The Doggy Dental Checkup Checklist

The Doggy Dental Checkup Checklist: What to Ask the Vet about Your Dog’s Dental Health

Who’s a good dog parent? You’re a good dog parent! And as a good dog parent, you make sure your pup sees the vet regularly for checkups, vaccinations and the like. At any given visit, your veterinarian will check your dog’s teeth as a matter of course. Many aspects of your dog’s overall health are affected by good oral health. So, if you don’t usually ask the vet questions about your dog’s dental health, that moment is your perfect opportunity. Don’t know what to ask? Here are some key points to discuss with your vet the next time you have a chance. 

Does My Dog Need a Professional Dental Cleaning?

Just as with people, periodic cleanings are recommended to maintain good oral health for your dog. However, since pets need to be anesthetized for dental cleaning, your vet might advise against it due to age or other health conditions. They’ll need to weigh a number of factors particular to your dog’s health before giving you their professional opinion.

Does My Dog Have Plaque and Tartar?

Your dog’s teeth and gums may show evidence of both. This is normal! Your vet should be able to point out any buildup and explain the level of severity. They may also recommend feeding your dog a daily dental treat to help clean their teeth at home between vet visits.

Does my dog have plaque and tartar? Veterinarian checking a white dog's teeth

Should I Be Concerned About Any Dental Problems?

Your vet will be able to thoroughly examine your dog’s teeth and gums to check for any signs of trouble. If you have the option to get dental X-rays, having some taken could help your vet determine what’s happening below the gumline. Based on the most complete info at hand, your vet will be able to assess any issues and track their progression in order to treat or stay ahead of bigger problems.

How Do I Brush My Dog’s Teeth at Home?

Your vet will love that you want to be more proactive with your dog’s oral care. Based on your pup’s particular needs, they’ll provide guidance on what to use, how to use it and how often. They’ll also be able to show you how to properly brush your dog’s teeth, so don’t be afraid to ask for a demonstration!

How do I brush my dog's teeth at home? A golden retriever getting its teeth brushed

What Kinds of Things Should I Stop My Dog from Chewing?

Your vet will probably follow this by asking what you do let your dog chew, because the “don’ts” is a long list! There are items vets agree you should keep out of your dog’s mouth; bones and sticks, for example, can be harmful in a variety of ways. But your vet’s answer will be specific to your dog’s oral health, lifestyle and/or genetics.

What Should I Give My Dog to Chew?

This answer also depends on a number of factors particular to your dog. Certain chew toys are supposed to help remove tartar or massage gums, and there are dental treats (such as GREENIES™ Dental Treats) designed to help scrape plaque and tartar off your pup’s teeth as they chew. Your vet can help you determine which items will benefit your dog the most.

What should I give my dog to chew? A woman giving her dog a Greenies Dental Treat

Does My Dog’s “Dog Breath” Smell Normal?

It’s a myth that pets have naturally smelly breath, but the definitions of “smelly” and “normal” can be pretty subjective when it comes to dogs. Your vet will be able to give you a good idea of whether your pup’s breath is a sign of something serious, or something that can be resolved with a dog oral-care routine.

Like most pet parents, you notice any unusual changes in their behavior or condition and consult your vet as soon as possible. Getting information from your vet at every opportunity is a great step toward keeping your pooch’s smooches and smiles happy and healthy for a lifetime. You know the importance of regular veterinary visits for maintaining your dog’s overall health, so make sure your dog knows that visiting the vet is a good thing! Make sure to give them lots of affection and perhaps a tasty snack like GREENIES ANYTIME BITES as a treat!

If you’re looking for more ideas on what to check in about at your pup’s checkups, add these questions to your checkup checklist for in-depth insights on dental health and wellness!