Dog Dental Care - FAQs

Dr. Glen Hudson
Highland Park Animal Hospital

How does dental health impact the overall health of my dog?

Dental health is a very important aspect of caring for your dog. Dental health makes them feel well and helps them with eating. Ensuring good dental hygiene is also essential for keeping some of their other organs functioning appropriately. Bad dental disease has been shown to lead to increased cardiovascular and kidney disease.

How can I care for my dog's teeth at home?

One of the easiest ways to clean your dog's teeth at home is by brushing their teeth. There are toothbrushes with enzymatic toothpaste, hand scrubbing tools, and dental chews that help with bad breath and tartar buildup.

Are there any wipes or pads that I can use?

There are a few wipes and pads. They are similar to the enzymatic toothpaste and dental chews in that they have an enzyme that helps break down or prevent tarter from building at the earliest stage.

What are some signs and symptoms of dental disease in dogs?

Some of the most common symptoms of dental disease in dogs are a reluctance to eat, bad breath (also called halitosis), and general lethargy. Sometimes dogs will even become aggressive or easily irritable when they have dental disease.

What are some of the common dental diseases in dogs?

The most common dental diseases in dogs include general tartar or plaque buildup, which can lead to a gingival recession or infected teeth, bad breath, and occasionally tumors or growths in the mouth that may be secondary to bad dental disease.

Why is early detection and diagnosis of dental disease so important?

Early detection is one of the most critical aspects of dental disease in dogs. By detecting dental disease early, we can often clean and cure minor issues quite easily versus if they are significantly progressed. The dental disease could require teeth extractions or sometimes a referral to a board-certified dentist for crown procedures or root canals.

How often should my dog's teeth be checked?

Ideally, we like to check the dog's teeth once a year on every annual visit. The teeth are one of the many things we look at during our full exam to ensure they look well. If a dental procedure is required, we recommend it at that time. Generally speaking, a dental cleaning is recommended once a year.

What is a professional dental cleaning like for a dog?

A professional dental cleaning is the most thorough way to get your dog's teeth cleaned. A professional dental cleaning requires general anesthesia and blood work to ensure they're healthy beforehand. We anesthetize the individual during that procedure, and there's very close monitoring of their vitals. We scale and clean both the teeth that you can see and those below the gum line before polishing and taking full dental x-rays to help get a better look at what's going on underneath the gum line.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (214) 833-9821, or you can email us at But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media,