Dental Health in Dogs

Dental Health in Dogs


Wild canids evolved hunting and eating small animals.  Rough hides, fur and bones of their prey scrubbed their teeth and kept them clean.  Today’s commercial canned and kibbled diets do not provide the same benefits to your dog’s teeth so it is important for pet parents to provide good dental health to their dogs.


The first sign of dental health problems is gingivitis – inflammation of the gums.  Your dog’s gums should be a light pink color.  If you see redness along the gum line, that is gingivitis.  While a little dog food breath is normal after your dog eats, bad breath is another symptom of dental disease.  Swelling, sores, difficulty chewing and loose teeth are much more serious signs of dental problems.  Dental problems are very painful and inhibit a dog’s ability to eat.  Left untreated dogs could lose their teeth.  Additionally, research is showing a link between periodontal disease and inflammation of the heart.  When a dog’s mouth is full of bacteria, your dog ingests bacteria every time they swallow.  Inflamed gums tend to bleed very easily so that bacteria gets into the bloodstream and is introduced to the heart which can lead to a condition called endocarditis.


The best way to keep your dog’s teeth healthy is to bring them to the vet for regular dental cleanings.  Brushing your dog’s teeth and providing them with dental treats/chews is another way to help reduce tartar and plaque build-up.  The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) is a group that certifies dental products based on efficacy data so look for products with the VOHC seal of approval.

(Note:  Never use human toothpaste on dogs because it can be toxic to them!)





A cross-sectional survey of bacterial species in plaque from client owned dogs with heavy gingiva, gingivitis or mild periodontitis.


Ability of orally administered IFN-alpha4 to inhibit naturally occurring gingival inflammation in dogs.


A review of the experimental use of antimicrobial agents in the treatment of periodontitis and gingivitis in the dog.


Periodontal disease in dogs.


Early canine plaque biofilms: characterization of key bacterial interactions involved in initial colonization of enamel.


Screening for periodontal disease in research dogs – a methodology study.


A longitudinal assessment of periodontal disease in 52 miniature schnauzers.


The uncultureables: targeted isolation of bacterial species associated with canine periodontal health or disease from dental plaque.


The effect of toothbrushing on periodontal disease in cats.


Cone beam computed tomography and intraoral radiography for diagnosis of dental abnormalities in dogs and cats.


Influence of diet on oral health in cats and dogs.


Halitosis in dogs and the effect of periodontal therapy.


Pilot evaluation of a novel test strip for the assessment of dissolved thiol levels, as an indicator of canine gingival health and periodontal status.


Clinical and mycological analysis of dog’s oral cavity.


Canine mycotic stomatitis due to candida albicans.


Histomorphometry and stability of early loaded implants with two different surface conditions in beagle dogs.


Radiographic evaluation of destructive periodontal disease in blue mink in relation to age and blood morphology.