Yes, Some Dogs Really Do Need Braces

Wesley just got a brand-new set of braces on his teeth, and a photo of him showing them off has gone viral.

While “tinsel teeth” aren’t particularly adorable, they are in Wesley’s case. He’s a 6-month-old golden retriever.

A lot of people, including myself, were probably initially a bit perturbed by the photo, despite it being so ridiculously cute. Why on earth does a dog need orthodontia? Is this the start of some weird, unneccessary new canine cosmetic trend?

“Orthodontia in pets is normally not for aesthetic purposes, but because of health concerns,” explained Harborfront Hospital for Animals, the Spring Lake, Mich., veterinary clinic where Wesley got his braces, in a post on its Facebook page Feb. 26.

Wesley “needed tooth alignment because he could not close his mouth completely, otherwise,” the hospital wrote.

The puppy wasn’t able “to chew well, and he stopped playing with his toys because of the pain and started losing weight because he couldn’t eat,” his owner, Molly Moore, told ABC News.

Dr. James Moore, a veterinarian who owns Veterinary Dental Solutions (VDS), a division of Harborfront Hospital for Animals – and who happens to be Molly’s dad — performed Wesley’s orthodontic work.

“When people hear that Dr. Moore is a ‘doggie dentist,’ they immediately say things like: ‘What? Does he put braces on dogs, too?’” Harborfront wrote on Facebook. “The answer is . . . yes. Yes, he does.”

In addition to orthodontia, Dr. Moore provides pet dental services including root canals and oral surgery on jaw fractures, according to the VDS website.

Dr. Moore lectures to veterinarians at dental seminars around the country on topics including maxillofacial surgery, oral surgery and endodontia. For the past 11 years, he’s also been an associate professor of oral surgery at the MSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Unlike humans (I had to wear braces for two long, long years), Wesley’s orthodontia will only be necessary for a few weeks.

The hospital said it publicized Wesley’s braces last month because February is National Pet Dental Health Month. If you have a pet, dental health is very important all year long. Untreated tooth problems can lead to heart disease and other serious issues in dogs. Many vets recommend regularly brushing your pet’s teeth (good luck with that if you have a cat).

As for Wesley, wearing braces “obviously doesn’t bother him one little bit…He’s a happy little guy,” Harborfront wrote on Facebook.

“I think the only way he realizes anything is different is because we had to take his toys away so he doesn’t pull the braces off,” Molly Moore told ABC News. “He’s still as puppy-ish as ever.”

And as for Dr. Brown, he is “just one of the hundreds of Michigan vets, and thousands of vets around the country, who slog to work, put in exhausting hours, and have all had interesting cases,” wrote Harborfront Hospital for Animals on its Facebook page after Wesley’s photo went viral.

“Hopefully, that one got such attention will bring attention to the hard work of all.”

Photo credit: Harborfront Hospital for Animals Facebook page


william Miller
william Miller2 years ago


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Marie W.
Marie W3 years ago

Health use- cosmetic no.

Iskrica Knežzevic

thank you

Manuela C.
Manuela C3 years ago

Interesting, it makes sense.

Peggy B.
Peggy B3 years ago


Teresa W.
Teresa W3 years ago


federico bortoletto
federico b3 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn Adams3 years ago

The very least a pet parent can do is provide quality health care and quality food.