Tips to Take Care of Your Dog’s Teeth at Home


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Dogs love chewing a lot of stuff – both edible and non-edible. Puppies, on the other hand, use mouthing to ease the discomfort of the teething phase. These subjects the daggers of your pet to potential problems like tartar buildup and broken teeth. Dog teeth cleaning cost can be pricey depending on the condition, so it’s imperative to practice some dental care regimen at home.

Although dental problems rarely lead to serious health issues to humans, it can be for your pet. It can cause liver, kidney, and even heart issues if not addressed or diagnosed early on. According to veterinarians, about 85% of dogs age 4 and above have at least one dental problem.

Common dog dental problems

Bad breath is one of the most common concerns of pet owners. Usually, this is due to failure to clean their mouths. But bad breath shouldn’t be written off as a mere case of filth. It can also be a symptom of a more serious dental disease.

To give you an idea, here are some of the most common dental problems dogs face:

➳Periodontal disease

Swollen and bleeding gums could be caused by intense chewing, but there’s a chance that your pet has periodontal disease. This is the most common dental problem among dogs. When too much plaque forms on the dog’s teeth, it will start to make the gums puffy. If this progresses and the plaque goes deeper into the gum line, that’s when periodontal disease takes place.

Since some spots of the gums are open and bleeding, infection becomes imminent. It will also force the gums to recede, thus tooth loss and a host of more dental problems.


Gingivitis is basically the phase before the dental issue becomes a full-fledged periodontal disease. This is when the plaque digs into the gums which results to wounds and bleeding. Such a thing opens a passageway for various infections to enter the gum line. Depending on the extent of the infection, gingivitis can become life-threatening.

➳Loose teeth

If you have a teething puppy currently transitioning to adult daggers, falling teeth is normal, so to speak. This would take place between their first 4 to six months. However, it doesn’t mean you no longer have to be observant. Look for two teeth occupying one space. If there’s any, it’s best to bring your pet to the vet to have it removed.

For adult dogs, loose teeth due to trauma or infections are equally alarming. It can progress into a periodontal disease if not treated.

➳Retained baby teeth

During the 5th or 6th month of your puppy, it’s normal for a few baby teeth to be intact. This should fall off soon as the adult daggers sprout. But it the milk teeth are still attached on their 7th or 8th month, you should seek the help of a veterinarian. Retained baby teeth may result in crooked adult fangs. That will cause biting and chewing issues in the long run.


Malocclusion or misaligned teeth also happens to dogs. Many breeds have their own trademark bites and can be checked for potential malocclusion. The misalignment of the teeth in the upper and lower jaw will cause chewing difficulties. A tooth might be grazing a soft tissue when the dog is eating.

The vet may perform realigning solutions – not braces – to correct the malocclusion. If the cause is genetic, your dog will be best neutered to prevent the reproduction of pups with the same condition.

➳Tooth root abscess

Tooth root abscess is an excruciating dental problem for both humans and dogs. It happens when the tooth root contracts infection and the abscess starts to build up. Your dog will drop the food from his mouth and there would be noticeable swelling on his face.  If there’s a bump, redness, or unusual growth inside your pet’s mouth, you have to send him to the vet to remove the abscess.

➳Tooth trauma

Uncontrollable chewing is a big problem for two things: it’s destructive and your dog will break his teeth. Tugging games and impact are the most common causes of a cracked or broken tooth. In some cases, the nerve of the tooth will be exposed. It will be painful and there’s a high risk that infections will set in.

How to spot dental problems

Home check-ups are the key to spotting a dental issue even before it took a worse turn. Observe your pet and always check its mouth for possible infections. As a short guide, here are the steps I employ to skip the exorbitant dog teeth cleaning cost:

➳Sniff it

I have a terrible gag reflex and I gag whenever I smell something awful. But I take the risk for my dog, anyway. You don’t necessarily have to put your nose inside their mouths. Just sniff it randomly when the dog is facing you or if the pooch is panting. A little stinky? Something might be going on inside your doggo’s mouth.

➳Lip check

Checking your dog’s mouth can be challenging, especially if he’s not used to such stimulation. What you can do here is lovingly cuddle with him and make sure he’s facing you. Slowly lift his lips and check for the teeth beneath. The gums should be pinkish and not dark. There should be no swelling too. Watch out for plaque buildup as well.

“Make it a habit to look at your pet’s mouth to spot problems as it arises.”

Signs that your dog has dental problems

No matter how keen our eyes are in checking for potential dental issues, some symptoms may slip our watch. Take note, too, that some signs of dental problems don’t necessarily manifest physically. For a quick guide, here are some of the telltale signs you should look for:

➳ Bad breath

➳Loose teeth

➳Swollen gums

➳Too much drooling

➳Dental cysts

➳Difficulty chewing

➳Whimpering when chewing

➳Dropping food items suddenly

Take note that some of these may not directly indicate a dental problem. But if something unusual occurs on your dog’s body, it’s important to take action – regardless if it’s a dental problem or not.

How to brush dog teeth properly

Like humans, regular brushing for dogs will go a long way. It helps remove tartar and dirt your dog got while chewing things outdoors. But unlike how humans brush their teeth, it’s way different when it comes to dogs.

➳Get the right brush

When cleaning your canine’s teeth, make sure to use the best dog toothbrush. The best bet is a two-headed brush with angled bristles. This will help clean the gum line while touching all the teeth on the exterior side.

➳Brush in a straight line

Remember, you’re brushing a doggo and not a toddler. Just go in straight lines sideways to cover the gum line and the teeth. You only have to brush the outer layer. When the dog licks the toothpaste, his tongue will do the internal cleaning. It’s almost impossible to brush the inside of your dog’s without excessive gagging and potential aggression.

➳Start early

It’s advisable to get your dog used to the act of brushing as early as possible. Start when your pet is still a puppy so things will be easier when he’s bigger.

To know more about this, Dr. Mike Ontiveros demonstrates proper brushing with doggo Lola on this video:

Using dental chews

When I brought my tartar-ridden canine to the vet, I was told that dental chews will help reduce this problem. Dental chews can be anything that your dog can chomp on that will remove trapped food bits between their teeth. It’s a great addition to the best dog toothbrush.

Rawhide bones are good options, but you should monitor your pet to avoid choking. Dog toys are also excellent, but make sure that it’s soft enough to be chewed. Aside from cleaning the teeth of your dog, this will also help in strengthening their daggers.

More tips to handle dog dental care at home

As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to keep your dog’s teeth pearly white. If you don’t have time for brushing, you can do the following:

➳If you’re outdoors and can’t get into brushing just in time, you can use a dental canine pad to wipe the doggo’s teeth. This will remove some bacteria and food bits from his mouth. Still, you should brush him as soon as you get home.

➳Brush him with a canine toothpaste. Don’t use human toothpaste. Your dog will always swallow some amount which can piss his stomach. Instead, get a flavored canine toothpaste. My doggo loved the chicken-flavored toothpaste I’m brushing him with.

➳Give him some teeth-cleaning treats. Some chewy dog treats are formulated with teeth cleaning substances. This is a good choice if you want to maintain the pearly white daggers of your pooch.

➳Always include mouth inspection as part of dog grooming. This way, you can check for potential issues within a set schedule.

What to look for the best dog toothbrush

It’s crucial to get the right brush to maintain the dental health of your doggo. The best thing you can do to dodge dog teeth cleaning cost is to get the perfect tool.

As a rule of thumb, choose one with a size that fits your dog well.  You can’t imagine using a small brush on an adult Saint Bernard, right?

Try gripping the handle of the toothbrush. Is it comfortable? Is it long enough to allow control and short enough to hold easily?

Double-headed brushes are excellent for smaller pooches. But if you have a big dog, it’s best to get a finger brush. This is a tool with short bristles and a cylindrical build you can slip on your finger. It allows more control and a less threatening appearance.

Still, this sizing isn’t conclusive. You can experiment with different toothbrushes too see which one your dog likes best. But with the tasty toothpaste, I think almost all toothbrushes will do.

The best dog toothbrush recommendations

Pet Republique Dog Toothbrush

Now, if you’re looking for a finger toothbrush, I can’t recommend the Pet Republique enough. My dog doesn’t give me a hard time when I’m using it plus it comes in six pieces per pack. The bristles are soft and you can even use it to younger dogs.

This brush was tested to be effective in removing tartar and grime from dogs’ teeth. As a bestseller, this toothbrush will save you from excessive dog teeth cleaning cost.

This set also comes with double-headed brushes. With that, you can experiment what your dog will like. Just be careful not to graze your dog’s gums with the stiff base.

This is a simple dental tool, but it comes with a cause. Whenever you purchase a Pet Republique product just like this, the American Animal Rescue Society will receive 15% of the profits. The amount will be dedicated to rescue cats and dogs and provide them with a safer home. Make sure you’re purchasing directly from the brand to help other doggos!

Duke’s Pet Products Dog Toothbrush Set

Is the finger brush a no-go for your pet? If so, the Duke’s Pet Products Double-Headed Toothbrush Set will be the best investment. Each of the four brushes here has soft bristles. In fact, my pup loved it that he’s not fighting over with mouthing – at least with the toothpaste on.

Also, each brush has a small head that allows you to access hard-to-reach areas of your dog’s mouth. Unlike other dog brushes that get stiff after a few days, the one from Duke’s stays soft even after multiple uses.

Overall, this is the best dog toothbrush if you’re looking for a no-fuss tool. For four pieces, the price is the best bang for your buck. Each of the brush goes a long way. That’s very impressive considering its price.

You may not realize it yet, but dog teeth cleaning cost can break your bank. Once the infection reaches an advanced stage, your pet’s health will be in the wringer. Vets have known a lot of cases of dental problems turning into a massive kidney issue. But if you act now, your dog will be spared from the bitter plight.