Let’s be honest: dogs don’t have the cleanest mouths. While we don’t expect those sloppy kisses to smell minty fresh, it’s still important to make sure your canine’s chompers are being cleaned and maintained on a regular basis.
Some dog owners are under the impression that canine dental care isn’t necessary, since dogs instinctively clean their teeth through chewing. While this is partly true, Fido still needs some supplemental dental care incorporated into his routine to maintain optimal dental health.
Not only will setting aside time for regular teeth cleaning help to work against the build-up of plaque and tartar (which can lead to an array of other dental/oral health issues), it will allow you an opportunity to do a quick check-up on your dog’s oral health. After all, some dental issues can alert you to even more health concerns that may have otherwise gone unnoticed.
How to Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean
Fortunately, there are multiple ways to keep your dog’s pearly whites clean and healthy. Some ways your dog can maintain optimal dental health include:
Chewing is typical canine behavior. Some dogs chew as a way to cope with anxiety or frustration; chewing can also be a form of entertainment for a bored dog or a pup with excess energy.
Of course, chewing is also beneficial for dental health. Regular chewing helps to keep the jaws strong and scrapes plaque off the teeth. Dogs love finding objects to chew on, so it’s best to have some dog-friendly chew toys on hand before Fido decides to turn your shoe into his next chew toy.
Recommended chew toys include safe rawhide alternatives, Kongs, and raw bones. Some dog owners also like to give their dogs raw carrots (some prefer frozen) or other dog-friendly vegetables for a healthy chewing session.
Be sure to purchase dog-friendly toothpaste with dog-friendly flavors, since the ingredients in your own minty tube may contain ingredients that are toxic for dogs, such as xylitol. Alternatively, you can try your hand at making DIY dog toothpaste.
As far as brushing goes, take some time to figure out what works best for you and your pooch. Some prefer canine toothbrushes, while others use finger brushes or even just gauze wrapped around the finger. Dental wipes are another option, though they aren’t as efficient as a toothbrush when it comes to scraping grime off the teeth.
Whether you opt for kibble or a raw diet, a well-balanced diet is crucial to maintaining your dog’s overall health. Plus, chewing on kibble can provide some added teeth cleaning; dogs on raw diets have plenty of opportunities to chew on raw bones.
Regular Professional Cleanings
In addition to implementing an at-home dental routine, it’s also important to schedule regular professional cleanings with your vet. After all, your vet is able to detect issues that may otherwise go unnoticed; they can also take x-rays and fill or extract teeth, which are definitely procedures that you shouldn’t try at home!
Cleaning Your Dog’s Teeth at Home
You don’t necessarily need to brush your dog’s teeth every day, but the more often, the better. Most vets recommend daily brushing, or at least 2-4 times per week.
At first, your dog may not like the idea of getting his teeth cleaned. Be patient while he gets used to the idea. As with grooming, add to the routine gradually rather than diving in all at once. Find a quiet, calm, well-lit area, and make sure you and your furry friend are feeling comfortable and relaxed. Gently touch the teeth and gums until Fido gets used to the feeling of his mouth being touched. If he’s resisting, it’s okay to take a break and try again later.
Once your dog is used to the feeling of having his teeth and gums touched, gently brush up and down, and then side-to-side. When you’re done, give your dog some water and clean the brush.
Of course, you can’t forget the reward! Offer plenty of treats and positive attention to reward your pet for his cooperative behavior. Ideally, over time he will eventually come to find those tooth brushing sessions to be a positive bonding experience with you.
To supplement your at-home dental care, you can also put your name on the waitlist for Pet Honesty’s upcoming dental products—Oral Hygiene Fresh Sticks, Allergy Support Fresh Sticks, and Hemp Calming Fresh Sticks are all perfect for chewing. Additionally, Oral Hygiene Dental Water is an odorless and tasteless solution that supports healthy teeth and gums while also promoting fresh breath.