Lyle Says: February is National Pet Dental Health Month


How Toothbrushing can put a Smile on Their Face (and Yours)

Just like with people, your dog’s dental health is an important part of their overall health. Your pup’s bad breath can be more than a stinky annoyance. It can be a sign of gingivitis, gum infection, tooth decay or other more serious internal health issues. Poor dental hygiene can lead to other larger, serious, and expensive dental and medical issues.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), periodontal disease can lead to pain and discomfort for your pets and have also been linked to more serious issues such as kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.

Full canine dental cleanings often require general anesthesia, which comes with its own risks. A regular dental hygiene routine can help your dog avoid prolonged times under general anesthesia.

Though tempting, it’s not enough to give your pup rawhide or dental chews and call it “a cleaning.” According to the AVMA, “regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings.” Good dental hygiene includes examinations at regular veterinary appointments and, perhaps most importantly, vigilant home care.

Here are some easy tooth brushing tips to promote your dog’s dental health, and help remove some of the 600 types of bacteria found in your dog’s mouth:

  • While it’s best to get your dog in the habit of tooth brushing when she is a puppy, it’s never too late to start a healthy home brushing routine.
  • There are many types of brushes and flavors of pastes on the market. You may need to experiment to find what works the best for you and your dog, and of course, consult your vet for recommendations.
  • Frequency is crucial. And while it may be difficult to get in your pup’s mouth for everyday brushing, a few times a week can really improve their overall health and smelly breath.

At Dog’s Day Out — a new DIY dog wash, full-serve bathing, and grooming salon — you can ask our trained staff to add toothbrushing to any service. According to Dog’s Day Out Groomer Andy, “While your dog may not initially love having their teeth brushed, they (and you!) will be much happier in the long run.” Adding, “The sooner dogs get familiar with frequent brushing routines, the less pushback you might experience.”

Dog’s Day Out, located on the edge of downtown Minneapolis and next door to Downtown Dogs Daycare and Boarding, also offers a great Clinical Gum Health take-home toothbrush/paste kit for only $3.

The advice provided is based on many years of experience as dog parents and operators of one of the largest and longest established dog daycare and boarding facilities in the Twin Cities. Always consult your veterinarian before changing or adding to your dog’s health routines.

When not sharing advice, our dog bloggers — Frannie, Lyle, and Helen — share a space with their people, Ralph and Abbe Bernstein.