Recommending home oral hygiene and products

Advise clients regularly of the potential damage done by inappropriate chew toys and the benefits of regular home dental care. In offering this guidance, specific recommendations are more likely to be followed. For example, explain that “Your dog will benefit from feeding this food and using this toothpaste and toothbrush at least once a day,” or “The prescription diet is working well to control tartar (calculus) and plaque on the back teeth, but I would like you to add these dental wipes for the incisor and canine teeth.” Clients must be told specifically that brushing only removes plaque, not calculus. Brushing needs to be done daily to be of benefit. Brushing teeth with already inflamed gingiva will cause pain and animal aversion. Even daily brushing does not preclude the need for anesthetized exams, radiographs, and therapy, the same as in human dental care.

Click here for products accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. Consider using this handout to teach clients how to select dental products for their pets.