Caring for your pets dental health

Dental care is an important part of your pet’s health. Healthy teeth and gums can extend their life expectancy by two – four years.

We recommend checking your pet’s teeth about once a month. If you find any signs of gum disease (reddened gums) or tartar (brown / yellow ‘lumps’ on teeth), make an appointment for a dental check.

Here's a video showing you how:

As always, prevention is better than cure.


The ‘gold standard’ for preventative dental care for your pet is DAILY brushing of their teeth.

  1. The first step is getting your pet used to having something in their mouth. The best way to do this is by lifting their lip and rubbing their teeth with your bare finger. Remember to make it a positive experience for your pet, start off with very short ‘training’ sessions and lots of praise and treats when they behave.
  2. Get your pet used to having the finger brush or toothbrush in their mouth. This will feel strange for them at first, but as with the first step they will get used to it.
  3. Introduce the toothpaste. It is important that you only ever use pet friendly toothpaste, as the human toothpastes can cause medical issues if swallowed. To introduce the paste get a tiny amount on the tip of your finger and let them lick it off. After that start putting small amounts onto the brush.
  4. The correct way to brush your pets’ teeth and to get the best results is to hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums and teeth and to brush in small circular motions.

A handy tip for getting your pet looking forward to you brushing their teeth is having a set routine and getting a toothpaste that your dog or cat likes the taste of. There is a range of different flavours for pets including beef, chicken, liver and even peanut butter! 
For best results, this procedure needs to be performed daily. Brushing of teeth may not be possible for all pets, there are other options below that can be very useful.



  • Available in a variety of sizes from the clinic.
  • Complete and balanced diet and can cost as little as 50c per day extra compared to feeding regular premium foods (such as Hills adult maintenance)
  • The size, shape and texture of the dry food helps to achieve mechanical brushing of the teeth as well as containing anti-plaque additives. Think of it like a tooth brush and toothpaste combined.


  • This water additive lasts weeks once added to water and costs as little as 70c per day for a 10kg dog
  • It helps prevent the formation of plaque on teeth
  • It softens tartar making brushing and dental foods even more effective


  • Dental chews made specifically to help prevent tartar build up. Use a few times weekly



  • Use raw bones ONLY and make sure they have no sharp edges
  • Flat bones (rib bones) are best as they are not as tough and less likely to crack teeth
  • Marrow bones can break teeth and the marrow is very fatty so are best avoided
  • Bones can lead to obstructions and should be given with caution