Flowers, and treats and cards, oh my! Although Valentines is the most popular celebration in February, it is also National Pet Dental Health Month.

Dental health is so important to pet's overall health that a whole month has been devoted to this topic. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats are diagnosed with oral health issues by the age of three.

If left untreated, plaque and tartar buildup can lead to painful periodontal disease. We hope these tips and facts will invigorate your pet's dental routine!

The best option in helping to ensure your pet's dental health is through regular teeth brushing. Veterinarians advise brushing daily or at least three times a week.

There are special toothpastes formulated for dogs, however not all of them are effective. Talk to your veterinarian about which products to use.

Try this natural dog toothpaste recipe from Organic Authority:


6 tablespoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cube of beef bouillon (or vegetable for a vegan version)

1 teaspoon dried or fresh parsley

1 teaspoon water


1. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly in a small bowl, adding a bit more water, if necessary, to make a paste.

2. Store in an airtight container.

Note: NEVER use human toothpaste on a dog. It contains fluoride, which can be fatal to all animals if ingested.

For first time brushing, consider applying a little toothpaste to your finger and allow your dog to get a taste. Then proceed, praising as you brush in a circular motion. Be sure to brush near the gum line, where plaque tends to build up.

Finger brushes that fit over the fingertip are another option for keeping teeth clean. Your dog may prefer this over a traditional toothbrush. Request a demonstration from your vet on how to properly brush your dog's teeth.

In addition, natural chews, treats, bones, and toys (such as hemp or cotton chew ropes) encourage chewing, help fight plaque and are more fun than brushing!

A great website to refer to for safe, effective dental products for your pup, recommended by Megan Conrad, BVMS, a licensed veterinarian living in Oregon, is the Veterinary Oral Health Council. Their list of approved products can be found here

Healthy teeth are paramount to your BFF's overall health, longevity and if you desire to get your "top dog" booked for a toothpaste commercial. For more information about Pet Dental Health Month, contact the American Veterinary Dental Society or the American Veterinary Medical Association. Also see our Blog: How to Clean Your Dog's Teeth.