Week 6: Dental Care

Welcome to Week 6 of our Bark Better Live Better Challenge.

This week, we will be tackling Dental Care as this is something which is often forgotten about.

But you know how we ought to brush our teeth a minimum of twice a day? Well, the same for dogs!

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Why Do We Need To Brush Our Dog’s Teeth?

We need to because dogs face similar dental problems as we do, including gingivitis, cavities, tooth pain, and dental diseases.

Unfortunately, by the time we come across dental issues, it's often too late to address it, and may well end in a tooth needing to come out.

Unlike us, our dogs can't vocalise when something's wrong, so it's up to us to stay vigilant and care for their teeth proactively. That's where regular brushing comes in—it's our best bet for preventing issues and keeping those teefies healthy.

Happi Doggi Bark Better Live Better How To Clean Your Dog's Teeth

Dental Care At Home

When it comes to maintaining your dog's dental health at home, the most important thing you can do is brush their teeth regularly. Ideally, you'd aim for twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. This routine not only helps prevent dental issues but also tackles that dreaded doggy breath.

If brushing twice daily seems challenging, try to brush at least three times a week. Remember, even a few sessions a week are better than none at all!

When you're shopping for toothpaste and brushes, you'll find a wide variety available. We use this dog toothpaste and one of these dog finger toothbrushes. Our dogs seem to prefer them over dog tooth brushes like these. I am sure you will find something which suits your dog’s preference.

Make sure to download our 5 Step Process For Brushing A Dog’s Teeth but our recommendation would be to take it slow. Start with letting your dog lick a bit of toothpaste, then gradually work up to gentle brushing. It's important not to rush or overwhelm them during these sessions.

In addition to brushing, consider offering your furry friend some natural dental treats. Minimal unprocessed treats such as beef hooves, bully sticks, or beef tails provide a chewing outlet while also helping to clean teeth. While they're not a substitute for brushing, they do assist in removing plaque and tartar buildup.

Lastly, you can enhance your dog's dental care routine by adding dental water additives to their bowl. These additives, which are flavourless and safe for dogs, work similarly to mouthwash for humans. They reach areas brushing may miss and help eliminate bacteria for added dental hygiene protection. 

Dental Care At The Vet

Your vet plays a big role in keeping your dog's teeth healthy.

During routine check-ups and vaccine updates, your vet will also examine your dog's teeth for any signs of chips or inflammation.

However, a separate dental appointment may be necessary to thoroughly assess for potential problems or diseases.

Unlike your own visits to the dentist, where you can understand and (usually!) comply with instructions, dogs require sedation during their dental check-ups. This precaution is taken to prevent unintended movements that could lead to injury. As a result, you'll receive instructions from the vet, similar to those for surgical procedures, such as fasting before undergoing anaesthesia.

During your dog’s dental appointment, the vet will meticulously clean your dog’s teeth and check for any signs of gum disease, infections, or abscesses. X-rays may also be taken to assess the teeth and jaw. If they find anything, they'll let you know and talk about what to do next.

It might seem like a lot, but your vet knows what they're doing and will take good care of your furry friend.

Happi Doggi Bark Better Live Better Dog Teeth Anatomy

What Happens If I Do Not Brush My Dog’s Teeth?

We get it. Life if busy! There are so many boxes which need to be ticked all the time, and brushing your dog’s teeth is one of those things which easily can ‘be done later’.

Unfortunately, our dogs solely rely on us. It is all on us to offer them preventable care to prevent illness down the line.

Let’s have a look at what can happen if you do not brush your dog’s teeth.

Canine Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, also often referred to as gum disease, is a common dental issue in dogs caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on their teeth, leading to gum inflammation (gingivitis) and damage to the tooth's supporting structures.

Plaque, a sticky film full of bacteria, sticks to the teeth, and if not brushed away regularly, it hardens into tartar, irritating the gums. Skipping regular brushing and dental care can speed up plaque buildup and increase the risk of periodontal disease, while diets high in carbohydrates can also contribute to plaque formation and dental problems.

Signs of periodontal disease in dogs include bad breath (halitosis), swollen or bleeding gums, difficulty chewing, and tooth loss, especially in severe cases.

Canine periodontal disease is a progressive condition, which means that it can not be cured and it tends to worsen over time if left untreated.


Abscesses are like little pockets of pus that can form around your dog's tooth when it gets infected or injured.

You might notice some swelling around your dog's affected tooth, redness in the gums, or they might show signs of pain while eating. In some cases, the abscess may burst, resulting in the discharge of pus from their mouth.

Dental abscesses can develop as a result of untreated periodontal disease, tooth fractures, or foreign objects lodged between the teeth. Bacteria from the abscess can spread to other parts of the body, leading to systemic illness and potentially life-threatening complications if left untreated.

To fix them, your vet will need to drain the pus and give your pup some antibiotics. In serious cases, they might have to take out the tooth altogether.

Broken Teeth

Broken teeth are not uncommon in dogs and can occur due to various reasons such as trauma, chewing on hard objects, or underlying dental diseases. When a tooth breaks, it exposes the sensitive inner layers of the tooth, leading to pain and discomfort for your dog.

You might notice your pup having trouble eating or pawing at their mouth. Sometimes there's swelling or redness around the broken tooth, or even a bit of bleeding. Sometimes you can see the broken tooth, but other times it's hidden under the gums.

Leaving a broken tooth untreated can lead to infection, abscess formation, or even the loss of the tooth.

Cavities (Tooth Decay)

Tooth decay, or cavities, in dogs isn't as common as it is in humans, due to their diet and saliva composition, but it can still happen.

Cavities occur when bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars from food, producing acids that erode the enamel of the teeth. This erosion creates small holes or pits in the teeth, which are called cavities.

If left untreated, cavities in dogs can worsen, causing pain, potential infection, and even tooth loss.


Remember, a little effort in dental care goes a long way, so let's commit to brushing those teefies regularly and giving our pups the best chance at a lifetime of smiles.

Happy brushing!

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