Why dental hygiene is important for pets

Why dental hygiene is important for pets
Posted at 4:19 PM, Feb 06, 2024

BILLINGS — When you think about your evening routine, brushing your teeth is likely included. But what about brushing your pet’s teeth? Turns out, it’s something vets say you should do.

“Every night we have a little tooth-brushing festival,” said Billings resident Gary Mermet. He says his dogs gather around him as soon as he pulls out their toothbrushes and gets the job done.

Mermet knows the first step to keeping them and him happy starts with dental health.

“The nice thing is their breath smells reasonable,” he says.

February is National Pet Dental Month, designed to raise awareness about the importance of pet dental health.

Officials say dental health plays a vital role in your pet’s overall health.

“We get dogs in, where teeth are literally falling out,” said Dr. Edie Best with Billings Animal Family Hospital.

“We take the full mouth X-rays; we do the full exams with the probing and the pockets and all that,” she said. “And then we put all those pieces together to see are these teeth healthy or are there problems?”


One way to prevent bad teeth in your pet is brushing their teeth with a dog-specific toothpaste and toothbrush as much as twice a day.

She says to never use human toothpaste and choose a specially formulated toothpaste for dogs, which most pet stores and veterinary offices carry.

Mermet found a vanilla mint toothpaste designed for dogs and a three-side dog brush online that he uses specifically for his dogs. He says it makes it much easier to get each side of the tooth.

Poor dental health can lead to other health risks, according to Best: “Inflammation of the gums, that can lead to inflammation of the bones...heart disease, kidney disease…”

And Mermet says even though it might feel awkward for your dog to start, he says consistency is key to success.

Click here for tips from the American Kennel Club.