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Posted on 2nd Feb 2017


By Linda Juergens, CVA

Our pets can’t brush, gargle or floss by themselves. So if you want to avoid bad breath you will need to lend them a hand.

The bulk of bad breath odor comes from the anaerobic bacteria that thrive without oxygen in the mouth. Plaque buildup invites the bacteria and as the accumulation grows, so does the smell.

Brushing is the gold standard and is very effective, but some dogs and more cats don’t appreciate it.

For pet owners who cannot brush, using things like chew toys, hard treats, water additive, and a prescription dental diet help with the odor from the mouth. OraVet Chews, a relative new product available through Veterinarians, doesn’t just clean teeth and freshen breath. It creates a barrier to help protect against plaque, calculus and bad breath.

Small dogs tend to have more dental problems and periodontal disease than the larger ones. They are bred for their smaller size but they still have the same number of teeth as larger dogs.

It is best to introduce teeth brushing slowly making it fun and keep introductory sessions short approximately 5 seconds, working up to 2 minutes each day.


Always use toothpaste formulated for dogs and cats. Never use human toothpaste. A fun way to introduce toothpaste is by putting it on a treat and letting them lick it. The next step would include massaging lips and gums to get them used to having their mouth touched. It is important to remember not to make it an unpleasant activity.


At Murphy Road Animal Hospital, we are happy to discuss dental care with you and help you learn to brush your pet’s teeth. We have additional information on our website at