Proper dog dental care is a lot more important than just the smell of your best friend’s breath. If allowed to run rampant, dental care problems can cause your dog to lose his teeth or get mouth cancer, and the bacterial infections causing the bad breath can also spread to other parts of the body, damaging internal organs or causing arthritis. A lot of health problems can start with a simple case of doggie breath.
In short, a lot of health problems can be prevented with the right dog dental care. But, good news: that care is easy to provide!
The #1 Dog Dental Care Step: Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
There are specific toothbrushes made for dog dental care, but you can use a soft-bristled brush made for children as well. Make sure to use a dog-formulated toothpaste, and consider a toothpaste that’s flavored with his favorite food. Your dog may trust your finger more than he’d trust a plastic stick – and for that, there are finger brushes, but with that, there’s the risk of being bitten while your dog enjoys the liver-flavored toothpaste. The toothpaste will last you a long time, since it only takes a tiny pellet-sized amount for each brushing.
Getting your dog to let you perform dental care will take a little bit of time. Start by letting your dog lick a dab of the toothpaste off your finger. Follow that with getting him used to allowing you to probe his teeth with your finger while there’s toothpaste on it. Slowly work your way up until you’re actually brushing his teeth, either with your finger or a toothbrush, or even a small, clean rag.
Don’t worry about getting the whole mouth done early on – focus more on getting him used to doggie dental care. Once he’s used to it, you can brush your dog’s teeth anywhere between daily, to twice a week.
Dog Dental Care – Dental Sprays and Water Additives
Some dogs just hate to have their teeth brushed, and won’t tolerate it. Most of them do eventually love it – think of how good your teeth feel when they’re clean, your dog likes it just as much as you do! But if your dog won’t let you brush his teeth, there are other dog dental care options.
There are products that can be added to the dog’s water bowl, like Plaque Off. These products dissolve and kill the film coating that bacterial colonies use to protect themselves.
There are also sprays and gels made for dog dental care. Some of these are good for daily maintenance, some also fight existing tartar and plaque problems, and some are good for both. There’s a variety of this dog’s dental care products, many of which are made with natural extracts from fruits and other foods. Brushing is better, but these products are pretty effective if used three times per week. Dentacetic and Petzlife Oral Care are two popular dog dental care products in this category.
Dog Dental Care – Don’t Forget the Chew Toys and Treats!
Yes, chew toys! They’re a great way to keep your dog’s teeth and gums strong, plus they make your dog salivate, which is a natural cleaner. Be aware that rawhide bones are “out” nowadays, because of the health risks when they splinter and get swallowed.
There are plenty of new products that are great toys or snacks, and are specifically made to help with dog dental care. Make sure to read the package carefully and select a product that’s right for your dog’s size. Dental care chew toys will have lots of dimples and ridges, which scrub the teeth while your dog plays. The chewable treats help with dental care because they contain plaque-fighting, non-toxic chemicals in the treat.
Don’t replace your dog’s normal treats with a full-time supply of dental care treats – use them two or three times per week. The toys, however, he can have whenever he wants!
Dog Dental Care and Diet
Certain foods are very helpful for dog dental care. Carrots and green beans are crunchy and nutritious, and the chewing will break up plaque. Raw knuckle bones with bits of meat will also help – both the bone and meat will scrub off some build-up. Never give your dog cooked bones, because they can splinter, and pierce your dog’s innards!
Dry dog food is better for your dog’s teeth than wet, and, for that matter, you should make sure you’re feeding your dog the best dog food available – which, of course, will help with all aspects of health.