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    The Ultimate Dog Dental Care Guide

    The Ultimate Dog Dental Care Guide

    by Health & Wellness / 3 min read


    Estimated Read Time: 4 ½ minutes

    Summary: In this blog, we learn all about dog dental care. We’ll learn how to brush dog’s teeth, how often you should do it, and why dog dental care is so important...


    Bad breath is common problem for all dogs, particularly smaller dog breeds which are more prone to tartar and plaque build-up.

    It is very easy to just dismiss bad breath in dogs as something that is normal, but it could be the first sign that something quite serious is wrong. Periodontal disease is extremely common in dogs with poor dental hygiene and, unfortunately, the only obvious symptom is bad breath [1].

    Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth building up on the teeth and gums, which can result in tooth loss and unhealthy dog gums.

    Bad breath can also be down to a build-up of bacteria in the lungs, gut or mouth.

    So, when it comes to dental care, here are the things you can do to improve your dog’s dental health to keep bad breath at bay…

    Brush Your Dog's Teeth

    Yes, dog’s get plaque build up just like we do, so they also need to have their teeth brushed too. In order to help your dog live a happy and full life, cleaning their teeth regularly is imperative. 

    Bacteria naturally settles on the teeth after every meal, which can cause a build-up of plaque and tartar. If a dog’s teeth are not regularly cleaned, that tartar can lead to inflammation and oral tenderness as well as unhealthy dog gums and conditions like gingivitis (a gum infection) and gum/periodontal disease. 

    If you've had your dog from a young age, it is easier to get them used to having their teeth cleaned, as they will be much more familiar and comfortable with you introducing them to new things. For those who have adopted a dog from an older age – especially one that is not accustomed to having their teeth brushed – it may be more difficult, but trust you will get there! You can start by using an “invisible” finger brush (a transparent brush that sits on the end of your finger), which your dog may not find so frightening.

    Introduce a doggy toothbrush as early as you can so that they’ll be more tolerant to it and make sure, just like when you’re training, to have patience, a regular schedule and use treats to create a positive association!

    How To Brush Dog’s Teeth

    Check out our handy PetLab Co. guide on how to brush a dog’s teeth below:

    A How To Brush Dog's Teeth Step-By-Step Guide

    PetLab Co. Pro Tip: It’s important to take your dog to the vet for a deep tooth clean at least once a year, preferably twice. These visits also give your vet a chance to do a thorough check, enabling them to spot and respond to any issues before they become big (and expensive!) problems.


    You should brush your dog’s teeth two/three times a week with a dog enzymatic toothpaste and use a dog specific dental mouthwash every day. Do not use human toothpaste on dogs, as it may contain ingredients that are harmful to their digestion.

    When it comes to mouthwash, look for one from a reputable pet brand that contains high-quality ingredients like Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate, which are effective at supporting canine dental health. The mouthwash should advertize that it targets the build-up of plaque and tartar, and promise to leave your dog’s teeth, breath and gums in excellent condition!

    Offer Chew Toys & Bones

    There are many synthetic bones and chew toys specifically designed to keep your dog’s teeth strong and healthy. But avoid ones that are too hard, as they can cause your pooch to break their teeth.

    It’s important to provide things for your dog to chew on (that obviously aren’t your furniture!) as this will help keep your dog’s teeth healthy, and prevent the build of bacteria.

    Why not try out some doggy dental chews or sticks? By using doggy dental chews/sticks you are making sure that your dog’s gums and surrounding tissue are kept healthy and clean. These chews also excel in getting into the hard to reach places – with little effort on your part!

    Good dental sticks or chews for dogs will help to fight the build-up of plaque and tartar, cleaning as many teeth as is possible whilst also supporting overall oral health and providing a tasty and nutritious snack! Just 1 a day can freshen any dog’s stinky breath whilst providing optimum daily dental care for your pup and prevent unhealthy dog gums. Remember, always source from a reputable, ethical pet brand.

    A profile of a collie dog's face, close up with their mouth open so you can see their teeth against a pale blue sky.

    Be Wary Of These Ingredients

    When purchasing dog treats and foods, always read the labels and try to avoid grains, filler and additives as well as added carbohydrates and sugars that are found in many pet foods. These provide substance for bad bacteria to thrive on.

    Natural is always best, so check out products from reputable companies who specialise in dogs, and that focus on naturally sourced ingredients and items. Knowing this will give you the confidence that your dog’s tooth and gum health is being preserved and protected, and help you avoid costly vet bills later on in their life.

    When To See A Vet

    Looking after your dog’s dental health also means knowing what signs to look out for. If you see any of the following, we recommend heading to your vet:

    • A change in eating or chewing habits

    • Pawing at the face or mouth

    • Excessive drooling

    • Discolored, broken or crooked teeth

    • Red, swollen, painful or bleeding gums

    • Yellowish-brown tartar build up around the gums

    • Growths in the mouth.

    Dog Dental Care

    When it comes to doggy dental health, prevention really is key! There’s no doubt regarding the importance of this. Regular brushing, and using chews and mouthwash daily will make sure that you keep any harmful, unhealthy dog gums and long-term dental problems at bay. Remember, a healthy dog is a happy dog!


    “AVDC Nomeclature” American Veterinary Dental College

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