Keeping your dog’s mouth and teeth clean are an essential part of responsible dog ownership. Dental disease is extremely common in dogs and can be very uncomfortable, leading to long term problems – and hefty vet bills.
Despite this, many owners we speak to are unsure of the best methods to make keep their dog’s mouth clean. To help with this, we’ve rounded up our top tips to ensure strong healthy teeth and fresh breath for your pet.
Brushing with a toothbrush
Manually brushing your dog’s teeth is a brilliant way to reduce plaque build-up in his or her mouth. While this doesn’t have to be done daily, consistency is key. You can use a human toothbrush, but better still is a canine one from your local pet shop.
Many dogs won’t like having their teeth brushed initially, so build up gradually with lots of praise and rewards.
Use a doggy toothpaste
It’s essential to use a special doggy toothpaste – often in peanut butter or chicken flavour – human toothpaste might be minty fresh, but it can contain ingredients that are toxic to pets. After brushing, if you are able to do so safety, rub some extra toothpaste onto your dogs teeth.
Natural dental sprays
If your dog will hold still long enough, a natural canine dental spray is a great option. They will help reduce and prevent dental plaque and tartar build up, as well as controlling the bacteria that causes that dreaded “doggy breath”. You can pick them up from most pet shops.
Dental chew toys
Dental chew toys are a great – and often overlooked – option. There are loads on the market with a variety of textures which can help scrape the plaque off your dog’s teeth as they relax and enjoy their primal instinct to chew.
Make sure you always supervise your pet when they are playing with chew toys to ensure they don’t swallow any large pieces.
What dog doesn’t love a treat?! There are many different varieties on the market which are specifically designed to reduce plaque build-up and often contain ingredients that freshen breath and clean your dog’s mouth. Available in all manner of shapes, sizes, and flavours, you’ll be sure to find something your dog loves – and most dogs will prefer this method to a toothbrush.
Antlers are a great alternative to treats, particularly if you are watching your dog’s weight. As they chew, they gradually chip away at the antler and massage their gums and teeth, removing plaque deposits. Antlers can be pricey, but they are generally longer lasting.
It’s really important that you make sure you choose a naturally shed antler. Avoid “velvet antlers” as they are usually cut from live animals.
Raw bones are a great way to keep your dog’s teeth clean – but proceed with caution! Cooked bones can splinter, causing all manner of issues and should be avoided at all costs. Raw bones are a better bet, but make sure you select the right size for your dog – too big or too small and they could choke. If in doubt, check with your vet.
A professional vet clean
Most vets will offer a doggy tooth cleaning service. It can be costly, but it’s a sure-fire way of knowing for certain that your dog’s teeth are completely clean, with the added benefit of the vet detecting any early stage issue or gum disease.
If you have any concerns about your dog’s oral health, its important to check with your vet with out delay.