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Dog dental health is extremely important for the overall health of our companions- going far past just oral hygiene. Think of all the chewing, licking, and eating your dog does. Is your dog’s dental health routine enough?

What are the health issues associated with poor dog dental care?

Poor dog dental health can lead to very noticeable issues such as  bad breath or buildup that causes discoloration of the teeth and gums. In more critical cases, the severity of the internal issues may not be as apparent. Buildup and  bacteria can lead to infections and periodontal disease, a disease which causes decay and tooth loss.  Research shows that 85% of adult dogs in the United States have some form of periodontal disease. Chronic infections in the oral cavity can also spread harmful bacteria to the bloodstream and infect the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

How do I know my dog needs a dental cleaning?

A common complaint about dogs is their -less than minty- breath. While your dogs breath will not necessarily smell great, it shouldn’t be intolerable. Bad breath is a definite indicator that its time for a cleaning and the odor may be a side effect of more serious issues. Noticeable discoloration, inflammation, and bleeding are all signs that you dog is in need of additional dental care.
If your dog has never had a dental cleaning and is over one year old, or if it has been over a year since the last cleaning, it is a good idea to bring them in for a free evaluation. Once here, we can let you know the grade your dog’s teeth (see diagram below) and advise an appropriate treatment plan.

What are teeth grades?

The teeth grading system allows us to chart the level of dental health for your dog and establish a treatment plan.

Grade 0 Dog Dental - Dog dental health

Dog Teeth: Grade 0

No signs of plaque or tarter
Firm, healthy, pink gums

Grade 01_Dog Dental - Dog Dental Health

Dog Teeth: Grade 1

Mild gum swelling and inflammation
Some plaque and tarter buildup

Grade 02_Dog Dental- Dog Dental Health

Dog Teeth: Grade 2

Very inflamed and swollen gums
Noticeable odor
Calculus buildup

Grade 03_Dog Dental- Dog Dental Health

Dog Teeth: Grade 3

Severe tarter and calculus buildup
Severe gingivitis
Red, swollen, bleeding gums

Grade 04_Dog Dental- Dog Dental Health

Dog Teeth: Grade 4

Chronic infection destroying the gums, teeth and bone
Severe tarter and calculus buildup
Severe gingivitis

How can I make sure I am taking care of my dog’s dental health?

There are several things you can do to monitor your dog’s dental health.

You are probably already familiar with your dog’s mouth and breath from the daily welcome home kisses. Keep track to notice any particularly offensive odor or discoloration of the teeth or gums. Also note that changes in eating habits or chewing could also be a sign of dental distress.

To keep the bacteria at bay, practice at home dental care with your dog. For tips, visit our page: at-home dental care for pets.

You can also schedule a free dental exam at Perrin-410 Animal Hospital so that our doctors can evaluate your dog’s teeth and advise you on a treatment plan.

Contact Us

Perrin-410 Animal Hospital


8365 Perrin Beitel Rd. San Antonio, TX 78218

Clinic Hours

Monday - Sunday: 7 AM - 11 PM Every other Saturday and Sunday: 7 am to 3 pm