Regular (and correct) dog teeth cleaning can prevent tooth decay and gum disease..... and keep him healthier all over!
Your puppys' pearly white teeth won't stay that way without regular dental care.
This includes regular brushing/cleaning at home as well as thorough cleaning and descaling at the veterinary clinic.
This two-pronged approach is the very best care you can take of Fidos' teeth - and will have a positive impact on his general health, even on how many years he lives.
If Fido is still a puppy then you've got a head-start because it's easier to get a baby or adolescent puppy familiar with the tooth-brushing procedure than it is an adult, or senior dog.
Plus of course, the younger your pup the better shape his teeth will be in.
Puppy owners can check out this page to learn the ins-and-outs of.... Brushing Puppy Teeth.
Adult dogs who haven't had their teeth brushed or cleaned regularly may already have tartar build-up or some level of gum inflammation/disease.
For that reason, it's always a good idea to have your veterinarian do a thorough dental check up as a first step.
Use these quick links to jump directly to the topic you're especially interested in, or simply scroll down to read the whole page and learn everything you need to know about cleaning your dogs' teeth.
Whenever possible, daily brushing is best for your dogs' teeth.
This is because it takes only about 36 hours for plaque to harden and become tartar.
Once tartar builds up, simple brushing won't remove it, so aim for a daily tooth-brushing session.
If that's not possible, then brush Fido's teeth every other day, or three times a week.
It's going to be a LOT better than not brushing them at all!
These few minutes can make a world of difference to your dogs' dental, and general, health... keeps his breath fresher too and that's always good!
Very occasionally, brushing a dogs' teeth might not be an option.
This can happen if a dog is very unwilling to allow hands near, or in, his mouth for whatever reason.
If this situation you might be able to use one of the popular enzymatic dental sprays available.
With regular use, over time these can help dissolve and remove tartar build up.
Dogs like this need a professional dental cleaning and, if your veterinarian offers it, the application of Oravet gel.
Oravet is 'painted' onto your dogs' teeth and gum-line to create a barrier that helps prevent tartar or bacteria build-up.
The first application is done by your veterinarian and then you will take home additional product to apply weekly. This can really help dogs who simply won't allow their teeth to be brushed.
There are also dental chews, toys and treats that can help to remove plaque and give teeth and gums a workout.
Rope toys and multi-surface toys are good options. Also feeding dry kibble rather than canned dog food can help keep teeth cleaner due to it's abrasive, crunchy texture.
BUT none of these options are as effective as brushing your dogs' teeth.
If you're not able to brush Fidos' teeth regularly, and thoroughly, then he's definitely going to need annual dental check-ups and regular professional dental cleanings to make sure his mouth stays healthy.
Dogs whose teeth are brushed regularly from puppy-hood, still need annual dental check-ups (can be done quickly when the annual vaccinations are given), but generally don't need yearly professional cleanings.
But they will still need the occasional veterinary cleaning because it's not possible to
Learn more about getting your dogs' teeth cleaning done by your vet in the next section....
Thorough, professional dog teeth cleaning procedure is important for ALL dogs, it's just the intervals between these cleanings that varies depending on how good your at-home dog dental care is.
This is because food and particles collect both on the surface of your dogs' teeth, and at the gum-line.
Regular brushing can help keep tartar from building up on the smooth surface of Fidos' teeth.
When you brush/rub where tooth meets gum you are removing much of the 'gunk' that's piling up.
But not all of it.
Over time tiny particles of food, other debris and bacteria get trapped at the gum-line, building a ridge of rock-hard tartar.
Left untreated this tartar causes inflammation which eventually creates space between Fidos' teeth and gums, which leads to tooth decay, loose teeth and even abscesses.
A professional dog dental cleaning is done under a general anesthetic which allows your veterinarian to use dental instruments to scrape away the tartar, and to clean out the gum-line 'pockets' properly... keeping Fidos' teeth AND gums nice and healthy.
If during the procedure your veterinarian comes across any cracked, broken or decayed teeth, or gum tissue that needs to be removed, he will be able to treat those as well.
Sometimes you'll be offered a fluoride treatment that will help strengthen the enamel on your dogs' teeth, and there are also
And finally Fidos' teeth will be rinsed and polished so that they look as healthy as they feel.
The cost of a professional dog teeth cleaning procedure varies and depends on several things including:
For an average, problem-free dog dental cleaning you could get a bill as low as $100, or it could cost $400, or more.
If your dogs' teeth are in bad shape, he has gum disease, or he needs multiple extractions, the cost could reach $1000 or more.
There are simply too many variables for me to give you an accurate estimate.
However, your veterinarian will be able to tell you roughly how much it will cost to have your dogs' teeth cleaned and polished, so just ask.
But left untreated dental decay and gum disease can cause even worse, more expensive, problems such as heart disease so it's important to make sure that you keep on top of this teeth cleaning business!
I'd always recommend getting your pet enrolled in a good pet health insurance plan as early as possible.
It can literally be a life-saver if your pet needs surgery, get seriously ill, develops a chronic condition or needs something like extensive dental work.
Check out this page to learn all about dog health insurance - it's totally worth it.
There are lots of options when it comes to choosing dog dental care tools.
Here's a look at some of the best, and most popular products and choices: