Oral hygiene is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. Poor oral hygiene can lead to serious life-threatening conditions including kidney, liver, and heart damage. Our Kittrell vets share 9 tips to help keep your dog's teeth clean.
9 Tips on How to Keep Your Dog's Teeth Clean
Here are the most effective ways to keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy.
Brush Your Dogs Teeth
You should keep brushing your dog's teeth as part of a regular grooming routine. Ask your vet before you start cleaning your dog's teeth because it's always best to ask them to show you the best way to do this. Different breeds show varying jaw alignments and how the teeth meet. Brachycephalic dogs, like Pugs and Chihuahuas, have poorly aligned jaws, with crowded or absent teeth, and are therefore more likely to suffer from dental disease.
Your dog might not like tooth brushing at first, but hopefully, you can make it a pleasant experience for them. Choose a time when your dog has had a decent amount of exercise, so they are more inclined to sit still. Don’t overdo it the first few times. Start slowly and quit if your dog gets agitated, even if you don’t brush the whole mouth. You can increase the time every day as they get used to it. Make sure to speak soothingly during the brushing and reward your dog with a treat afterward.
It's Ideal To Start When They are Young
Start teeth cleaning when they're a puppy and brush their teeth every day to get them used to it. If you haven't done this before, gradually introduce it by having your finger near their mouth. Keep doing this and then slowly introduce brushing until this is natural.
Grown dogs can learn to become comfortable with dog teeth cleaning, but make things easier for yourself by working with your dog as a puppy.
Pick a Delicious Toothpaste
Dog toothpaste comes in many appealing flavors like peanut butter, beef, and chicken. Try different combinations of toothpaste and toothbrushes to see what suits you and your pup best.
There are many synthetic bones and chew toys that are specially designed to strengthen your dog’s gums and teeth. Just make sure you’re providing safe objects for your dog to chew on. Hard objects and weight-bearing bones can cause broken teeth.
Giving your dog a good, non-weight-bearing bone such ad duck wings, or chicken feet to chew on can help get rid of build-up and keep teeth strong, but imagine a human who only chews gum and uses mouth rinse. That’s not an effective means of ensuring good dental hygiene and overall health. The same is true for your dog.
Routine dental checkups
Despite your best efforts, you’re not likely to get your dog a full, deep clean with a toothbrush the way a vet can. Even if your pet has healthy teeth, it’s a good idea to have your vet perform routine cleanings where they scale plaque and tartar, clean the gum line, and polish the teeth. Depending on the size of your dog, you should take them in for a routine cleaning every six months to a year. Your vet should include a simple dental examination with a normal check-up, too, but ask for it if they don’t.
If you have pet insurance, some providers offer preventive care coverage that you can add to your coverage that can help cover some of the costs of routine teeth cleanings. You may be more likely to keep up with routine visits, too, if you are already paying for some of it in your pet insurance policy.
For dogs that are opposed to the other options or are very prone to periodontal disease, a few dog food companies make prescription dental food that have been clinically proven to help reduce dental disease.
As your dog chews the food, the kibble cleans the surface of their teeth, and by doing so, reduces tartar buildup. The kibble also contains ingredients that help to kill bacteria that lead to plaque and tartar formation.
Visit our online shop and pet pharmacy and browse our range of dental diets, or contact our Kittrell vets to discuss whether changing your dog's diet is the right option for their oral health care needs.
There are several different water additives available for dogs, and they all work about the same. These oral solutions are tasteless. Based on the directions on the bottle, you will add a certain amount of the water additive to your dog’s water bowl daily. The solution helps freshen your dog’s breath and kills plaque-building bacteria in your dog’s mouth.
You can add a flavored dental powder easily on top of your dog’s food. Typically they contain probiotics that help promote healthy bacteria in your dog’s mouth and simultaneously kill plaque-building bacteria.
The powder should be applied to every meal your dog eats. It helps freshen your dog’s breath and prevents tartar and plaque from building up on your dog’s teeth.
Check Their Gums and Teeth Regularly
As a dog owner, it is important for you to pay attention to your dog's health. If you notice something that seems abnormal, or if you notice their behavior changing, it's time to call your vet.
Tooth pain can cause even the most mild-tempered dogs to become irritable and unhappy, so keep an eye on them. It is also important to lift their gums and check all their teeth from time to time. If you see plaque building up, you should contact your vet, or try the solutions detailed above.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.