Common Dental Problems in Dogs

Common Dental Problems in Dogs

Maintaining your dog's health is a top priority as a dog owner. While we often focus on their diet and exercise, dental health sometimes gets overlooked. Like humans, dogs can suffer from dental issues like plaque buildup and gingivitis, leading to discomfort and more severe health problems if left untreated. In this article, we’ll explore the most common dental problems in dogs, and what you can do to keep your dog's teeth in top shape.

Table of Contents

Common Dental Problems in Dogs

Dogs can suffer from a range of dental problems. Here are some of the most common ones you should be aware of:

Plaque and Tartar Buildup

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth. When plaque hardens, it turns into tartar, which can only be removed by a professional cleaning. Plaque forms when bacteria in your dog's mouth mix with food particles. Plaque and tartar buildup are one of the most common dental problems in dogs and can lead to more serious dental issues if not managed properly.

Broken or Fractured Teeth

Chewing on hard objects like bones or rocks, trauma to the mouth, or even underlying dental disease can cause teeth to break. Signs of broken teeth include visible damage, sensitivity, or your dog avoiding certain foods. Treatment may involve extraction or a root canal. Preventing fractures includes providing appropriate dog chews to avoid destructive chewing.

Tooth Decay and Cavities

Tooth decay occurs when the teeth’s enamel gets damaged by acids produced by bacteria. This can lead to cavities, which are holes in the teeth. Cavities are less common in dogs than humans but can still occur, especially if the dog's diet is high in sugar.


Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums caused by plaque buildup. It's one of the earliest stages of periodontal disease and can cause redness, swelling, and bleeding gums. Gingivitis is one of the frequent tooth problems in dogs, especially as they age.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a serious gum infection that damages the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth. The infection can then spread to the roots of the teeth. Periodontal disease is often the result of untreated gingivitis and is one of the most common dental problems in dogs. 

Signs Your Dog Might Have Oral Issues

  • Bad breath: Persistent bad breath can be a sign of dental disease.
  • Difficulty eating: If your dog has trouble chewing, it might be due to oral pain.
  • Pawing at the mouth: This behavior often indicates discomfort or pain in the mouth.
  • Swollen gums: Red, swollen gums are a common sign of gum disease.
  • Drooling: Excessive or unusual amounts of drooling may indicate a dental issue.
  • Visible Tartar: Yellow or brown buildup on teeth is a clear sign of tartar.

If any of these signs are visible, it may be time to check your dog’s teeth.

Dog Breeds that are Prone to Dental Problems

Here are common dog breeds that are highly prone to dental issues:

  1. Dachshunds
  2. Collie
  3. Pugs
  4. Boxer
  5. Shih Tzus
  6. Yorkshire Terriers
  7. Maltese
  8. Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
  9. Pomeranians
  10. Greyhounds

Managing Dental Issues in Dogs with Yak Chews

Natural Plaque and Tartar Removal

Yak chews are all natural, long-lasting treats that can help remove plaque and tartar from your dog's teeth as they chew. The hard texture of yak chews provides a scrubbing action on the teeth, helping to maintain oral hygiene.

Promoting Healthy Gums

Chewing on yak chews stimulates the gums and can help prevent gum disease. The gentle scuffing helps massage the gums, promoting blood circulation and overall gum health.

Chew Durability and Dental Health

Yak chews are known for their durability. Unlike some treats that last very short, yak chews are hard and long-lasting, giving your dog more time to benefit from the dental cleaning action. This can be especially beneficial for dogs that are aggressive chewers.

Ingredients and Nutritional Benefits

Yak chews are made from natural ingredients: yak milk, cow milk, lime juice, and salt. They are free from artificial preservatives and additives, making them a healthy choice for your dog. Additionally, they are rich in protein and calcium, contributing to your dog's overall health.

Preventing Oral Problems in Dogs

Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some steps to keep your dog’s teeth healthy:

  • Regular brushing of your dog's teeth with dog-friendly toothpaste.
  • Regular veterinary check-ups and professional dental cleanings.
  • Feeding a balanced diet to support overall health, including dental health.
  • Providing natural chews like Tibetan Dog Chew to improve oral hygiene and prevent destructive chewing.

When to See a Vet

Knowing when to take your dog to the vet for dental issues can save them from unnecessary pain and complications.

  • Recognizing urgent symptoms: If your dog has severe bad breath, visible pus, excessive drooling, or is in obvious pain, it’s time for a vet visit.
  • Regular vs emergency vet visits: Regular check-ups should be scheduled annually, but any sudden changes in your dog’s eating habits, behavior, or visible signs of dental issues warrant an immediate visit.


How often should I brush my dog’s teeth?

To maintain optimal oral health for your dog, it is recommended to brush their teeth daily. If daily brushing is not feasible, brushing a few times a week can still significantly benefit your dog's dental hygiene.

Are dental chews effective?

Yes, dental chews can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup, but they should not be relied upon as the sole method for maintaining your dog's dental health. Dental chews work best when combined with brushing and professional dental cleanings.

Can dogs use human toothpaste?

No, dogs should not use human toothpaste. Human toothpaste often contains ingredients like fluoride and xylitol that can be harmful if swallowed by dogs. It is always best to use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs to ensure their safety and health. 

How much does a professional dental cleaning cost?

The cost can vary widely, but on average, professional cleaning can range from $300 to $700 excluding other special treatments or tooth extractions. Additional expenses like tooth extractions and anesthesia/pain medication may also be required, increasing the total cost.


Dental problems in dogs can lead to serious health issues if not addressed. By understanding common dental problems, implementing preventive measures, and seeking professional veterinary care, you can help ensure your dog's teeth and gums stay healthy.

Incorporating yak chews into your dog's routine is an excellent way to support their dental health naturally. Not only do they help clean your dog's teeth, but they also provide nutritional benefits and satisfy your dog's natural chewing instinct.


Back to blog

Leave a comment