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.

Black and white golden retriever puppy

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 cleaned regularly. However, some dogs are more prone to dental disease. Small dogs, certain breeds, older dogs and those that have overcrowded teeth are at greater risk of dental disease, periodontal disease and gingivitis.

Dachshund in black and white

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 which appear early on. Spotting signs early will mean veterinary intervention happens 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 discoloured, additional tartar on teeth and the majority of gums are now red.


Stage 3 - Moderate Periodontitis

Common signs include; very bad breath, further build-up of tartar (especially on molars), very discoloured teeth and red gums and your dog may favour 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 your dog might drop kibbles while chewing.

Want to Learn More About the Stages of Dental Disease?

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

Stages of Dental Disease
Female vet checking a dogs teeth

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

During regular check-ups with your veterinarian, ask them to have a look at your dog's teeth to make sure they're clean and healthy. 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.

Find a veterinarian

Brush Up On Your Dog's Dental Health

Dental disease can be painful but practicing healthy habits can help protect your dog's teeth. 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 maintain good dental health as they grow.

Illustration of a toothbrush


A combination of regular brushing and dental kibble will support their dental health and oral hygiene.

Illustration of dogs teeth


Ideally you should clean your dog's teeth daily. If this isn't possible then try to do so twice a week.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Dog's Teeth

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

Teeth Cleaning Guide
Dog getting their teeth cleaned

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.

English Cocker Spaniel black and white

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.
Illustration of a dogs jaw and teeth

Support Your Dog with Tailored Royal Canin Dental Diets

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

Royal Canin Canine Dental Care diets

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.

Canine Dental Care diets
Royal Canin Canine Dental diets

Canine Dental diets

Clinically proven to reduce tartar and plaque build-up with a unique scrubbing action alongside tartar and plaque reducing nutrients to create a 'triple action' effect. The kibble has also been formulated to penetrate deeper than regular kibble resulting in a cleaner mouth and healthier teeth for your dog.3

Canine Dental diets



1 Fernandes et al. 2012, Girard et al. 2009, Queck et al. 2018, Stella et al. 2018.
2 IPSOS Reid Market Research Study 2013 “Periodontal Disease Hurts"
3 Internal Study