VCA Companion Animal Hospital

Dog Dental Care

Let's get to
the root
of dog dental problems

In order to protect your dog's health, it's important to know what you're up against. These are the most common types of dog dental problems:

  • Periodontal disease
    As the most common clinical condition occurring in adult dogs, periodontal disease is unfortunately also the most serious. Studies have shown it is linked to a variety of health problems, including damage to internal organs. Luckily it's one of the most easily preventable.
  • Tooth root abscess
    Advanced periodontal disease or a broken or cracked tooth can lead to a tooth root abscess, which is an infection that develops in the root of the tooth. There are only two treatment options for this painful condition: a root canal or tooth extraction.
  • Plaque and Tartar
    Food and bacteria can accumulate on teeth and this soft substance is called plaque. If plaque is not removed daily it can harden into tartar. Tartar can dig into the gums and cause infection below the gum line that can eventually loosen the roots of the affected teeth. These teeth will have to be extracted.
Learn about common dog dental diseases

Did You Know...


Of dogs who don't receive
early dental care have dental
disease by the time they are three


Of adult dogs have some
form of periodontal disease

Frequency of dental extractions and associated cost for dogs 3 years and older1

Doctor holding animals

Many pet owners think their dog's teeth are fine because they eat and drink normally, but over two-thirds of adult dogs have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a painful infection that can ultimately affect the liver, heart and kidneys through spread of infection in the body!

— John F Huff III,
VCA Board Certified Dental Specialist

Take a bite out of dog dental disease with proper care

The best way to deal with dental problems is prevention! With proper home care, most dental problems are completely preventable.

One of the best prevention tools is a toothbrush. Brushing your dog's teeth regularly can help prevent many of the most serious dental issues. And it's easier than you think.

In addition to brushing, there are many other things you can do at home to ensure your dog's teeth stay healthy - from oral rinses to dental chews.

More on dog dental care
and hygiene

Importance of regular dog dental checkups

Bringing your dog in for an annual checkup and cleaning is a vital part of keeping them healthy. During a checkup visit, your dog will be evaluated for any obvious periodontal disease, which includes infection or inflammation of tissues and structures surrounding the teeth. Your veterinarian will determine if a follow-up cleaning appointment is needed.

If a cleaning is required, your veterinarian will recommend anesthesia to minimize stress and discomfort and to provide the most optimal evaluation and cleaning. During this appointment, a thorough teeth cleaning and polishing will be performed and if indicated, full-mouth x-rays to detect deeper problems with the tooth roots. Your dog will be continuously monitored while under anesthesia.

Learn more about dog dental checkups

Know the signs

Check all that apply below and see if your dog is at risk


You have done a great job keeping your dog's teeth healthy.

Keep up the good work; visit your veterinarian once a year for a thorough dental checkup to keep your dog's teeth clear of trouble.


Your dog might be showing signs of periodontal disease.

Visit your veterinarian for a complete oral health examination to find out what's the root of the problem.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

In case of emergency during normal business hours, please call us immediately. If you have an emergency outside of our normal business hours, please contact a local emergency animal hospital.