Irritation or inflammation along the gum line, obviously damaged teeth, redness, bleeding or abscesses can be indicative of dental problems in dogs. Bad breath—which can seem harmless enough—can also be an indicator that something has gone wrong inside your dog’s mouth. (While the occasional bit of bad breath may not mean anything, it’s worth looking for a cause if your dog exhibits a consistent case of severely bad breath.)
Taking care of your dog’s teeth can help prevent dental disease, which can lead to serious illness if left untreated. Establish a daily toothbrushing routine for your dog—you do it for yourself, why not do it for him? Use only pet-designated toothbrushes and toothpaste—using toothpaste intended for humans can be harmful for your dog. There are several varieties of canine toothbrushes available, including the kind that slip onto your finger like a glove. Using a soft washcloth or piece of gauze works well too, especially for puppies that are getting used to having their teeth cleaned. Many dogs enjoy the flavor of dog toothpaste, and will appreciate the time you spend caring for their teeth.
Make your dog’s playtime and treat time beneficial to his oral health with dental toys made of rope or rubber. These toys are designed to rub against your dog’s teeth as he chews to help remove plaque and tartar buildup. Dental treats and chews can also help clean teeth and freshen breath.
Taking proper care of your dog’s teeth can help him live a longer, healthier life. If you have any questions about your dog’s dental health, consult with your veterinarian.