Mod Wishbone!

    Honey Dripper Bone Chew Toy

    Honeycomb inspired design pattern keeps dogs interested in chewing and helps improving dog's oral health

    Take your dog's bone to the next level with the Honey Dripper chew toy. This dental toy is another durable bestseller that can encourage your dog to maintain a healthy mouth while keeping your pet entertained. There are three different sizes to choose from so that all dogs have a toy that can help promote good oral health.


    Until next time--

    Chopper & Otis See you Next Time