8 Tips for Healthy Dog Teeth
Dogs’ teeth experience a lot of action in one day. They use their mouth not only for eating but for playing, tasting and exploring the world around them. So, if their pearly whites aren’t cared for properly, it can cause a problem.
Poor dental hygiene affects gums and teeth, meaning bacteria can enter your pet’s bloodstream, potentially damaging their kidneys, heart and liver. If you are still learning about canine oral hygiene or want to ensure your pup has healthy teeth, we have prepared a couple of tips and tricks you shouldn’t miss.
Start when they are young
It’s easier for pups to have their teeth brushed when they are younger. If you are patient enough, you can establish a routine with your pup, so this type of cleaning will be a piece of cake.
While it’s challenging to get your older pets accustomed to teeth cleaning, it’s not impossible. Take it slow, be persistent and your pooch will come around.
Buy a dog toothbrush and paste
Just like humans need to brush their teeth, the same goes for dogs. In fact, pups require regular brushing, which helps break up and remove food traces and bacteria in their mouth. A high number of bacteria leads to bad breath and dental disease.
If your pet is new to this and they aren’t used to brushing their teeth, you need to start this process slowly. Begin by brushing only a few teeth daily and gradually work your way up to brushing their whole mouth.
Do not use human toothpaste since it contains a high level of fluoride, which is dangerous for your furry companion. Instead, use dog-specific products.
Use dental pads to improve dental care for dog
Unfortunately, some canines never get used to having their teeth brushed; so pet parents need to find alternatives to keep their pearly whites clean. In this case, your only solution may be dental pads.
Many dogs will love wipes because this cleaning method is more comfortable than brushing. You should wipe your pet’s teeth once a day, particularly focusing on a gum line where food particles and bacteria tend to stay hidden.
Dog dental sticks and chews are great for reducing plaque and an excellent way to keep their mouth clean between brushing. These products are designed to scrape the teeth as your canine chews them. Dental sticks will scrub the plaque, tartar and some food particles.
However, don’t mistake this for regular teeth brushing because this is not a substitute. While treats and chews help with fresh breath, they don’t have enough power to remove all food traces.
If you want to buy dental sticks for your pooch, make sure to pick those that have been proven to reduce plaque and maintain overall dental health. Feeding your pup one stick a day will be enough to see optimal results.
Give your pet a bone
While some pet parents give their dogs real bones, remember that they can splinter or provoke digestive issues. A starch-based, synthetic, rawhide chew bone is a much better option. These bones make great treats and help remove tartar and plaque that accumulate on your pet’s teeth.
Pay attention to food
As we already established, brushing your dog’s teeth is easier said than done and sometimes we absolutely have no energy or time to do it. In that case, you can feed dry, crunchy kibble to your pup. You can also minimise the use of soft food since it’s more likely to stick to their teeth and cause decay, not immediately but in the long run.
Unless you are instructed otherwise, it’s best to switch to dry kibble, which helps you maintain your pet’s teeth clean. You can also start giving your pet supplements like kelp powder for easier administration. .
This product has anti-adhesive, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It means by feeding your pup with kelp powder daily, you can minimise tartar buildup and levels of bacteria.
Vets are your best friends
Professional cleaning is an essential part of your dog’s oral hygiene. Vets are skilled enough to spot, prevent and treat any dental condition your pooch may have and, in most cases, professional cleaning once a year will be enough. On the other hand, some breeds require a more frequent cleaning to prevent oral diseases.
When it comes to checkups, they should be done every other month. During this appointment, your vet will look into your pup’s teeth, assess factors like plaque and tartar buildup and look for problems such as fractured teeth, inflamed gums or areas of pain.
Don’t subject your dog to “anesthesia-free” procedures
You might find that many pet stores, groomers and non-professional settings offer so-called “anesthesia-free” dental procedures as an alternative to professional cleaning. You should know these procedures aren’t the same nor compatible with the procedures your vet is performing.
In fact, some of them can even affect your pet’s health by causing them to experience an extreme shock. Just imagine someone scraping your carnie’s teeth while they are awake. They will usually neglect a bacteria buildup that happens under the gum line, which is the major contributor to dental diseases.
Also, anesthesia-free procedures won’t address issues like gum diseases, loose teeth, tooth root abscesses and others. Since non-professionals perform these treatments, early signs of a disease are often missed, leading to serious dental problems.
How to choose the best dog toothpaste?
Buy toothpaste from a specialised retailer
While this might seem obvious, make sure to look for dog toothpaste at a pet store or shop from a trustworthy online retailer. These people usually do their research to make sure they are only selling products that are specifically designed for pups.
Check the ingredients
Before buying any products, you want to check for the ingredients. Ensure the product doesn’t contain fluoride, artificial sweeteners or alcohol. Toothpaste for dogs should contain ingredients like coconut oil, MCT oil, green tea extract and lemon myrtle extract.
Choose a flavour your pup will tolerate
These items come in various flavours, including peanut butter, bacon and beef. However, the “best flavour'' mostly depends on your pooch and what they like or don’t like. While some canines prefer the mint flavour, which freshens their breath, others will most likely choose toothpaste that tastes like meat.
Keep in mind that some flavours might be appetising for your pooch but not smell great for you.
Never use a human toothpaste
We feel this is an important issue we should address one more time. Human toothpaste features a lot of things like hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and fluoride that aren’t meant to be swallowed, especially fluoride, which is toxic for dogs.
What to consider when buying a dog toothbrush?
First of all, consider the size of your pet. Bigger dogs require a toothbrush with a longer handle and bristles on both sides. When brushing their teeth, you need to reach the back of their jaws. That’s why this procedure is easier with smaller canines.
The longer handle allows you to clean their teeth with precision and ease. You will need to replace your toothbrush regularly, so consider buying a packet that contains a couple of them.
These are similar to human brushes; however, they have a curved end and super soft bristles that do not hurt the canine's delicate gums or teeth.
If you want a quick and easy way to clean your pet’s teeth, these toothbrushes are the best on the market. The double side allows you to brush your dog’s teeth in one go, cleaning the front and back simultaneously.
This saves you a lot of time, especially when dealing with a restless pet. Double-headed toothbrushes are available in different sizes for small, medium and large breeds.
Why buy dental KONG?
Dental KONG toys have an interesting design and largely contribute to your pet’s oral health. These toys help clean their gums and teeth by removing plaque and tartar. You can find KONG toys in various shapes and sizes. Some even have bristles that massage gums while preventing tartar and plaque buildup.
While many vets recommend brushing your dog’s teeth every day, the best practice is to do it at least three times a week. If you apply the tips mentioned above, your pup will have healthy and squeaky-clean teeth.
With the right toothpaste and toothbrush, this job becomes even easier. Make sure to use products specifically designed for dogs to avoid further issues. Failing to do so will only cause your pet to develop bad teeth over time.