5 Best Practices for Looking After Your Dog’s Dental Health

5 Best Practices for Looking After Your Dog’s Dental Health

There’s nothing quite like the joy of seeing your furry friend flash you a wide, tail-wagging grin. But have you ever paused to consider the health of those pearly whites? Just like with us humans, a dog's dental health plays a crucial role in their overall well-being. Ignoring it can lead not only to bad breath, but also to more severe health issues, from painful gum diseases to heart conditions.

It might come as a surprise, but the dental challenges our four-legged pals face aren't so different from our own. Issues like plaque, tartar, cavities aren’t just human problems—they can and do afflict dogs as well.

Thankfully, a bit of dedication and the right tools are all you need to ensure that your pup's smile remains bright and healthy. We at PrideBites are here to walk you through five best practices that can help you maintain your dog’s dental health.

1) Choose Pet-Safe Chew Toys

Most pet owners think of chew toys as teething aids or distractions for energetic pups, but they have plenty of benefits beyond these common use cases. Good chew toys provide a healthy workout for your dog’s jaws, whatever their age. They also do wonders for dogs’ dental health by helping scrape away soft tartar and massage the gums.

However, a word to the wise—you’ll need to choose your chew toys wisely, as not all of them are good for your dog’s teeth. Look for durable toys designed expressly to support dental hygiene. Rubber toys, custom plush toys with firm textures, or toys made from natural materials can be especially beneficial.

You should also be cautious about toys that can splinter or are too hard, as they can damage your dog’s teeth. Always supervise your dog when introducing a new toy to ensure safety.

2) Brush Your Dog's Teeth Regularly

While it might seem unconventional to some, brushing your dog's teeth prevents tartar buildup and gum disease, and it can even help avert more severe health issues. Dental experts recommend working regular tooth brushing into your dog’s daily routine. If this isn’t feasible, however, try to brush their teeth at least three to four times a week. Consistent brushing prevents plaque from hardening into tartar, which can be much more challenging to remove.

You’ll need to use toothbrushes and toothpastes that are intended for dogs, as these contain enzymes to break down tartar and reduce bacteria. Keep them away from human toothpaste, which contains fluoride and other ingredients that can be toxic to canines.

When choosing a toothbrush, consider your dog’s size and their general comfort level with you. There are brushes that fit over your fingertip, making it easier to maneuver inside your dog's mouth, while others have long handles to reach their back teeth. Whichever you choose, make sure that both you and your dog are comfortable working with it.

Be slow when brushing your dog’s teeth for the first time. Allow your dog to get accustomed to the taste of the toothpaste and the sensation of the brush. Brush in gentle circles, focusing on where the gum meets the tooth, as that's where most plaque accumulates. Don't forget those back molars, which can be a hotspot for tartar buildup. As you brush, take the opportunity to check your dog’s mouth for any signs of problems like swollen gums or broken teeth. This will help you stay ahead of any serious dental issues and get your dog the appropriate treatment before these issues worsen.

3) Give Them Dental Treats

Treats are more than just delicious snacks for your furry friend or rewards for successful training. Certain treats, such as dental chews, are designed specifically to promote healthy teeth and gums. Dental treats are typically formulated to be tough and chewy, so as your dog gnaws away, the treat helps to scrub away plaque. Just bear in mind that, while these treats can be a fantastic supplement, they're not a complete substitute for regular brushing.

Just as you check the labels on the food you eat, do also scrutinize the ingredients of your dog's dental treats. Look for those with natural ingredients and avoid treats that have added sugars or artificial fillers. Make sure you choose the right size and hardness for your dog's breed and age as well for best results.

4) Take Them for Periodic Dental Cleanings

Even if we humans do our best to take meticulous care of our teeth, we’ll still need to visit the dentist every now and then for more thorough cleaning, and the same is true for dogs. Veterinary dental cleanings involve a detailed inspection of your dog's oral cavity, followed by a comprehensive cleaning, often under anesthesia. This helps in removing tartar buildup, checking for any dental diseases, and ensuring that gums are in top shape.

How often you should go for a professional cleaning may vary depending on your dog’s specific medical history. If your dog’s dental health is generally good, an annual visit should be enough. On the other hand, if you notice any signs of distress, like bad breath, drooling, or difficulty eating, these might warrant a sooner visit.

5) Get Prescription Food to Treat Dental Disease

Sometimes our dogs can come down with dental disease despite our best efforts. When that happens, your vet might suggest switching to a prescription diet designed to address the specific illness. These foods usually have a unique shape or texture that helps in cleaning the teeth as your dog chews, or they might contain specific ingredients that combat plaque and tartar formation.

Transitioning to a new diet can be a bit challenging, since dogs can be notoriously picky. It's usually a good idea to introduce the new food gradually, mixing it with their regular food and increasing the amount over several days. And while prescription foods can be highly effective in addressing dental concerns, they should be used under the guidance of a vet and in conjunction with other preventive measures.


Prioritizing your dog's dental health is an integral part of responsible pet ownership. By adopting the practices discussed, you can ensure your furry friend enjoys a healthy mouth and a happier life.