A recent American Animal Hospital Association study found that two-thirds of dog and cat owners do not take care of their animals’ teeth. Lack of treatment of your pet’s teeth can result in tartar build up and eventual tooth decay. Tartar build-up causes gum inflammation (gingivitis), which can cause noticeably decreased appetite (chewing hurts!), difficulty swallowing, excessive drooling and even behavioral changes like exercise intolerance.

When tooth decay and tartar build up reaches certain level, the only treatment is a professional cleaning at the veterinarian, which can cost hundreds of dollars.

Just like in humans, there are three kinds of tooth build up – Food Debris, Plaque, and Tartar. Dry food and teeth cleaning treats do an alright job of removing food debris, but, just like in humans, plaque and tartar require physical brushing to remove.

Brushing their teeth 2 minutes at a time, a few times a week can greatly increase their dental health. Choose a soft bristled, appropriately sized toothbrush, or a flavored veterinarian toothbrush. Never use human toothpaste or baking soda to brush your dog’s teeth, as this could cause damage. Instead, use a veterinarian toothpaste, or plain water. The circular brushing motion alone will do the trick. With these tips, your dog’s teeth will be clean and his breath will be too!