Dog health 101: Dental health for your dog

Dog health 101: Dental health for your doggo

March 11, 2022

Dog health 101: Dental health for dogs and puppies. Image shows an English/British Bulldog (medium-sized dog) wearing a premium waterproof Valgray for Dogs collar with clean teeth.

Do dogs need dental health care? Yes, and it's not just to keep bad doggy breath at bay! Just like we include oral care as part of our hygiene routine, dog health also includes good oral hygiene practices.

Here's what you need to know about maintaining your dog's health and avoiding dog health issues with proper dental care.

Dog health 101: Dental health

Why your dog needs dental health care

Valgray for Dogs premium dog accessory blog post image for Dog health 101: Dental health for dogs. Image shows an owner kissing a labrador retriever dog (large-sized dog) who is wearing a premium waterproof Valgray for Dogs collar with engraved name tags.

Brushing your dog's teeth may sound strange, but oral care for your fur kid is an important part of helping them live their best and healthiest life. Similar to our dental health practices, brushing your dog's teeth helps prevent a number of health issues, including plaque build-up, tooth decay, and gum disease.

1. Stinky doggy breath

Your beloved fur kid always wants to cuddle or give you a slobbery smooch, but you'll do anything to avoid that stinky doggy breath! As pet parents, we've all been there! That infamous smelly dog breath we all try to avoid is actually the result of bacteria build-up on your dog's teeth and inside their mouth. Much like the biological processes that take place in our mouths, plaque, saliva and food particles coat the surface of your doggo's teeth. Over time the plaque calcifies, hardens and leaves microscopic layers to accumulate (known as tartar), creating that yucky yellow-brown colouring on their teeth and extra stinky breath.

2. Tooth loss and decay

With chewing, fetching and eating, infections can set into a tooth, causing damage to the tooth's structure. Once structural damage or an infection weakens a tooth, it will loosen and fall out. Losing teeth makes it harder for your doggo to chew, play and even eat, and it can affect your pup's ability to get proper nutrition. Oral infections can also make it incredibly painful for your dog to go about their day and be their fun-loving selves.

3. Gum disease

When tartar (a build-up of plaque) forms on the surface of your dog's teeth, eventually, your pooch's gums start to recede and bleed, leaving their teeth vulnerable to gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontal disease. Not to mention, receding gums and inflammation creates the perfect environment for bacteria to infect your pup's oral cavities causing chronic pain and tooth loss.

4. Organ damage

Tartar and bacteria build-up on your dog's teeth doesn't only affect your dog's breath and dental health; it also affects your dog's organs. Known as bacteremia, the plaque formed in your dog's mouth enters their bloodstream, spreading harmful bacteria throughout your dog's vital organs. Bacteremia affects your doggy's liver, kidneys and heart, impacting your dog's overall health and making your fur kid feel ill.

The benefits of good dental health for dogs

Valgray for Dogs blog post image 2 for Dog health 101: Dental health for dogs. The image shows a close-up shot of a Border Collie dog (medium-sized dog breed) with an open mouth and clean teeth.

1) Goodbye stinky dog breath, hello healthy gums

With regular brushing, bacteria (and bits of food) in your doggos mouth doesn't get a chance to accumulate to cause bad dog breath or infections that cause inflammation and irritation to your doggy's gums.

2) Strong, healthy teeth

When you prioritise your doggy's dental health and oral care, it ensures the structure of your pup's teeth remains strong, prevents broken teeth and helps stop your dog from losing their pearly whites.

3) Health dogs are happier dogs

Teeth brushing for dogs prevents numerous dog health issues which stem from kidney, liver and heart damage. Plus, it'll save you from the enormous veterinary bills associated with medications, treatments and special diets for precious pups suffering from issues with their kidneys, liver or heart. Essentially, your darling fur baby can live a longer, healthier, and much happier life with a bit of proper oral care for dogs.

How do I keep my dog's teeth clean?

Valgray for Dogs blog post image 3 for Dog health 101: Dental health for dogs. The image shows a close-up shot of a Chinese Shar-Pei dog (medium dog breed) with an open mouth and teeth with tartar build-up.

1) Get your dog a toothbrush and toothpaste

Just like you use a toothbrush with toothpaste to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, you can use a soft, small toothbrush and special toothpaste for your doggy. Be sure not to use regular human toothpaste for your doggy's dental health care because the foam it creates can upset your pup, and the ingredients in regular toothpaste can irritate your doggy's stomach. Instead, we recommend you opt for a toothpaste designed for dogs because its ingredients are safer, it's much tastier (for dogs, of course), and it's less likely to frighten your pup.

2) Make toothbrushing a routine

Practice makes perfect, and the same is true when it comes to brushing your dog's teeth. The more time you spend getting your fur kid used to a good ole toothbrushing, the easier it will become for both of you. If you have a puppy or younger pooch, getting used to regular teeth brushing is much easier as they grow up with it and know what to expect. Older dogs can be a bit more challenging to introduce doggy dental health to as they don't know what to expect, what is happening or why. But, with calm, reassurance and a lot of love, you can get your older doggo on board with this new toothbrushing thing by letting them taste the toothpaste and by starting slowly.

How often should I brush my dog's teeth?

Valgray for Dogs blog post image 4 for Dog health 101: Dental health for dogs. The image shows Marco and Rhode, the founders and owners of Valgray for Dogs with their precious Chinese Shar-Pei fur kid, Juno, on a walk in Cape Town, South Africa. Juno is wearing a Valgray for Dogs tear-resistant, waterproof dog collar and leash set with personalised tags and rose gold accessories.

You should brush your pooch's teeth with a toothbrush and dog toothpaste daily or once a week at least. Using small, circular motions, focus on the area where your dog's gums and teeth meet to help loosen and remove any build-up. Before you finish your toothbrushing sessions, brush down vertically towards your doggy's tongue to help remove plaque, tartar or bits of food trapped in their teeth.

Are there alternatives to toothbrushing?

Absolutely! There are various cleaning tools, gauze wipes, treats, chews, and even dog foods made to help remove tartar and avoid gum diseases if brushing your dog's teeth isn't an option. We highly recommend speaking to your local veterinarian about which dog oral care products they recommend specifically for your pup. Remember, oral care for dogs can be a bonding experience, just like regular grooming, so use this opportunity to spend time and connect with your darling doggo.

Please note this blog is for information purposes only. Valgray for Dogs encourages pet parents to consult a veterinarian before making decisions about dog oral health care

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Valgray for Dogs designers dog collars and leashes based in Cape Town, South Africa. Blog footer image for Valgray Blog page Dog health 101: Dental health for dogs. Valgray for Dogs blog illustrated footer image shows an abstract pattern made of different sizes and breed dogs.

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The Valgray Collar Sizing Guide
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Collars for all dog sizes!

Valgray is one of the few brands that cater for the truly tiny pooch with our X-Small collars. We also go the extra mile to ensure we cater for the giant breeds with measurements reaching up to 75cm.

Never try to guess your dog's neck size! Avoid disappointment by first making sure you measure your pup’s neck for the most accurate sizing.

Then, refer to our sizing chart below to find the most appropriate collar size for your doggie. Remember to select a collar size that will fit comfortably and allow for movement.

I don't know how to measure my dog's neck?

Don’t have a tape measure lying around? No problem! To learn how to measure your dog's neck safely with various household items, click here.

Valgray luxury dog accessory product sizing guide & sizing chart for extra large, large, medium, small and extra small dog collars. Image from The Valgray Collar Sizing Guide page.

Personal customisation

We try our best to cater to every breed, but some doggos might need a little extra at-home customisation to achieve the perfect fit. Our PVC-coated nylon straps are soft, making adjustments at home very easy. Use a standard leather punching tool to add additional holes, or use a utility knife to trim the length of your collar.

Interested in learning about the paws and humans behind Valgray? Learn about our journey and how we give back on Valgray, This Is How Our Story Started!