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Ask a Vet: Doggie Dental Care

Ask a Vet: Doggie Dental Care

Just like humans, good dog dental hygiene is a vital part of overall health. Without regularly caring for your dog’s teeth, you could run into issues like bad breath, dental disease, and gum disease down the line—not to mention a potentially painful experience for your pup.

Thankfully, dental care for dogs is simple to work into your routine once you know how. Let’s dive into some best dog dental care practices and keep up your pup’s pearly whites.

How Does Dog Dental Health Relate to Overall Health?

Who doesn’t love seeing that puppy smile, tongue and all, after a good walk or romp in the park?  Your pups’ teeth and gums are so much more important than just having an award winning grin, they’re key to good health and longevity. 

Dental calculi (the discolored calcium that builds up on teeth) and gingivitis (inflammation of the gums causing redness) both trap bacteria under the gum line, causing bacteria that can be absorbed into your pup’s blood stream. Gum disease and severe gingivitis can also lead to chronic health conditions, potentially causing heart, kidney and other organ problems.


Healthy Dog Teeth 101

Take a second to think about a typical oral hygiene routine for humans. Well, it’s not too different from how to keep dogs’ teeth clean!

Regular maintenance like teeth brushing is the best way to keep your pup’s chompers in good shape. Dental chews are also effective at removing tartar and plaque build-up on dogs’ teeth while your dog enjoys the treat. And though they may seem enticing, try to avoid chews made of actual bone or rawhide, which can be harmful to their teeth.

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

If you’ve never brushed your dog’s teeth, don’t be intimidated! Let’s start by breaking things down step-by step.

First, you’ll want to make sure your dog is comfortable with you touching their mouth and gums. If they aren’t, you’ll need to work on getting your dog used to having their mouth handled before you try brushing. Jumping right into brushing before your dog is comfortable could unintentionally create a negative association with the dental care routine, making it hard to maintain. If your pup is extremely scared or you think they may be a bite risk, seek guidance from a certified dog trainer before starting.

Get Your Dog Used to Teeth Cleaning

Much of oral care for dogs is trying to make the experience a positive one for your pup. Here are a few tips to help your dog get more comfortable with brushing their teeth:

  • Make it a positive experience! Praise your pup and give them pets while you brush, and make them feel safe the entire time. You can also give them small treats like Jinx Training Treats to reward their good behavior. It’s also wise to choose a place and time that’s calm and quiet.
  • Start out by gently rubbing your finger on the surfaces of your dog’s teeth and gums. Check in and see how your dog reacts.
  • When you’re starting out, stick to brushing the outer surfaces of the front teeth first. As your dog gets more comfortable with the process, you can start to work your way to their back teeth and the inner surfaces. Remember to take plenty of breaks with ample treat rewards in between mini brushing sessions.
  • Pay attention to your dog’s reactions and go at their pace. If they try to pull away or show you any signs of distress, stop for the day and try again tomorrow. If you notice any blood on the toothbrush, you may have brushed too hard or for too long. 

Find Dog-Friendly Toothpaste and Toothbrushes

Next, make sure you have toothpaste designed for dogs (don’t use human toothpaste!) and a soft-bristled brush (this can be a human toothbrush or a dog toothbrush). Pick a flavor you know your dog will love, like poultry, beef, or seafood. Add some of the dog toothpaste to the brush and simply let your dog lick and taste the toothpaste before attempting to brush. The goal is to help your dog see the toothpaste as a treat, which will make daily brushing so much easier. Reward your pup with a few bite-sized treats along the way to solidify a positive association with the toothbrush.

You might notice there are a couple types of dog toothbrushes to choose from: a regular brush similar to human toothbrushes and a bristled brush that goes on your fingertip. Both are great options, so it’s up to you to find what’s most comfortable for you and your pup!


How Jinx Can Help With Your Dog Oral Care Goals

Stopping the build-up of tartar on the teeth and inflammation of the gums is very important—it's instrumental in avoiding diseases in pups. It can be as simple as giving your dog a treat. 

While your dog might think Jinx dental chews are a tasty reward, they are actually an excellent way to keep your best bud’s teeth healthy.  Jinx chews are highly dissolvable (aka digestible) and stimulate the production of saliva, which helps neutralize and fight the plaque acids that cause tooth decay.

Added bonus, they also keep your pet’s breath smelling fresh and loosen food debris that may be stuck in your dog’s teeth. That means no more waking up to your best bud right in your face with morning breath! Dr Tammie Pearce from AskVet had the following to say: “Combined with regular tooth brushing, Jinx Dental Chews are a great way to reduce the risk of periodontal disease.”

What if They Need Dental Disease Treatment?

If you learn that your dog has dental or gum disease, your vet is the best resource for how to treat it. Typically, vets will properly examine your dog’s mouth, which may require sedation or anesthetic.

Depending on the treatment, your vet may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory and/or antibiotics afterward.

Decoding Dog Oral Care

Dental care for dogs isn’t too different from that for humans, right? Preventative care, like teeth brushing, offering daily dental chews, and regular dental check-ups are crucial to maintaining healthy dog teeth.


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