How Often Should I Clean My Dog’s Teeth in Ukiah, CA?

Oral care is one of the most important, yet easily forgotten pieces of caring for your dog. There have been studies that show that 80% of dogs have periodontal disease by age three. Age three! That means that out of the almost 90 million dogs in the United States, 72 million have some form of periodontal disease. If this tells us anything, it’s that we need to start taking care of our dog’s teeth.

Dog Teeth Cleaning in Ukiah, CA

Why Dog Teeth Cleaning Matters

Ok but if 80% of dogs have periodontal disease, can it be that bad? There are many levels of periodontal disease. However, when it gets severe, it can lead to heart, kidney, or liver disease which are all serious. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque and tartar building up on the teeth and gums. As the bacteria spreads, it will cause decay in the teeth and gums. As the decay gets worse, it can lead to tooth loss and diseases. If the oral issues get so bad that they do lead to kidney, heart, or liver disease, it could be fatal for your dog.

Eliminating Disease With Dog Teeth Cleaning in Ukiah, CA

Now that we’ve established how bad periodontal and oral disease can be, let’s talk about how to fix it. If you’ve never brushed your dog’s teeth and he’s 3 or older, you should take him in to the veterinarian and have his teeth checked by a professional. Your vet may advise that the best place to start is with a professional dog teeth cleaning. During a professional cleaning, your dog will be put under anesthesia and his teeth will be cleaned just like when we humans go to the dentist. At that time, they can also pull any rotten teeth that they might find.

Establish a Dog Teeth Brushing Routine

If you’re getting a new puppy or your veterinarian has checked your dog’s teeth and says they aren’t bad, then you just need to start a brushing routine. You’ll need to get dog specific toothpaste. They have some really tasty flavors for you and your dog to choose from like peanut butter and chicken flavor. You will also need something to brush those little teeth with. You can either use a dog toothbrush or a soft bristled kid’s toothbrush. If your dog doesn’t like the sensation of a brush in his mouth, you could get one of the rubber ones that has bristles and slides over your finger.

Frequency of Dog Teeth Cleaning

Once you have all the tools, it’s time to start regularly brushing. So how often should you really be brushing your dog’s teeth? Some veterinarians recommend brushing every day. This is even more true for small breed dogs like Yorkies or for dogs that eat a wet food only diet. These are additional risk factors for periodontal disease. Other vets recommend that three times a week is enough. Try starting with a few times a week and talk to your vet about how your dog’s oral health is looking. If they think your dog needs more, then you can increase the number of days. It might also be beneficial for you to schedule a professional dog teeth cleaning in Ukiah, CA every 2 to 4 years with your vet to make sure that your dog’s teeth can get back to zero.

Other Ways to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean

There are a few things you can do additional to brushing that will help with oral care. Toys like a Kong are good to hide toothpaste or special tooth-cleaning treats in. Treats like Greenies Canine Dental Chews are great for maintaining your dog’s oral health. You could also provide a rawhide bone, but be very cautious with these as dog’s can harm themselves with rawhide. As soon as it gets soft, take it away from your dog. There are other chew toys with ridges or bristles that remove plaque and tartar as your dog chews. This is a win win for oral care and keeping your dog occupied and out of trouble.

Another option is to take the natural remedy route in addition to the regular teeth brushings. Adding plain, unsweetened yogurt to your dog’s daily food can help with bad breath. Make sure there isn’t any sweetener and only give a couple of teaspoons. Be careful with this one in case your dog is lactose intolerant. Others swear by sprinkling some parsley or dill over their pet’s food. Both herbs are actually antibacterial and are known as natural breath fresheners. A ginger tea could also be a good option. Put a couple of slices of ginger into hot water and then let it cool and give your dog a teaspoon or two. Not only will this freshen the breath, but it will help with tummy troubles like indigestion. A few other options that people use are carrots, apple slices, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, or a puppy probiotic. Whatever you choose, you should check with your veterinarian to make sure it’s ok for your specific dog.

Water additives are becoming a popular solution because they’re so easy to use. They fight bad breath and are, as the name suggests, added to water. Some dog’s teeth are extra prone to decay. If this is the case for your dog, you may want to talk to your vet about dental sealants. Just like in people, these can help protect your dog’s teeth and, in turn, their total oral hygiene.


Oral health and dog teeth cleaning is so important for your dog. Make sure to brush a few times a week to keep the chances of periodontal disease down. Call Mendocino Animal Hospital at (707) 4628833 to talk to your vet about what’s right for you and your dog in order to keep him happy and healthy for as long as possible.

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About Mendocino Animal Hospital

At Mendocino Animal Hospital, we believe in fostering the human-animal bond with excellent veterinary medicine. Our full-service veterinary practice operates in Ukiah, CA with a team of skilled veterinarians and a passionate, talented support staff who make you feel like a part of the family.

As an AAHA-accredited animal hospital, every service and aspect of our practice meets AAHA’s Standards of Excellence. No matter what your pet comes in for, they’ll receive only the best in care, compassion, and service.