Dog Tooth Care: An Owner's Guide

Dog tooth care is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your dog's continued good health. Here are some of the elements of good dog tooth care explained.

Veterinary Dental Exams

Your dog should have his first veterinary dental exam at the age of six months, and then again at one year. Subsequent veterinary dental exams should occur annually. Tooth cleaning should form a part of these exams.

Home Dental Care

Home dog tooth care is indispensable to your dog's dental hygiene. Many owners don't realize how quickly their dogs can succumb to gingivitis and even more serious forms of gum disease; by age 3, 80% of dogs suffer from gum disease.

Tooth-brushing is the most important element of dog tooth care. You should begin a tooth-brushing regimen as early in your dog's life as possible, preferably before the age of 6 months. Young puppies are far more adaptable than adult dogs and will adjust to having their teeth brushed with much less distress.

Remember to use toothpaste specially designed for dogs. You can buy a finger-brush that will make it easier to brush your dog's teeth. If your dog can't adjust to tooth-brushing, dental treats and oral washes may be used as an alternative dog tooth care regimen.

Proper Diet

Your dog's diet can also impact his dental hygiene. Hard kibble is abrasive and will help keep your dog's teeth clean, while canned food can cause increased plaque build-up and contribute to tooth decay.