February is Doggie Dental Month and it’s a perfect time to touch on a few ways to keep your pup’s pearly whites clean and shiny.
First, why is it important? Bad dental hygiene can cause things from “death breath,” to gingivitis, which can lead to infections in the blood and which, in extreme cases, can lead to death! It can also mean tooth extractions and more under-anesthesia dentals, which always carry at least some risk.
In a perfect world, you’d be doing daily brushing. Here are some things to remember.
- Don’t use people toothpaste because it contains fluoride and other ingredients which we spit out and dogs would swallow. So ONLY dog toothpaste should be used.
- There are many different types of dog toothbrushes you can use. A regular toothbrush, three-sided tooth brushes and even finger brushes which just slip over your finger.
- The key here is to get your dog to LIKE your fingers in their mouth. You can do this by slowly introducing the experience. Put your finger in their mouth and give a treat. Repeat. If you’re going to use a toothbrush, touch the toothbrush to their mouth and then treat. Repeat. Then the next day, add a little toothpaste, let them lick it and then treat, praise, repeat. Then the next day…brush one tooth. Treat, praise, repeat. Make it a fun game. You get the idea!
So what if you don’t live in a perfect world and daily brushing -- let’s be honest -- isn’t going to happen? There are other alternatives. For example, consider using a product called Petzlife Oral Care Gel. This allows you to brush just once a week. It’s a gel that you put in their mouth, it mixes with saliva and you let it set for about 30 minutes. It breaks up plaque and tartar and you can brush it away. Or you can wrap your finger in gauze and rub it away! It’s pretty awesome stuff.
You can also use products such as Tropiclean water additive. It addresses plaque, tartar and fresh breath.
There are food supplements such as SeaDent, which is made of organic kelp and enzymes that help to keep teeth clean and breath fresh as well as a product called DentaTreat, which is made from cheese enzymes for the picky pups!
Chewing on rawhides (if your dog is a safe candidate for rawhides) and raw meaty bones is another way to keep your dog’s toofers white and shiny!
You can also get a scaling tool from your veterinarian. If you’re lucky and your dogs let you, you can pick away at the tartar and reveal sparkling clean teeth!
Diet plays a part as well. One of the benefits of raw fed dogs is that enzymes from raw keeps dogs teeth clean. (Look for a future blog post on the subject of feeding raw.)
So, pick which techniques work best for you. Often times, people will chose multiple options to help ensure a healthy, happy hound! Anything you do is better than doing nothing at all!
Thanks to Tonya Christiansen of Must Love Dogs Boutique for this great information!