Dog dental care: How to treat toothaches and get a doggy dentist

Dog dental care: How to treat toothaches and get a doggy dentist

It might be difficult to notice if your dog has a toothache, but it could need some attention. Here’s everything you need to know about dog dentistry and treating your puppy’s teeth.

A lack of dog dental care can cause serious disease.
A lack of dog dental care can cause serious disease.  © 123RF/ Verastuchelova

It’s important for dogs to maintain healthy teeth and gums, as eating ain’t their only function.

In reality, dogs use their mouths to communicate and defend themselves in dangerous situations, so the health and strength of those nippers are pretty darn important.

It’s not only a safety issue, either. Doggos can get pretty severe toothaches if their dental health is not ensured, leading to other problems.

How do you treat and prevent dog dental issues like toothaches? Is there even a dog dentist? Good questions! We’re here to set the record straight.

In this dog guide, TAG24 takes a look at what good dental care looks like for dogs. Let’s dive in.

The best dog dental care: What you need to know

Once a dog is all grown up, it should have 42 teeth in total! While that may mean that these playful pooches have ten more munchers than humans, over time, they have actually had far more.

After they shed their puppy teeth, it is incredibly important to keep dogs up to date with the dentist. After all, we don’t want our pups in pain!

Dogs with short snouts are especially affected by misaligned teeth, an affliction that can cause not only pain but infection as well. To avoid toothaches, infected gums, and the effect of bad teeth on your pup’s jaw, make sure to regularly visit the veterinarian and the doggo dentist.

Tip: Make sure to keep your dog munching, as using its teeth is actually healthy. Saliva flow has a tooth-cleaning effect.

How to keep a dog’s teeth clean

Make sure to keep your dog’s teeth clean and take its dental care seriously. If you don’t, your poor pooch may encounter health problems and this would be no good!

Here are a few tips and tricks to help keep your dog’s teeth clean:

  • Give it proper food: Dogs need to chew, as this helps to exercise their teeth and stimulate the flow of saliva, which has a cleaning and antibacterial effect. Give your playful pooch some solid chunks of meat to gnaw on, or perhaps a bone to chew. Make sure that it has a sugar-free diet, but that goes without saying.
  • Brush their teeth: Did you know that you can brush your dog’s teeth? You’ll need to get it started on teeth-brushing as a puppy, and you’ll have to buy special dog toothbrushes and toothpastes. Get your vet’s advice on the best cleaning practices.
  • Dog dental toys: If you give your daring doggo a few dental toys, you’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone. Your dog will be busy, will have fun, and will clean its teeth.
  • Chew toys: Get your dog a teeth cleaning ball or bone to play with. This will help take care of your dog’s dental hygene, and will be fun for the whole family!

Hot tip: Make sure any bones that you give your dog are uncooked, as cooked bones are much weaker and can break or splinter, causing series tooth issues. For the same reason, you should never give your dog chicken or pig bones.

Best dog teeth cleaning and dental products

You should ultimately get in touch with your vet about any potential teeth cleaning products you may want to invest in for your dog. Ultimately, it is your responsibility as a dog owner to make sure your pup’s teeth are well cared for, but if anything more serious happens, a vet should be contacted.

A few products you should pick up for your dog’s teeth:

  • Dental chews
  • Dental bones
  • Dental dog treats
  • Hygiene chews
  • Dog toothpaste and toothbrushes

How often to clean a dog’s teeth

Your dog should have its teeth cleaned professionally by a veterinarian dentist at least once or twice a year, and cleaned at home at least two or three times a week.

It is critical that you maintain your dog’s dental care, as it relies on its teeth to eat, and could get seriously sick if its mouth, gums, and teeth become unsanitary. A dog’s teeth should be brushed using proper dog toothpaste, and taken to the vet for regular dental check-ups.

How to remove tartar from dog teeth without the dentist

Tartar is a porous substance that can potentially build up along a dog’s gum line. Sadly, you can’t really remove the stuff yourself and, as a result, you must take your dog to the vet if build-up forms. This rough substance can cause serious inflammation in the mouth and a lot of trouble.

If you take your doggo to the veterinarian, the treatment for tartar is actually pretty straight-forward. After being given a light anesthetic, your dog’s tartar will be removed from its teeth in a simple, safe, and uncomplicated way.

Important Tip: Don’t try to remove tartar yourself. After all, this isn’t the same sauce you put on your cocktail shrimp! Trying to remove it yourself can cause damage to your dog’s teeth and lots of pain for your pooch.

Signs of toothaches in dogs

Look at a dog's chompers yourself for pus or discoloration.
Look at a dog’s chompers yourself for pus or discoloration.  © 123RF/ Mraoraor

It is not unlikely that your dog is already suffering from a toothache and you wouldn’t even know it. These four-legged friends don’t show tooth pain as clearly as they show, for example, paw pain. As a result, dogs often suffer silently with mouth aches for years.

If you pay a little bit of attention, though, you can help to avoid that suffering.

Look out for the following symptoms, as they may indicate dental problems:

  • Slow and cautious eating
  • Refusal to eat
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Brown discoloration on the teeth
  • Pus on the teeth
  • Ear inflammation
  • Yelping when chewing
  • Chewing on only one side of the mouth

Make sure to regularly check your dog’s teeth yourself by simply looking into its mouth. If you notice discoloration, obviously inflamed gums, or something that doesn’t seem quite right, it might be time to head-on-over to the vet.

One particularly serious affliction could be gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums. It can be caused by a variety of different things, and cause a lot of pain and discomfort for your poor pooch.

Possible causes of gingivitis include:

  • Food that is too soft or mushy
  • Your dog may have eaten another animal’s excrement
  • Your dog may have consumed foreign objects like sticks / stones
  • It may have bitten something awkwardly and hurt itself
  • It may have bitten something hot and accidentally burned its mouth
Your dog should become accustomed to having its teeth brushed from puppyhood.
Your dog should become accustomed to having its teeth brushed from puppyhood.  © 123RF/belchonock

Getting a dog dentist – Cost and treatment

Most vets have a rudimentary knowledge of dog dental care, and will be able to check how healthy and clean your pooch’s teeth and gums are relatively easily. For more heavy-duty dentistry, though, you are going to want to go to a specialized animal dentist.

The cost of proper dog dental work varies depending on where you live, who you go to, and your pet insurance. Specialist dog dentists will cost more than a regular vet, however, and can get very pricey. In the end, though, you want your dog to be strong and healthy – so it’s worth the price.

Take dog dental health seriously

The most important thing for your dog’s dental health is to ensure that it has the right diet, is chewing properly, and sufficiently exercises its teeth and jaw. Keep an eye out for problems and the symptoms of toothache, and regularly check that your dog’s pearly whites are, well, pearly white.

Dog dental health is incredibly important. You want your dog to be comfortable, without pain, and as happy as can be. You also don’t want your dog to get sick. Check your pooch’s mouth regularly yourself, get check-ups with your vet, and seek medical help if anything looks fishy.

Cover photo: 123rf/verastuchelova

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