How to Prevent Dog Dental Disease (6 SIGNS to Look For)

Knowing how to prevent dog dental disease is an important skill for every dog owner because prevention is not only better but less expensive compared to the cure of dental disease.

Read on to find out what you need to know about dog dental disease and how to prevent it at home.

How to Prevent Dog Dental Disease at Home?

How To Prevent Dog Dental Disease
Brush your dog’s teeth to prevent a buildup of plaque,

The best way to prevent dog dental disease is to brush your dog’s teeth regularly with pet-safe toothpaste. Give your dog dental chew toys and treats to reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

Regular vet checkups and professional cleanings are also important in preventing dental disease. Plaque can be removed at home, but tartar buildup must be removed by a veterinarian.

Read our related article on How to Brush a Dog’s Teeth the RIGHT Way! Make sure you’re providing the right in-home dental care to your pooch with this guide.

What is Dog Dental Disease?

The most common dog dental disease is called periodontitis. It is the infection and inflammation of the gums around your dog’s teeth caused by a build-up of plaque and tartar.

Dental disease leads to tooth pain, gum pain, inability or refusal to eat food, tooth abscess and loss, and even bone decay if left unchecked.

If you think your dog may have dental disease, please contact your veterinarian for an examination and treatment plan. Early detection and treatment are key to maintaining your dog’s oral health!

How Common Is Dental Disease in Dogs?

2 out of every 3 dogs over the age of three have some form or degree of periodontal disease.

Dental disease is the most common health problem in dogs, and it can lead to several other serious health problems if left untreated. 

How to Prevent Dog Dental Disease?

dog with healthy gums and teeth
Diligent at-home dental care, along with regular dental checkups by your vet, can keep your dog’s mouth healthy.

There are a few simple things you can do to help prevent dental disease in your dog.

  • Begin brushing your dog’s teeth during puppyhood. One of the most common mistakes dog owners make is waiting to brush the dog’s teeth until there is a problem. By beginning with your puppy, you can train him to enjoy brushing his teeth!
  • Brush your dog’s teeth as often as possible. Use a dog toothbrush or finger brush and dog toothpaste. Brush all surfaces of the teeth, including the front, back, and chewing surfaces. Brush at least once weekly, daily if possible.
  • Avoid processed foods and snacks, as well as table scraps. Stick to high-quality dog food that is rich in nutrients and low in sugar. Dogs need protein and fat for healthy teeth and gums.
  • Take your dog to the vet for regular checkups and cleanings. Your vet can remove tartar and plaque build-up, and they can also spot any early signs of dental disease. It’s important to have your dog’s teeth checked at least once a year, but twice a year is even better.

It’s important to pay attention to your dog and if you suspect your dog has gum disease or mouth pain, take him to the vet as soon as possible for treatment.

With proper care, most dogs with dental disease can recover gum health.

What Are the Signs of Periodontal Disease in Dogs?

There are 6 signs that may indicate your dog has periodontal disease. These include:

  1. Bad breath
  2. Yellow or brown plaque buildup on the teeth
  3. Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
  4. Sensitivity around the gum line
  5. Receding gums
  6. Loose or missing teeth

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take your dog to the vet for an evaluation. They can then determine if your dog does have periodontal disease and develop a treatment plan accordingly. 

Treating periodontal disease in dogs usually involves a combination of professional cleanings, at-home care, and changes to their diet. In more severe cases, surgery may also be necessary. 

The good news is that most cases of periodontal disease in dogs are reversible with proper treatment. If your dog already has dental disease, it is important to have it treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

How Does Nutrition Affect Gum Disease in Dogs?

Poor nutrition can be a major cause of gum disease in dogs. Dogs who are malnourished or who eat a poor diet are far more likely to develop gum disease than those who are well-nourished.

Tips To Improve Dog Dental Health

dog dental care pays off
Dog dental hygiene pays off by keeping your dog’s teeth shiny and gums healthy.

It’s important to give your dog dental chews daily because these help to remove plaque buildup before it can harden into tartar, creating gum inflammation and infection.

You should also make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise. Exercise helps keep the teeth and gums healthy by promoting good circulation.

It’s also important to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. This will help remove plaque and tartar, which can cause gum disease. You can use a special dog toothbrush or a finger brush designed for dogs.

Be sure to use a toothpaste that is specifically designed for dogs; never use human toothpaste, as it can be toxic to dogs.

Is Dental Care Important for Dogs?

Dental health is as important for your dog as it is for you. Unfortunately, many dog owners don’t realize the importance of good dental hygiene until their dog starts experiencing problems.

Dental disease can be very painful for dogs and can also lead to other health problems including refusal or inability to eat food, general fatigue, inability to play, and fever from oral infections.

Providing your dog with chew toys and treats that help reduce plaque and tartar buildup can also help prevent dental disease. Chew toys such as rawhide bones and rubber Kongs are great options. 

Finally, don’t miss your dog’s dental checkups and cleanings. They’re expensive, but they will save you a lot of money in the long run and give your dog the best chances as a long, healthy, happy life.

Read our related article, How Much Does a Dog Dental Exam Cost? Learn the cost of taking your dog to get dental care — and the cost you may pay if you don’t.


Dental disease is much easier to prevent than it is to treat, so it’s important to do everything you can to keep your dog’s teeth healthy.

By taking steps to prevent dental disease, you can help keep your dog healthy and avoid costly and painful veterinary treatments.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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