Did you know that puppies have 30 teeth, while adult dogs have 42 teeth?
Brushing your dog's teeth regularly is the foundation for good oral health and hygiene. Unfortunately, dental problems are so prevalent amongst dogs that over 80% of dogs over the age of three experience some sort of dental disease.
Here’s a complete guide on how to keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy.
How often should a dog's teeth be cleaned?
It would be best if you aimed to brush your dog's teeth at least two or three times a week at home. You'd need a suitable dog toothbrush and toothpaste for brushing your dog's teeth.
Make sure to use dog toothpaste because human toothpaste may contain toxic ingredients such as fluoride or xylitol (an artificial sweetener) that are unsafe for dogs.
How to clean my dog’s teeth at home?
Here are a step-by-step guide (as recommended by vets) to clean your dog’s teeth:
- Start by squeezing generous amounts of toothpaste onto a wet dog toothbrush.
- Then, softly brush your dog's teeth and gums in a circular motion for approximately two minutes. It would be best if you started by brushing the front teeth and slowly making your way to the side and bottom parts of your dog's teeth.
- Finally, rinse your dog's mouth well with lukewarm water.
- After brushing your dog's teeth, you can use dental spray products to prevent plaque build-up or tartar on dog teeth. To use dental dog sprays, lift your dog's lips and spray 1-2 times onto its teeth or gums.
- Avoid giving your furbaby any dog food or drinks for at least an hour after use for the best results.
Protip: Do note that dental sprays are not an alternative to dog teeth cleaning; it's an additional step that may improve dental outcomes.
Do dogs like getting their teeth brushed?
If your dog is like most, it wouldn't like getting its teeth brushed at first.
Luckily, you can train most dogs to tolerate teeth cleaning over time. It would help if you could establish a consistent schedule for your dog's teeth cleaning so it will start to anticipate teeth cleaning times.
How to choose a dog toothbrush?
First of all, you must always choose a toothbrush that's comfortable for you and your dog.
If it's your first time brushing your dog's teeth, using a finger toothbrush would be a more straightforward option for you. This is because the design of finger toothbrushes allows easy cleaning of the whole mouth in just a few strokes.
On the other hand, if you're looking for a dog stick toothbrush, choose those with soft bristles as they're more gentle on the dog's mouth. The toothbrush should also have angled handles or multiple heads to ensure it reaches every corner of your dog's mouth.
Which dog toothpaste should I go with?
There are various flavours of toothpaste, ranging from peanut butter to beef and chicken, in the market today. That being the case, you could also experiment with different dog toothpaste flavours to find one that's most appealing to your dog.
Make sure the dog toothpaste contains no foaming agents so it doesn’t harm your dog if accidentally swallowed.
In short, we encourage you to try out different kinds of toothpaste and toothbrushes with your dog to figure out the best combination for you and your pup.
Protip: Keep teeth brushing sessions with your dog short and fun so it will start to enjoy them rather than resist them.
How can I get plaque off my dog's teeth? (tartar)
Plaque is a sticky, colorless layer of bacteria that forms on your dog's teeth. These bacteria produce acidic substances every time your dog eats or drinks. The acidic substances could destroy tooth enamel, resulting in gum diseases (gingivitis), cavities, or tooth loss.
If the plaque is not removed promptly, it may harden into tartar on dog teeth. Tartar on dog teeth is often visible as it looks like stubborn dark staining on the surface of the teeth. The best way to avoid plaque buildup is by regularly brushing your dog's teeth. It also helps to keep their mouth clean and healthy.
Additionally, chewing dog toys are of great help too. Chewing is the natural way for dogs to clean their teeth. That being so, chewing dog toys are specially designed to minimise the buildup of plaque and tartar.
However, if your dog already has a buildup of plaque or tartar, it's best to consult a dog dentist for dog teeth cleaning. This is because brushing alone may be ineffective in removing plaque from your dog's teeth at this stage.
The removal of tartar requires professional cleaning with specialised equipment. Moreover, dog teeth scaling may also be performed to polish your dog's teeth and remove plaque or tartar around the gum line.
What happens if I never brush my dog's teeth?
Brushing dog teeth helps to prevent plaque build-up. Without regular brushing, you're putting your dog at risk of various dental complications such as gum disease, halitosis (persistent bad breath), periodontal diseases, or tooth decay.
The common signs of dental problems in dogs you should look out for include:
- Bleeding or swollen gums
- Chewing on only one side of the mouth
- Drooling excessively
- Trouble eating or chewing food
- Noticeable bad breath
- Painful bumps inside the mouth
- Unexplainable weight loss
- Yellowing of the teeth
If left untreated, these dental conditions will negatively impact your dog's life quality. So, it's safe to say that brushing dog teeth and regular dog dentist visits are crucial to maintaining the overall well-being of your pup.
Should dogs go to the dentist?
Yes. Professional dog teeth cleaning by a veterinarian is essential to protect your pup's oral health. Dog dentists or veterinarians can help identify, prevent or treat dental conditions from a very early stage.
That being so, your dog must undergo oral examinations and dental cleaning at least once a year. This would allow veterinarians to alert you of any early warning signs of dental problems.
In some cases, plaque or tartar may still develop despite regular dog teeth cleaning. So it's always important to consult a trusted veterinarian to evaluate the health of your dog's jawline and teeth.
Veterinarians are equipped with dental instruments to perform dog teeth scaling or polishing that can remove tartar on dog teeth or plaque build-up.
How much does it cost to clean the teeth of a dog in Malaysia?
The average cost of cleaning a dog's teeth could range from RM 200 to RM 400, depending on the case complexity.
While most veterinary clinics offer general dental check-ups, here are some of the best dog dentist facilities you can bring your pet to for a more in-depth analysis of your dog’s oral health.
Where to bring my dog for teeth cleaning in Malaysia?
Pets Grooming Hotel
This facility offers anaesthesia-free teeth cleaning services which take 20 to 40 minutes. Firstly, a licensed veterinarian will perform a brief wellness test here to identify the need for more extensive oral care such as tooth extractions or gum disease treatment. If deemed unnecessary, your dog will undergo routine cleanings by experienced dog dentists who are promised to be gentle and affectionate.
Cost: RM 200 to RM 300 (depending on breed size)
Address: GF-22A, Ground Floor, Mainplace Mall Jalan USJ 21/10, Persiaran Kewajipan, 47630 Subang Jaya, Selangor.
Contact number: 010-203 6088
Website: PGH Malaysia
Pusat Veterinar Healing Pets
This well-established facility offers services from various disciplines such as dentistry, ophthalmology, cardiology and many more! You can be sure that your pup is in good hands because the veterinarians in this clinic are well-qualified with years of experience.
Address: 26-30, Pusat Veterinar Healing Pets, Jalan SS21/62, Damansara Utama, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Contact number: 012-328 9062 or 03-7732 8878
Website: Healing Pets
Animal Medical Centre
This veterinary centre was established 45 years ago to deliver advanced diagnostic veterinary care and animal services. The dog dentists here are qualified to perform dentistry and oral surgeries to alleviate pain and improve overall oral comfort.
Cost: from RM 60 (total cost estimation will be provided after consultation)
Address: Wisma Medivet, 8, Jln Tun Razak, 50400 Kuala Lumpur
Contact number: 013-431 5157 or 03-4042 6742
Website: Animal Medical Centre
Dog dentistry is essential to taking care of your pet's well-being. Although Oyen Pet Insurance doesn't cover dental visits or procedures, we do offer reimbursement for any accidental treatments related to the pet's dental care.
On top of that, our insurance plan also covers consultation and surgery costs for your dog.
How long is a dog under anesthesia for teeth cleaning?
Dogs often start feeling scared or stressed during dental procedures. As a result, they may move around excessively, making it difficult for the veterinarian to complete the dental procedures.
Anesthesia is a class of medications that temporarily put your dog in a "sleep-like" or unconscious state before a medical procedure. It's a means for your dog to undergo dental processes effortlessly without feeling any pain or discomfort.
Anesthesia for dog teeth cleaning usually lasts for 60 to 95 minutes. This time is sufficient for dog dentists to examine the dog's mouth with dental instruments and perform dog dental cleaning procedures.
The veterinarian may increase the anesthesia period depending on the complexity of the case. For example, dogs with a lot of tartar in their mouth may need a longer time for teeth cleaning and, subsequently, a longer time under anesthesia.
After the procedure, the effect of the anesthesia may last for 15 to 20 minutes. If you're afraid of putting your dog under anesthesia, you may opt for veterinary clinics that perform anesthesia-free dog teeth cleaning.
Do not overlook the importance of your dog’s oral hygiene. It’s never too late to start brushing your dog's teeth. Taking good care of your pup is worth every penny (or ringgit).
Look into your options of insuring your pet today with Oyen Pet Insurance. Take a quick quiz here to check your pet's eligibility for pet insurance!
Do note that pet insurance does not cover any cost related to dental cleaning as such treatments are considered preventive treatments. Pet insurance do however, cover any accidental injury that’s related to the pet’s teeth.