Pet Dental Care – It’s Important!

by DFS-Pet-Blog on February 1, 2011

Dog and Cat

What do 70-80% of cats and dogs over 3 years of age have in common? Dental disease.

Pets may look great on the outside, but just lift that lip, and you’ll see many of them are suffering from dental disease. Even if their teeth look good, we do not know what could be lurking under the gum line. Think of the last time you had a toothache. The tooth probably looked OK on the surface, but it sure hurt, right? The same thing can happen to your pet.

The best way to avoid painful and costly dental disease in your pet is with a good dental health program. Start out with a thorough examination by your veterinarian, including dental x-rays. While your pet is under anesthesia, your veterinarian can inspect every aspect of every tooth and the surrounding gums, looking for any signs of disease. Then your pet’s teeth will be cleaned above and below the gum line to remove unhealthy plaque and tartar.


The best time to start a home dental care program is after your pet’s teeth have been professionally cleaned. Daily brushing will remove the plaque and prevent gum-destroying tartar from developing. Plaque is an accumulation of bacteria and food particles that collect as a thin film on the teeth. If it is allowed to stay there, even for just several days, minerals in the saliva will harden it, turning it into tartar. This tartar can then start to destroy the gums and the ligaments and bone surrounding the teeth. That is called periodontal disease, and it is irreversible.
Tartar can NOT be removed by brushing – it is stuck tight to the tooth. Only your veterinarian can effectively remove it. So we need to fight it before it has a chance to form. Not sure on how to go about brushing your pet’s teeth? See our video on how to easy it is:

In addition to brushing, the use of dog dental treats and cat dental treats can help prevent the buildup of plaque. The mechanical action of the treat against the teeth helps remove plaque before it has time to turn into tartar.

February is Pet Dental Health Month – the perfect time to make good on that resolution to care for your pet’s oral health. Why not make that appointment today?


[CLOSED] *For a chance to win a Quado Bone AND a Bristle Busy Buddy Bouncy Bone, leave a comment below in this post telling us what you do to promote good dental health in your pet AND/OR why your dog would like these toys.

  • Be sure to include what size Bristle Busy Buddy Bouncy Bone you would need for your dog!

TWO LUCKY WINNERS will be randomly selected on Thursday, February 3, 2011 at noon CST. (Read this Quado Bone product review to learn more about this bone.)

Go to our homepage for a full collection of stories & information about Pets.

Related Pet Dental Care Posts:

  • When Do Puppies Lose Their Teeth? – Puppy chewing can be a bit less frustrating if you consider that for almost the first year of life, puppies deal with big changes in their mouths.
  • Pearly Whites – Simple steps you can take to improve your dog’s dental well-being, and ultimately, his overall health.
  • The Tooth About Dog Dental Care – Dog owner’s personal story to help you understand why you should pay better attention to your dog’s teeth.

*Limit: one prize bundle per person. No purchase is necessary to participate. You should be a legal resident of the United States and 18 years or older. Void where prohibited. Shipping to winner will be supplied by Drs. Foster and Smith. To see who won, go to Sponsor: Foster & Smith, Inc., P.O. Box 100, Rhinelander, WI 54501-0100. Employees and their immediate family members are not eligible to enter.

{ 3 trackbacks }

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara February 1, 2011 at 10:24 am

Our 3 dogs get their teeth brushed at least once a month. Dental toys would help!

Lisa Learst February 1, 2011 at 10:24 am

Great post! I would add, though, that I think the best time to start a pet dental program is when a dog is a PUPPY, and second best is after a professional cleaning. If you get in the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth, and your dog grows up w/ that as part of their routine grooming (just like nail clipping) so many problems can be avoided. I did this with my two younger dogs, both of whom accept brushing as a matter of course. My two older dogs will have none of it. And the dental ramifications of this extend far beyond age, in my little mini case study, anyway, since issues that my little dogs had as young adults are simply not being experienced by my younger dogs.

Rebecca S. February 1, 2011 at 11:26 am

Great article! As an RVT I am on the frontlines when it comes to treating and preventing dental disease in pets. We tell all of our clients about the importance of good dental health and frequently reccomend toys as a good way to help keep mouths healthy. As with any training issue, the sooner you start training your pet to accept toothbrushing the better. I started my english mastiff and all of my cats when they first came home, now they will lay in my lap and let me do anything that needs to be done.

It’s hard to find extra large dental toys for my extra large power chewer. I would love some new dental toys for my dog!

Martha February 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I brush my Lab’s teeth every couple of weeks, using doggie toothpaste (peanut butter flavor, of course). We started her off young, and she looks at brushing as a game and always wants more, but she could use something in-between brushings. I avoid treats because I don’t want her to put on extra pounds, but she is a Lab and she does love to chew!

Ashley February 1, 2011 at 4:55 pm

We encourage our dogs to chew on soup bones and every so often we will brush their teeth. It’s not as often as we’d like, of course. We also give them dental chews like Greenies. I’d love a dental toy and would need a large one for our two big boys.

Jinny B February 1, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Good article and demo video. I brush Baxter and Olive’s teeth a couple of times per week. I give them toys to chew and I offer dry treats in between cleanings. I also use dental cloths that smell minty to finish up the brushing session. These new toys look interesting and would be fun to try.

Sherry G February 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Maddie loves to chew to clean her teeth. She has a Busy Buddy Bouncy Bone in small that she got as a puppy but it is a little small now. I think she’d need a medium in the Bristle Bone.

Maddie tolerates brushing her teeth too with the triple toothbrush.

Ashley February 1, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Dog dental health is extremely important! With my family’s Boston Terriers we never really worried about it because they were always so healthy. After we lost one of them due to old age, we got a new puppy and took her and our other BT for shot updates. Thats when we found out that things werent so great. The 11 year old had such bad teeth that she had to have all of her bottoms removed and a few on the top. They were rotten into the gums. We felt so bad! She never stopped eating or anything to give us the impression that anything was wrong. It hasnt slowed her down any though….she still loves her food and treats! We now have dental toys and they get yearly teeth cleanings. Theres no way any of my babies will go through that again! I still feel soo bad! We havent tried the quado bone yet, but Im sure my little girl would absolutely love one!

Kelly Ann T. February 1, 2011 at 11:56 pm

I brush my dogs teeth with a Crest spin brush. My dogs must like how the brush feels because I don’t have to fight my dogs to brush their teeth. I get compliments on how good their teeth look too. Since I have Alaskan Malamutes I would need the large size and I know my dogs would like these because they love to play with toys and they have not met a treat that they haven’t liked.

Rosemary February 2, 2011 at 10:51 am

I have to admit, I don’t brush the critters’ teeth all that often. I do give the dogs bones (I found a great source of smoked elk and bison bones), plus they eat kibble and biscuits every day. Every so often, I will brush their teeth, or give them Greenies (the cats love the Feline Greenies). Lucky is 10, and his vet says that his teeth are in good shape, and he doesn’t have much tartar. If I’m feeling REALLY adventurous, I’ll take a crack at the cats’ teeth. If they have tartar, I pop it off with my fingernail, and then use dental pads, but it can turn ugly, because they are not declawed.

As for the size of the dog bone, Lucky is a 27 pound Rat Terrier, and Ilka is a 49 pound mutt. Lucky has a medium Bouncy Bone, which seems to be the right size for him, but Ilka would probaly need a large.

Linda February 3, 2011 at 10:12 am

My dogs usually eat hard food and get bisquits, their teeth are pretty good, but some dental chew toys would be great!

Linda February 3, 2011 at 10:13 am

P.S. My dog is a Cairn terrier and we have a Rotty mix too so either a small or large would be fine!

Laura Rice February 3, 2011 at 10:47 am

I have a 6 year old Maltese named Teddy Bear (5 lbs. of love) that I have trained over a course of time to enjoy his daily toothy brushing routine. I started brushing his teeth with the poultry toothpaste and a small child’s toothbrush when he was a puppy. Starting any grooming or dental routine as a puppy is best! We recently started using the dental pad wipes from Drs. Foster and Smith and I swear by them! Although it is challenging to work with Teddy’s tiny mouth and those clenched jaws for really thorough back teeth brushings, the dental pads really wipe the gums and teeth and give Teddy fresh breath! Since Teddy is tiny… please send the smallest bone dental toy if we should win! : )

Lisa February 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

I brush my dogs’ teeth weekly to keep their teeth clean and healthy. I also give them toys and marrow bones to help remove tarter. My dogs would love these toys because for one they love food and the one toy is puzzle related so it would give them a challenge… the real test will be to get them to share. 🙂

Lisa February 3, 2011 at 10:56 am

I forgot to add the size we would need – we would need a large bristle busy buddy bouncy bone.. thanks so much! Good luck everyone!

Kristina February 3, 2011 at 11:01 am

We make dental care a part of our regular grooming routine for our two Golden Retrievers. One is a therapy dog, so having pretty teeth and a clean mouth are both important when we go on visits. Also, my vet offers a special price for dental cleanings in February and both already have an appointment scheduled. My dogs love to chew and we are always looking for appropriate chew toys for them. The Quado Bone and the Bristle Busy Buddy Bouncy Bone would be SUPER early valentine gifts for my sweeties! (Large sizes, please!)

Sarah February 3, 2011 at 11:58 am

Prudence loves to chew toys and I try to get her dental ones as often as possible, but sometimes my wallet doesn’t agree. We keep a pretty regular dental routine, but adding in some great dental chews would make life a little easier and keep her teeth healthy. And coming from Drs Foster and Smith, I know they will be quality. A medium size would be perfect.

Ellen B. February 3, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Thanks to everyone who participated in our giveaway. Congratulations to our 2 winners: Laura Rice and Ashley! We will contact you both via email for your shipping information.

Didn’t win? We’re offering another chance to win! See our most recent blog post, and good luck!

PupJoy Cavaliers and Biewer Terriers February 8, 2011 at 8:06 am

I’ve always been a firm believer in dental care. Not only does it keep their breath fresher, but it helps prevent heart disease. Dental toys are a “staple” around our place. I also found a dental tech near me that will clean dogs teeth without needing to drug them! That was always a concern for me.

Erik February 18, 2011 at 7:21 am

Thanks for getting the word out!

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