How To Protect Your Dog’s Dental Health

If you are a Dog Mom like me, you are always worrying about how to keep your baby safe and healthy, and bring out the best.

We’ve all heard the myth that “A Dog’s Mouth Is Cleaner Than A Human’s Mouth”.

Not necessarily true. Dogs do have enzymes that kill bacteria in their mouths. However,  think of all the things they lick and eat, especially out on a walk.  The mouth can be a breeding ground for germs that may lead to all sort of health issues if not properly cared for. Plaque and gingivitis can develop in your dog’s mouth that can lead to discomfort and even life-threatening infections. Although dogs may not be as naturally prone to teeth issues as humans, they still require regular dental health check-ups and maintenance. Protect your dog’s heart, kidneys and liver with good dental health practices.

How to protect your dog's dental health- Black Lab smiling

We sat down with Dr Jonathan Mittelman of Vets Toronto to get his pro tips for improving and maintaining your dog’s oral health. Here’s what signs to look for and avoid in order to keep your dog happy and smiling.


Does Your Dog Have Bad Breath or Other Signs?

Bad breath, halitosis or “Dog Breath” is caused by bacteria in your dog’s mouth and is not normal. When plaque, tartar, and bacteria build-up in your dog’s mouth, it can lead to periodontal disease and odor. Plaque is soft and can be brushed away. However, if you leave it untouched, layers of plaque can accumulate. Tartar can form a hard deposit on teeth that further traps bacteria in and under the gumline. Poor gum health such as bleeding gums and loose or exposed teeth can lead to infections getting directly into the bloodstream .

Complete oral care is important for your dog’s overall health and can add years to their lifespan.

What Are You Doing To Help Your Dog’s Dental Health?

  • Brush your dog’s teeth 1-2 times a day just like your own to remove plaque and bacteria (I try but I confess I fail here).
  • Use a canine toothbrush or wrap for your finger and doggy toothpaste (Yes- I ran out and bought these as soon as we started fostering Kilo)
  • Do Not Use Human Toothpaste.

Read more tips for How To Clean Dog Teeth At Home from Pet My Pet.

Other Products that Can Help Your Dog’s Dental Health

Kilo is not a fan of having his teeth brushed. Any dog owners who have tried brushing their dog’s teeth know it can be a challenge! The good news is that things Kilo loves can help.

  • Chew Toys
  • Hard Kibble
  • Specialty Treats
  • Bully Sticks like our Favourite Bullwrinkles

These benefit your dog’s oral health by massaging the gums and removing loose tartar from teeth. Working away on a Bully Stick or hard treat or toy also helps relieve boredom and satisfies a dog’s desire to chew. It really relaxes Kilo and his teeth look pretty good- a win-win.

Last week I also heard about the benefits of a raw food diet for canine teeth. We will be exploring that further.

Kilo the pug with greenies treat in mouth

Kilo the pug with a Greenies treat

Greenies provide teeth cleaning and total oral care for pets. They were the first treat to receive the VETERINARY ORAL HEALTH COUNCIL Seal of Acceptance for control of plaque and tartar buildup. Kilo loves the taste, smell and texture of Greenies and they are a good size for him. He took the chew right away and didn’t let go! Of course, you need to supervise your dog with any chew. I like the resealable package I got too. I just found them a little high in calories to have too often and was not sure about the colour.

 Kilo + Pizzle

Kilo also loves Bullwrinkles which offer hours of chew time and strong anecdotal evidence of dental benefits- I understand they are looking at applying for the seal of approval. I love that they are all-natural, human grade, high in protein, low in fat, no additives with naturally occurring glucosamine and chondroitin which are also believed to have health benefits. As with any additional treats or chews, I just have to watch the calories with the greedy Pug.

Share Your Tips And Stories On How To Protect Your Dog’s Dental Health Below!

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  • Mr. N gets lots of chews and I brush his teeth every day.

  • Got to keep those teeth in shape!

  • We brush our teeth every day, and get some dental chews throughout the week as well. Healthy teeth are very important.

  • I give Layla bones plus I put Tropic Clean in her water and its working great, from black dirty teeth five years ago when I rescued her, they are pearlywhite now 🙂 My vet is very happy

  • Great tips! One thing we do slightly differently is we use human, baby toothbrushes. We found that the bristles are made better than dog toothbrushes. It’s so important to tend to the dental health of pets – so your post is great at helping get the word out!

  • One of my dogs had a lot of tartar built up so my vet recommended I start giving her dental treats. I was surprised to see that it has worked. I probably still need to start brushing their teeth though.

  • There seem to be quite a few more dental health treats, chews etc available for dogs – it’s definitely a little harder to keep the cats teeth clean and in good shape.

  • I am lucky that Bentley LOVES to have his teeth brushed and Pierre has gotten MUCH better with his too.

  • The picture of Kilo and his greenie treat is adorable. Also, dental health is so important and can have a large impact in an animal’s life. We do dental cleanings with our doxies every year or every other year.

  • Great tips! I didn’t start brushing with Keira until she was older and she really hates it. Starting young was key with Rosa!

  • Since we rescued Shasta he has been VERY opposed to brushing his teeth but I needed to do something so I started using PetSafe’s Bristle Bone.

  • Great tips! Keeping those teeth clean are important!

  • These are great tips! Our dogs dental health really is so important!

  • We brush daily and always have. None of my dogs ever needed a professional cleaning. TY for advocating for good dental care for dogs!

  • Mary gets a lot of dental chews, I sadly have a difficult time with brushing so I know it is not getting done a well as it should be.

    It is so interesting that bad teeth can cause humans to become very ill too. It seems that many things that we need to do as hoomans we need to do with our fur babies too to keep them health. Just being sure to use the appropriate dog product for the job.

    Thanks for sharing. Great post!

  • Kilo is so cute!
    Bully sticks are my favorite edible chew by far, followed by a raw marrow bone (just because they can be messy and are a lot for one sitting). The dogs’ teeth have looked good for every vet well check so far, but Iv’e started noticing some tartar, especially along the inside of the little front teeth. I prefer the finger brushes to full toothbrushes, and clearly, need to start putting my finger to work!

  • We do get dental treats and the vet checks our teeth on a regular basis. Mom Paula needs to get motivated to try and brush our teeth.

  • It’s so important to take care of your dogs teeth, for us finding the right toothbrush was the key! 🙂

  • Lol, thinking of all the ‘interesting’ things while out walking. BLACH! Great information with different options – thanks.

  • This is such an important message to continually share. Dental disease in dogs can lead to more serious health problems. I attempt to brush my dogs’ teeth with little success so I give them dental chews & chew toys with nubs on them.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them