Preventative Care@3x

Dog Owners Guide to Dog Dental Health

Feb 22, 2023 | All About Animals, Ask a Vet, AZPetVet, Cat, Dog, For Your Pet, Pet Safety, Preventive Care


The Importance of Pet Dental Care


Virtually no one likes going to the dentist…but we all know it’s important! Pet dental care should never be ignored. Proper dental hygiene is critical to keeping your pet healthy and happy, helping to avoid potentially life-threatening issues associated with dental disease. 

Nearly 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have dental disease by age three.


How to Spot Dental Disease in Dogs


Periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed preventable disease in dogs and cats. 

There are strong links between gum disease and heart disease in humans and animals, so prevention is the key. Your veterinarian can spot signs of dental disease during your pet’s annual wellness exam and provide you with treatment options. In between exams, here are some things you can look for on your own:

  • Get down on their level. Flip the lip. Take a close look at the REAL condition of their teeth.
  • Are their gums pink and healthy, or red and inflamed?
  • Can you see discolorations on the teeth or at the gum line?
  • Is there evidence of any loose, cracked, or broken teeth?


Dental disease in dogs, cats, and people can be prevented, treated, and, if caught early, even reversed. Here are some tips for pet dental care and preventing pet dental disease:

  1. Work directly with your veterinarian to create a pet dental care plan.
  2. Combine regular home brushing of your dogs’ teeth with veterinary cleanings and dental care to keep periodontal disease at bay.
  3. Brush your pet’s teeth daily with pet-safe toothpaste specially formulated to impede the formation of tartar. Your vet can recommend a good one (don’t use human toothpaste). Regular brushing helps reduce plaque and keeps Fido’s breath smelling sweeter.
  4. If your pet resists teeth brushing, try dog dental chews incorporating brushless enzymatic toothpaste for dogs—the flavored paste is designed to appeal to the pet palate. Some types need a squeeze of toothpaste inside the grooves of the dental chew before serving; others incorporate the tooth-cleaning ingredients into the chew formula! 
  5. Give your dog dental chew toys – the gnawing also helps reduce plaque formation on the teeth. These are not replacements for brushing but will help keep your pet’s mouth clean and fresh.
  6. Schedule regular dental cleanings with your veterinarian. Now is always the perfect time to get a cleaning scheduled! Click here to find an AZPetVet location near you.


Want to know a bit more about pet dental care? Check out the following resources:

American Kennel Club: Best Toothpaste for Dogs Including Tips for Canine Oral Health

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.