Dog Teeth Tartar and Plaque Removal [Dental Care 101]

A dog’s teeth go through a lot of things: food, toys, outdoor objects, and so on. This is why they are prone to tartar and plaque. If not cleaned, it will lead to further dental problems. With this, it’s important to give your dog healthy dental hygiene consistently. If your dog already has problems with its dental health, you need to perform dog teeth tartar and plaque removal properly.

In this post, we will discuss with you the common cause of plaque on dog’s teeth, how to remove it, and other information that will keep your pooch healthy.

Common dog dental problems

Before you perform dog teeth tartar and plaque removal, you have to know the condition of your pet. The following are some of the problems that you may encounter. Take note that proper diagnosis is the key to prevent potential complications.

-Periodontal disease

Periodontal disease is one of the leading dental problems among canines. This starts as gingivitis when the plaque digs on the gums around the tooth. When it’s left untreated, it will start to dig deeper into the gums, making the tooth appear longer than it really is.

When periodontal disease reaches Stage 4, about 50% of the attachment between the gums and teeth will be gone. This will cause intense pain, bleeding gums, bad breath, poor appetite, and further complications. If your dog happened to chew an infected object, an infection may ensue.

-Plaque buildup

Another common issue among dogs is plaque and tartar buildup. Take note that this is the first phase of gingivitis characterized as brown deposits at the bottom of the tooth. Such deposits can be food bits that you failed to remove.

If spotted early, plaque can be removed with proper dental hygiene or a treatment at the vet clinic.

-Bad breath

Halitosis or bad breath is another problem that some pet owners face. This is due to rotten teeth or the buildup of tartar all over your dog’s teeth.

Take note that bad breath among canines isn’t just a sign of a dental problem. If there’s a metallic hint to your dog’s breath, you should have it checked for potential kidney problems.


Unlike humans, a dog can’t tell you if their teeth are aching. Due to this, they will be left suffering unless their owner is vigilant enough to spot the signs.

If your dog winces when eating, reluctant to chew, or is losing weight, you should bring it to the vet to get checked. Your doggo might be suffering from pain and potential infection.

-Retained baby teeth

For canines that have grown its adult daggers, a common problem is retained baby teeth. When this happens, the teeth will crowd and cause a problematic bite.

Take note that retained baby teeth can also lead to intense tooth pain, gingivitis, and even periodontal disease. So if you spot an itty-bitty tooth still in place, you should bring your pooch to the vet to have it extracted.

Causes of plaque and tartar on dog’s teeth

So you wonder: what causes plaque on dog’s teeth? Like baby humans, dogs put a lot of things on their mouths. They eat and explore their surroundings through their mouth. So if you’re wondering about the potential causes of dental problems on your pet, the following are some of the things you have to watch out for:

*Sticky food

One of the common culprits to damaged teeth is sticky food. The remnants of the food will get stuck on your dog’s teeth, rot in it, and trigger the formation of plaque.

Also, even if the food isn’t sticky, it can still cause dental problems if you don’t brush your pooch or if it’s not drinking enough water.

*Failure to brush dog’s teeth

Again, your failure to brush your dog’s teeth can lead to serious repercussions. Over the weeks that your dog isn’t getting proper dental hygiene, the plaque will accumulate.

*Old age

Another risk factor to dental problems and plaque buildup is the dog’s age. Older dogs are more prone to dental problems as they don’t chew as much as younger canines.

*Misaligned teeth

A misaligned tooth is difficult to clean and provides a space for food bits to get stuck. Over time, this will sustain plaque that could lead to various health problems.

Consequences of failing to clean your dog’s teeth

Take note that dental problems aren’t isolated to your dog’s mouth. Once the infection advances, it can also affect other parts of the body. In fact, a neglected dental problem can cause heart problems and even the weakness of your dog’s immune system.

The following are just some of the consequences of failing to deal with your dog’s tooth plaque.

*Difficulty chewing and eating. This will lead to weight loss and poor health.

*Intense pain. Your dog will be reluctant to perform activities it used to have fun doing.

*High susceptibility to infection. Expect repetitive visits to the vet.

*Risk to heart disease. Infections can enter from the open wound in the dogs’ mouth, circulate on the bloodstream, and reach the heart.

*Bad breath. If you don’t brush your dog’s teeth, you’ll soon have to deal with halitosis.

*Other health complications. Weak immune system, failing heart, and various infections will mire your dog’s health.

When to call the veterinarian

Whenever you notice something off on your dog’s mouth, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian. This way, your dog will have a proper diagnosis and the condition will be treated properly.

Still, you shouldn’t expect the vet to do the brushing for your dog. It’s your job as the pet owner. The dog doctor can only guide you through proper dental hygiene.

Methods in Dog Teeth Tartar and Plaque Removal

When it comes to dog teeth tartar and plaque removal, you have six options. Take note that the vet can recommend more solutions.

Method 1: Regular dog brushing

dog teeth tartar and plaque removal

Regular brushing should be done the moment you brought the doggo home. Brushing your doggo’s teeth every day is ideal, though it could be a little demanding for busy owners. If that’s the case, brushing your dog’s teeth every other day or at least once a week is the least you can do.

Here are some of the simple steps in brushing your doggo’s teeth:

Step 1. Prepare the needed tools

Before you touch your dog’s mouth, make sure that you have the tools ready. Get a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste. Take note that dog toothbrushes are made with longer handles and angled bristles.

On the other hand, dog toothpastes are flavored with savory tastes to make it more appealing to canines. Take note that dog toothpaste is edible.

Step 2. Calm your dog in an ideal position

Next, let your dog settle in a comfortable position before you start brushing. This wouldn’t be a problem for dogs that are familiar with brushing, though some may require extra coaxing.

Step 3. Lift your dog’s lips slowly

Once your dog is relaxed and ready for brushing, you should start lifting its lips slowly to access the teeth. If your pooch resists, try giving a small taste of the toothpaste so they would be encouraged to behave.

Step 4. Start brushing

After that, get the brush and start brushing sideways. Start gentle and only apply a little pressure on the teeth with plaque. Try to reach the farthest teeth as this is the most prone to plaque. Take note that you don’t have to brush from the inside as your dog will lick the brush and spread the toothpaste. There’s no need to rinse your dogs’ mouth with water. Just let the toothpaste linger.

Step 5. Give a treat

After you’re done brushing, give your dog a treat for good behavior. This way, they will be more cooperative the next time you brush their teeth.

Method 2: Dental chews and treats

dog teeth tartar and plaque removal

Aside from brushing your pooch, you can also give dental chews like bully sticks to encourage chewing. Take note that the more your dog chews, the less plaque they build.

You can find dental chews in any pet supplies store. These are formulated with teeth-cleaning agents and irresistible flavor to keep your dog hooked.

Method 3: Dental sprays

dog teeth tartar and plaque removal
Photo Credits – iHeartDogs

For dogs that are reluctant of brushing, you can use dental sprays. It’s like liquid toothpaste that you can apply fast. This will help reduce tartar buildup while killing bad bacteria that harbor on your dog’s mouth. If your dog has damaged teeth, try to spray this directly to the affected area.

Overall, dental sprays are helpful and it gives your dog fresh breath. However, dental sprays don’t have the same efficiency as brushing.

Method 4: Teeth wipes

Photo Credits: Dog Training Nation

For canines that have a hate-hate relationship with toothbrushes, your best bet is tooth wipes. This is a small cloth with a tooth-cleaning agent. You can scrub your dog’s teeth using this. It’s effective in removing tartar and reducing plaque buildup. You can also use this on your pet’s gums.

Method 5: Water dental additives

Water additives for dental care are quite a new thing on the market. You’ll just add a few drops of the water additive to your dog’s water bowl. Once your dog drinks, the additive will act by cleansing your pet’s mouth. It works like a mouthwash, but it’s safe for your dog to drink.

The only problem with this product is that some dogs don’t like the smell or taste. Still, you can try it on your dog and see how the pet will take it.

Method 6: Professional teeth cleaning

If all your home efforts fail to come to fruition, your next resort is professional dog teeth tartar and plaque removal. This is done by veterinarians and is the guaranteed choice in keeping your dog’s dental health.

Still, the vet will recommend home care to complement the treatment they’ve done at the clinic. However, you should know that professional dog teeth cleaning comes with an added cost.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it normal for a dog’s teeth to fall out?

A: If your pooch is a puppy, they may be already shedding their puppy teeth to give way for the adult ones. However, if an adult dog sheds its teeth, the owner should seek immediate help from a veterinarian. This isn’t normal and can be a sign of a serious health condition.

Q: How much will it cost to get my dog’s teeth pulled?

A: For basic extraction, most vets will charge about $15 for each tooth. However, if the vet has to perform a minor operation, the cost would be as much as $35 per tooth. This will vary on each vet clinic.

Q: Can you scrape plaque off dog’s teeth?

A: If you’re thinking of scraping the plaque manually, you should consider other methods. Chew toys and bones are excellent alternatives to manually doing the plaque removal. Paired with regular brushing, you can reduce the plaque buildup on your dog’s mouth.

Q: Can I use hydrogen peroxide on my dog’s teeth?

A: Some experts vouch for the use of one part hydrogen peroxide and one part aloe vera extracts. This can be used to brush a dog’s teeth, but you should prevent too much ingestion as much as possible.

Q: Can I use human toothpaste to brush a dog’s teeth?

A: You should NEVER use human toothpaste on your dog’s teeth. Unlike specially formulated dog toothpaste, those made for humans are packed with fluoride. This substance is poisonous to dogs. So if you’re brushing your dog’s teeth, you might as purchase dedicated dog toothpaste for them.

Final words

Dog teeth tartar and plaque removal are important to keep your dog healthy and clean. Just like humans, your dog’s teeth need brushing and proper care. If not, they will suffer from the consequences of your neglect, which, in the long run, will also cause more headaches on your end.

What do you think of our guide here? Do you have something else to add? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section!