Tips for Caring for Your Dog’s Teeth

Caring for your Cairn Terrier’s Teeth

• Monitor your puppy as the adult teeth come in for retained deciduous teeth and problems with the bite.
• Regular dental care at home can reduce the risk of gingivitis and periodontitis.
• Start getting your puppy used to dental care activities early. Put a bit of cream cheese, peanut butter or liver pate on a finger and rub your finger along the gums to get your puppy used to your finger in his mouth.
• Put something yummy on a small soft toothbrush and let him chew on it.
• When your puppy is teething and his gums are sore, back off and wait until teething is finished and your puppy is more comfortable with something in his mouth again. Pushing on when your puppy’s mouth is sore can make it unpleasant for him and make him dislike dental care.
• Once the adult teeth are in, start regular tooth brushing (daily is best) with canine tooth paste
• Do not use human toothpaste – some ingredients in human toothpaste are toxic for dogs.
• An electric toothbrush works very well if you carefully condition your dog to accept it.
• If your dog does not like a toothbrush, you can use dental wipes or toothpaste on a piece of old (clean) pantyhose or nylons over your finger.
• Dental diets have large kibble that are intended to help clean the teeth mechanically.
• Chlorhexidine oral spray has antibacterial action and lasts up to 12 hours.
• There are innumerable water or food additives, chews and tooth cleaning toys – but many of these products are unproven and therefore should not replace regular tooth cleaning with s toothbrush and dog toothpaste.


Look for products that carry the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council) Seal of Approval as products must meet standards of plaque and tartar reduction to be approved. Products that do not carry this symbol have not been shown to reduce tartar, plaque or dental disease. Keep in mind that as these are not medications, there are no strict requirements for advertising standards.


Here are two products that do carry the VOHC Seal.










And here are just a few of the many products that do not carry the VOHC seal.  Be sure to look at the packaging carefully to see if the seal is present.  There are dozens of products on the shelves of pet stores that claim to help improve dental hygiene but only a very small fraction have actually been shown to be of benefit