5 Ways to Help Keep Your Dog's Teeth and Gums Healthy

You brush your own teeth every day, right? And you get regular dental cleanings, don’t you? We’re not here to judge your oral hygiene, but we have a feeling your dog’s teeth and gums don’t get the same amount of care and attention as your own. And we get that. But did you know that by the time they’re 3 years old, most pets suffer from some form of dental disease? Slacking on dental care could lead to painful periodontal disease, tooth loss or worse.

Thankfully, caring for your pet’s teeth and gums isn’t as daunting as you may think. With these 5 simple tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy. And as an added bonus for you, his breath might smell surprisingly fresh when he gives you a kiss — especially if you give him Milk-Bone ® Brushing Chews ® Fresh Breath Daily Dental Treats, which are clinically proven to reduce bad breath.

Doggie Dental Care Tips

Vet examining dog's teeth


1. Get regular dental checkups.

Imagine if you unknowingly had a cavity and didn’t visit the dentist for more than a year. We bet your dentist would discover even more cavities to fill — or something worse. If you go to the dentist regularly, he can often catch small problems before they become big ones. That same logic applies to your dog. During annual or twice-yearly dental exams and cleanings, your vet can check for bad breath, inflamed gums, tartar, broken teeth and other signs of dental disease that may be causing your dog pain. While your dog is under anesthesia, your vet can also check for problems under the gums that may not be otherwise visible. If your vet catches these problems early, your pet — and perhaps your wallet — will thank you.

Dog Eating Milk Bone Brushing Chews

Russell Powell for vetstreet.com

2. Give him dental chews.

Milk-Bone® Brushing Chews® have nubs and ridges that clean like bristles on a toothbrush and contain ingredients that help fight plaque and tartar formation to help maintain strong, healthy teeth. Plus, these dental chews are designed to help clean dogs’ back teeth, which can be hard to reach. Milk-Bone® Brushing Chews® also have the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of acceptance for tartar control, which is a huge plus in our book. This seal indicates that when used as directed, the product meets standards of effectiveness for reducing tartar in pets.

Macro view of kibble


3. Feed him therapeutic dry kibble.

Your veterinarian may recommend feeding your dog a specially formulated dental diet to help improve his oral health. This type of kibble tends to be larger and usually has an abrasive texture to aid with cleaning teeth and removing plaque build-up. Dental foods may also contain ingredients that help reduce tartar formation. Look for dental food that carries the VOHC seal of acceptance. And don't forget to supplement your dog's diet with Milk-Bone® Good Morning® Daily Vitamin Treats. These tasty snacks contain beneficial nutrients that aren't found in most dog foods.

Dog drinking from water bowl


4. Add a medicated rinse to his water.

While not a substitute for brushing, medicated rinses may help by making the surface of your dog’s teeth less hospitable to plaque and bacteria. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation and then simply add the product to your canine’s water or spray it in his mouth. Medicated rinses can also help combat stinky breath — a win-win for your pup’s oral health and your nose.

Dog chewing yellow ball


5. Provide vet-approved dental chew toys.

Your dog probably loves to chew on toys. Why not do double duty and get him a toy that can also help clean his teeth? But don’t just go with any chew toy you see on the pet store shelf. Some toys may be too hard on teeth and can break them. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a dental chew toy for your canine.