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DOG / nutrition

Protect Your Dog's Dental Health

Regular checkups and the right diet can help your pet’s teeth and health

Overview

Plaque and tartar

Dental problems in dogs begin with plaque, the bacterial film that builds up on teeth. Over time, plaque can cause gum infection, tooth decay and infections that can affect your pet’s heart, liver and kidneys.

Hardened calcium deposits called tartar, which builds up over time, can also contribute to tooth decay.

Your dog may have dental issues if you notice:

  • Bad breath (worse than normal doggie breath)
  • Yellow or brown deposits on teeth that aren’t easily scraped away
  • Inflamed, red gums
  • Bleeding in the mouth

Preventive doggie dental care

Pet teeth need maintenance, too. Take your dog to the vet for regular dental checkups and, if necessary, cleanings. You should try brushing your dog’s teeth at least once a week or more often.

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Dog food for better teeth

Manufacturers of specially formulated foods and treats approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (look for the VOHC seal on the package) say that the shape and chewiness of the pieces help scrape away plaque.

These foods may also contain ingredients that can contribute to good dental health, including fiber, which helps remove plaque and tartar, and polyphosphate salts, which can keep calcium from sticking to your dog’s choppers and hardening into tartar.

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