Black and white golden retriever puppy

Dental care for dogs

Your dog's teeth are small but mighty and they need a lot of care and attention from an early age to avoid a build-up of plaque and tartar on their teeth that can result in dental disease or periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a disease of the tissues and bones that support the teeth.

Dental disease affects 90% of cats and dogs over 1 year of age1 and can be very painful. Therefore, it's essential to start cleaning their teeth when they're a puppy. By starting young, teeth cleaning will become a regular part of their routine and can help protect them against dental disease and periodontal disease.

Dachshund in black and white

Susceptibility to dental and periodontal disease in dogs?

It's important to be aware that every dog can suffer from dental disease, especially if their teeth aren't brushed regularly. However, some dogs are more prone to dental disease. Small dogs, certain breeds, older dogs and those that have overcrowded teeth can be at greater risk of periodontal disease and gingivitis.

Did you know almost 90% of pet owners believe that root exposure is painful for people, however, only 65% recognized that the same condition causes pain in cats and dogs?²

The early stages of dental and periodontal disease in dogs

There are five common stages during the progression of dental disease that your veterinarian will be able to identify. However, it's good to be able to recognize these signs as a pet owner, particularly those that appear early on. Spotting signs early will mean veterinary intervention can happen before the disease becomes more advanced and serious.

Stage 0 - Clinically Normal

Your dog has healthy gums and teeth.

Stage 1 - Gingivitis

Common signs include; bad breath becoming noticeable, tartar beginning to build up and some reddening of the gums.

Stage 2 - Early Periodontitis

Common signs include: bad breath, more teeth becoming discolored, additional tartar on teeth and the majority of gums are red.

Stage 3 - Moderate Periodontitis

Common signs include: very bad breath, a further build-up of tartar (especially on molars), very discolored teeth, red gums and your dog may favor chewing on one side.

Stage 4 - Advanced Periodontitis

Common signs include: severe bad breath, very red gums, your dog will likely show signs of pain and might drop kibbles while chewing.

Female vet checking a dogs teeth

Want to learn more about the five stages of dental disease?

Read our article to understand the signs and stages of periodontal disease and when you should seek advice from your veterinarian.

Did you know your veterinarian is also your dog's dentist?

During regular check-ups your veterinarian will examine your dog’s teeth to assess dental health. If your veterinarian spots any of the early signs of dental disease, they'll be able to recommend appropriate management options to support your dog.

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Brush up on your dog's dental health

Dental disease can be painful but practicing healthy habits can help support your dog's dental health. Regular brushing helps maintain healthy gums and teeth and this proactive measure should ideally begin from a young age.

Illustration of a puppy standing up


Start when they're a puppy so they're used to the process and to help maintain good dental health as they grow.
Illustration of a toothbrush


Regular brushing will support their dental health and oral hygiene. Ask your veterinarian if a dental diet would be right for your dog to further support their dental health.
Illustration of dogs teeth


Ideally you should clean your dog's teeth daily.
Dog getting their teeth cleaned

A step-by-step guide to brushing your dog's teeth

Learn how to brush your dog's teeth with our simple step-by-step guide.

English Cocker Spaniel black and white

Nutritional support - tailored dental dog food

Alongside regular brushing, dental diets are an effective way to support dental health. Dental diets are formulated to be rich in specific nutrients to help target plaque and tartar alongside supporting your dog's overall health. Most dental diets also feature a mechanical scrubbing action to mimic a toothbrush when removing plaque and tartar.

Helping to keep your dog's teeth clean during mealtimes, a high-quality dental diet will act in the same way as a toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash to support a healthy mouth.

Illustration of a dogs jaw and teeth

Royal Canin 'Triple Action' Effect Kibble

Featuring a 'triple action' effect, Royal Canin Dental kibble protects against the accumulation of plaque and tartar.

  1. A mechanical scrubbing action - Dental kibble has been created to withstand deeper tooth penetration to create a scrubbing action - similar to that of a toothbrush.
  2. Contains tartar reducing nutrients -  Includes a kibble coating formulated to bind to calcium in their saliva to help reduce the formation of tartar.
  3. Contains plaque reducing nutrients - Antibacterial and anti-adhesive properties help prevent plaque forming on teeth.

Support your dog with tailored diets from Royal Canin to support oral health

Royal Canin has a selection of diets to support oral health which are tailored to small, medium, and large dogs. Speak to your veterinarian to find out if one of these diets is suitable for your dog.

Canine Dental Care diets

Available for dogs prone to dental sensitivities, all Dental Care kibble has a texture designed to polish your dog's teeth as they chew. This combined action of polishing along with plaque and tartar-reducing nutrients helps support good dental hygiene and your dog's overall health.
Royal Canin Canine Dental diets

Canine Dental diets

Clinically proven to reduce tartar build-up with a unique mechanical scrubbing action. The kibble has also been formulated to penetrate deeper than regular kibble when chewed, resulting in a cleaner mouth and healthier teeth for your dog.3


1 Niemiec B, Gawor J, Nemec A, Clarke D, McLeod K, Tutt C, Gioso M, Steagall PV, Chandler M, Morgenegg G, Jouppi R, McLeod K. World Small Animal Veterinary Association Global Dental Guidelines. J Small Anim Pract. 2020 Jul;61(7):395-403.
2 IPSOS Reid Market Research Study 2013 “Periodontal Disease Hurts"
3 Royal Canin Internal Study