Oct 18

Home Dental Care

Home Dental Care

The American Veterinary Dental Association recommends an anesthetized professional dental cleaning for your pet every 6-12 months, just as your dentist recommends for you!  This should start at 3 years old for cats and medium to large breed dogs, and at one year old for small breed dogs.  Home dental care is an important factor in maintaining your pet’s dental health, and when combined with regular professional cleanings, will help combat and reduce dental disease.

Pet home dental care takes two forms: active (brushing) and passive (treats, chews, rinse, etc.).  Combining these two methods is optimum for the health of the teeth and your pet overall.  Keeping the teeth and mouth as disease free as possible has been shown to improve health throughout the body.


– Daily is recommended (just like for us!).

– Use a brush and pet toothpaste (never use human paste!).

– Do not wrench the mouth open; slide the brush under the lip.

– Finger brushes give better control.

– We recommend “Pet Smile” toothpaste; this has enzymes which dissolve the plaque film.  This can be obtained at Friendship.


– Never give bones, or hard, brittle chews. These can break the teeth.

VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health  Council) sets rigorous standards before giving their seal to a product.  Their website has a list of recommended products.

– Our favorite treats are (these can be obtained on our website pharmacy):


Oravet Chews

Tartar Shield Soft Rawhides

Science Diet T/D diet (can be used as a sole diet or as a daily treat)

Always avoid very hard, brittle chews; tennis balls (can wear down the enamel); and tug of war games, especially in young dogs.

Friendship is offering $100 off dentals for the entire month of November.  Contact us to schedule your pet’s dental procedure or pre-dental exam.

Dr. Phillip is always available for complimentary dental evaluations, brushing demonstrations, and discussing other dental health topics for your pet. Just call the hospital at 202.363.7300 and ask for him, or email him at to set up an appointment.



Dr. Phillip is chief of dentistry at Friendship. He graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 1992; and after completing his internship at Friendship in 1992, he has remained a staff doctor ever since.


* Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Friendship provides state of the art, comprehensive services for our clients and patients. But, more than that, we provide a caring team who understand the unique human-animal bond. View Our Services