Doggy Dental Care

Your dog’s dental health is very important to his overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, this area of pet care is often inadvertently overlooked. Read on as a North Bethesda, MD vet discusses caring for Fido’s teeth.

Common Issues

Fido can develop many of the same dental problems as people can, such as gum disease, abscesses, and misalignments. Cracked and/or broken teeth are also not uncommon in dogs. Our canine pals use their mouths to play, and also sometimes hurt their teeth by chewing on or playing with hard objects.


Keep an eye out for signs of dental trouble. Bad breath is a common one. While your pup may never have peppermint-fresh breath, his affectionate doggy smooches shouldn’t make you turn green, either. Thick, ropy, or bloody saliva is also a common warning sign. You may also notice tartar buildup, swelling, or bleeding gums. Behavioral clues may also be present. Some dogs will shy away from being touched, act cranky, or lose interest in play. Fido’s eating habits may also change. He may take longer eating, chew on one side of his mouth, or lose enthusiasm for harder foods.

Doggy Dental Exams

We recommend having your dog’s choppers checked at least once a year, starting at about six months of age. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, call your vet to schedule a dental exam. It’s important to note that giving Fido a perfect smile isn’t the objective here. When dealing with doggy dental woes, the focus is on addressing issues that can lead to pain, infection, and/or other health problems.

Home Care

Good doggy dental care really starts at home. We recommend brushing Fido’s teeth regularly. You’ll need to get your canine buddy used to the idea, so start by simply rubbing his teeth and gums with your finger. Make sure to give your pooch treats and praise after each session, to sweeten the deal. Next, add some doggy toothpaste. Finally, you can start using a pet toothbrush. If your four-legged buddy won’t tolerate you cleaning his teeth, ask your vet for tips on using dental-formula treats, kibble, and/or chews. Oral rinses can also help. Last but not least, make sure that your pup always has suitable chew toys and plenty of fresh, clean water.

Please reach out to us, your North Bethesda, MD vet clinic, anytime. We are always happy to help!

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