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Barks & Mewsings

The Trupanion blog

Seven Essential Puppy Dental Care Tips

By: Kelli Rascoe

A white dog with curly fur yawning in bed

It’s never too early to start thinking about your puppy’s dental care. In your puppy’s first year, they grow and develop so quickly. And part of that growth and development includes puppy teething and chewing! If you’re a new puppy owner, you may not know what to do when it comes to your pet’s dental treatment. For instance, how often should you brush and where do I get the puppy toothpaste? We sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Caroline Wilde to learn more about puppy dental care and tips to keep your new best friend’s teeth healthy and clean.

Puppy dental care tips for your new furry friend

All-white Siberian Husky running with a toy in his mouth

What is the importance of puppy dental care?

When you bring home a new puppy, you may not immediately think to start a dental plan. And your puppy may not even be old enough to brush. Wilde points out the importance of starting a puppy dental care plan right from the start:

“It’s important to get your puppy used to whatever form of home dental care your veterinarian recommends at an early age. This makes dental care as adult dogs much easier, which can help prevent dental disease from occurring. Also, it’s important to prevent dental disease, because once dental or gum disease is established, then it cannot be managed at home. It will require veterinary care and dental treatment.”

Consider having your puppy’s teeth checked at the first veterinary visit. “Every puppy should have a thorough oral exam in order to identify un-erupted teeth, extra teeth, and misaligned teeth. Because of this, early treatment can prevent complications as they get older,” says Wilde.

Signs your puppy may need dental care

Puppies like to chew. Whether they’re eating a snack or biting on a toy, they are keeping busy with those teeth. So, how do you know if something more is going on?

Wilde breaks down the common signs to look for if your puppy needs dental care:

  • Pawing at the face
  • Drooling
  • A strange odor from the mouth
  • Difficulty eating

Dog breeds and dental care

Also, certain dog breeds may be pre-disposed to needing dental care. For example, “Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, and Pugs frequently have misaligned teeth, extra teeth, or teeth that don’t erupt. A thorough dental exam may help identify these abnormalities early so that you and your veterinarian can help prevent any complications from occurring if they remain untreated,” states Wilde.

If your puppy shows any signs of discomfort with its mouth, please seek medical care from your veterinarian. They can determine the best course of action for your puppy.

Tips to keep your puppy’s teeth healthy and clean

Learning to brush your puppy’s teeth may take time. This is a new process for you and your puppy, so take it one day at a time and have fun!

If you need some pointers on how to start, consider these tips from Wilde below:

  1. Make dental care part of your puppy’s routine, and reward the puppy by giving treats.
  2. Do not force it. You want this to be a pleasant and bonding experience for you and your puppy.
  3. Every pet is different. Get your veterinarian’s recommendations on when to start home dental care.
  4. Your veterinarian can also make specific recommendations regarding dental diets, chews, and water additives.
  5. Your veterinarian may have free kits with toothbrush and toothpaste samples to help get you and your puppy started on a good program for oral health.
  6. New pets should be seen every 6-12 months, depending on your pet’s unique needs, so that they can advise the best dental care plan for your pet.
  7. The most important aspect of dental care for pets is regular dental examinations by a veterinarian.

A Labrador puppy rolls on the floor with her mouth open

Puppy dental care tips for the wellness of your furry family member

You want your puppy to be healthy and happy. In fact, as they grow and develop, proper puppy dental care can help them as they transition into a healthy adult dog. Further, by checking in with your veterinarian, staying on track, and consulting with your veterinarian on teeth cleaning, your puppy’s teeth will be clean and healthy for years to come.

For more puppy ticks and tricks delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for our New Puppy Newsletter here!

To learn more about puppy care, read How to Brush Your Pet’s Teeth.

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Welcome to the Trupanion blog. A place to celebrate pets, pet health and medical insurance for cats and dogs.

This blog is designed to be a community where pet owners can learn and share. The views expressed in each post are the opinion of the author and not necessarily endorsed by Trupanion. Always consult your veterinarian for professional advice.

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