5 Tips and Tricks to Providing Great Dental Care for Dogs
You bathe your pooch regularly, take them out for walks, feed them quality dog food, and strive to give them a wholesome life.
But, do you ever think of their dental health?
Oral hygiene is crucial to your dog’s overall health. Dental problems can cause life-threatening issues like:
- Kidney disease
- Liver damage
- Severe pain
- Heart damage (endocarditis)
- Insulin resistance
- Canine chronic ulcerative stomatitis (plaque hypersensitivity)
However, most dog owners overlook the importance of dog dental care.
Unlike humans, dogs can’t say when their gums are painful. Your pup could be dealing with stress and pain you might not know about.
To keep their teeth and gums healthy and free from tartar, plaque, and pain, you need to provide dogs with proper dental care.
It may not be easy to take care of your canine friend’s teeth, especially if you’re a new dog owner or have just adopted a pup who’s never had dental care.
However, you can employ certain tricks to keep their teeth clean.
Bear in mind every dog has a unique personality. What works for one pup might not work for the other, and sometimes you may have to use several tricks.
Don’t know how to maintain your dog’s oral health? Here are some valuable tips and tricks.
Tip #1: Brush Their Teeth
Like humans, a dog's teeth cleaning routine should involve brushing.
It might sound silly at first, but brushing is an excellent way to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. Here are the supplies you’ll need.
- Dog Toothbrush: Go for a canine toothbrush. They come in a perfect size and are more angled to fit in your dog’s mouth. Finger brushes fit on your fingertip, making the process easier.
Dog Toothpaste: Chances are, your dog will never learn to spit. That means you’ll need a toothpaste that’s safe for them to swallow.
Plus, you’ll need one with a flavor they can’t resist. Think of peanut butter, chicken, or even seafood-flavored toothpaste.
- Dog Wipes: For whenever it’s not possible to give your dog’s teeth a full brushing, or you want to switch up your cleaning techniques. Dog wipes can help remove food remains and bacteria. You can use canine dental wipes, pads, or simply wrap a gauze pad around your finger.
How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
To succeed in brushing a pet's teeth, you should make tooth brushing more comfortable.
Rewarding your dog helps them associate tooth brushing with a positive reward. Chances are, they’ll become calmer or even stop resisting with time.
Follow these steps:
- If it’s your first time brushing your dog’s teeth, stroke their cheeks a few days before brushing, so they can get used to your hands around their mouth.
- On the day of brushing, find a time when they are calm and relaxed. Ensure the place is quiet to avoid distractions.
- Put some dog toothpaste on your finger and let them lick it.
- Gently apply the toothpaste to their gums using your finger or the toothbrush.
- Start brushing their front teeth gently, making regular stops to let them lick the toothpaste. Brush the outer side of the teeth in small circular motions. Repeat with the other side for both upper and lower teeth.
“Pet toothpastes have enzymatic action, so even just getting in the mouth can help, but brushing is the key. Human toothpaste has detergents and fluoride that shouldn’t be swallowed.” ~ Kimi H. Kan-Rohrer dental hygienist, William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
This video is a demonstration of the steps above.
Tip #2: Get Dog Dental Chews and Treats
Dogs like chewing. The chews help keep your dog’s teeth clean by removing plaque through friction.
Look for chews certified by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) to ensure they meet the set standards for retardation of plaque and tartar.
Pro-Tip: It's better to stick with treats dogs can eat. That's because bones and other chews can cause injuries.
You can go for chew toys such as dental sticks, fish ‘jerky,’ and hide chews. For dogs watching their weight, raw vegetables can also work well.
“As a rule of thumb, if you can bend or flex the object, it is less likely to fracture a tooth. Additionally, if something is too hard for you to chew, then you should not allow your pet to chew it.” ~ Graham Thatcher, clinical assistant professor of dentistry and oral surgery, UW School of Veterinary Medicine
Greenies Dog Chews are popular dental treats. They are veterinarian recommended, help fight plaque and tartar, and have a mint flavor to freshen your dog’s breath.
Tip #3: Choose Diet Foods Wisely
Your pet’s diet affects their dental health. Don’t feed them your candies. They are bad for your canine friend. Some candy, like chocolate, are toxic to your dog.
Dry, crunchy food is generally better than wet food as it has a mild cleansing effect and helps the pet exercise their jaws when chewing.
Canned food may encourage plaque and tartar buildup. However, every dog is different. If your pet requires wet food because of a medical condition, stick to the vet-recommended diet.
Otherwise, consult your veterinarian if you’re not sure what’s best for your dog.
Tip #5: Visit Your Vet for Regular Professional Dental Cleaning
You should schedule a dental examination and cleaning with a professional vet at least once every year.
Periodontal disease affects more than 85% of dogs above four years old. But with regular dental check-ups, you can prevent your dog from being affected.
If they already have dental disease, the vet can clean their teeth professionally. The procedure includes examining the gums and teeth, scaling the plaque and tartar above and below the gum line, and polishing their teeth.
Your veterinarian may recommend periodontal treatment, gingivectomy, or even dental extraction in case of diseased teeth.
According to the American Veterinary Dental College, professional pet dental care involves all aspects of pet oral health, including cleaning, filing, repairing, adjusting, extraction, and treating dental disease.
Tip #6: Get Dog Dental Supplements
Apart from chews, other dental supplements in the form of powders, capsules, and drops help fight bad breath, infection, plaque, tartar, and maintain oral health.
With these treatments, you can develop a dog dental care routine that’s fit for your pet without much resistance or effort.
Pet Parent Probiotics Soft Chew Supplement for Dogs contains BC MS-99®, a Bacillus coagulant probiotic that helps maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the mouth and the entire digestive tract.
Others like the Nutrani Complete Vitamin B Complex for Dogs support and strengthen the immune system.
Using a few of these supplements together with brushing your dog’s teeth regularly won’t only keep their mouth clean but also improve their overall health.
Do Dogs Need to Have Their Teeth Cleaned?
You don’t want your pet to develop bad breath. You won’t like it, and neither will your dog. However, bad breath isn't the only downside.
Overlooking your dog’s dental care can result in periodontal disease. It can also cause:
- Tartar and plaque buildup
- Bad breath
- Teeth discoloration
- Bleeding gums
- Painful and sensitive roots
- Gum disease
- Tooth loss
Start cleaning your dog’s teeth when still in their puppy years to help avoid these issues and keep your pup healthy.
Clean Now to Save Your Dog From Health Issues Later
Dog dental care can be a hassle, especially if they aren’t used to having people touch their mouth. However, proper dental care can be a lifesaver and save money in the long run.
Even with a regular annual visit to your veterinarian, you’ll need to brush their teeth and give them other dental care products such as chews, treats, and supplements. Buy dog dental treats, chews, and supplements today and save your fur baby from periodontal disease and other health issues. Keep your pet smiling!