How often do you clean your dog’s teeth? Every day? Every week?
Or are you part of the population of dog owners who don’t brush them at all?
Dog owners don’t realise what a tremendous problem poor oral hygiene is.
Dirty, decayed, infected or broken teeth is painful for dogs. They can’t tell us they are in pain and they will continue to eat, often using one side of the mouth to avoid tender areas.
For many dog owners, not knowing why it’s important to clean teeth, or knowing what to do is what stands in the way.
Start your dog’s dental regime immediately. If your dog comes to you as a puppy, they will be learning all kinds of new things so its a good time to start. With a rescue dog, again, start when they arrive, it’s something that you can build into their new routine. Whatever their age, start slowly. First, use your finger to rub the paste around the dogs mouth. The move to a finger brush, then to a toothbrush. Stop if they become agitated and give them a reward and make a fuss of them so they view teeth cleaning as a positive experience.
Have their teeth checked by your vet. Dogs should have their teeth examined when they go for their annual vaccinations. If your dog has had a dental procedure or problem with their teeth, they should be checked every 6 months. If your vet hasn’t checked your dogs teeth, ensure you ask for this at your next visit.
Brush their teeth as often as you can. Owners who are careful about their pet’s health can brush their teeth every day. In an ideal world, every dog owner would do this. However, most owners feel they don’t have the time so try to do it as often as possible. A wide range of toothbrushes from finger brushes to start with to regular brushes are available.
Find a toothpaste or gel that protects against tartar. There are lots of toothpastes on the market, many of which are flavoured with meat to make them more appealing to dogs. The most important thing is the action of brush the teeth and taking the plaque away, leaving the mouth feeling clean and fresh. Use a gel or paste that protect against tartar like VetIQ 2in1 Denti-Care Paste. Denti-Care paste is formulated to clean teeth and freshen breath. It contains natural breath freshening and anti-bacterial agents that address bad breath and tartar build-up.
Use treats and/or food to protect teeth. Dental chews and food have a place in your pet’s hygiene routine and can work well alongside brushing but should not be used as an alternative. Greenies Dental Chews cost from £5.99 and help reduce plaque and tartar build-up.
Try additives in your pets water. Aquadent is an anti plaque solution that can be added to your pet’s water to limit the build up of plaque and tartar.
Use a toy that helps clean teeth. My dogs love Kong toys and they have a choice of a dental stick , dental rope and a dental kong. The Kong stick has ridges on it that clean your dog’s back teeth, scraping plaque away from the teeth and gumline as they chews. The Kong rope is a toy with a chew clean grooves that clean the teeth and comes on a tug rope. The Kong dental toy has chew clean grooves which clean teeth and gums as your dog chews and, like a regular Kong, there is a hollow centre that can be filled with treats.
And finally, put yourself in your dogs shoes. Our dogs are more humanised than ever. We buy them clothes, invest in pet sitters, feed them human grade food and shower them with love and affection. But something so simple as taking a few moments each day to clean their teeth feels like a chore and it shouldn’t. Having a broken tooth for a dog is like having a broken leg. It needs surgery, anesthetic and time for the dog to recover. As an owner, think about how you feel when you have toothache and realise that your dog can feel the same but can’t tell anyone. Think about how horrid it feels if you don’t brush your teeth for a day. Some dog’s don’t have theirs done for years! It might feel like hassle, but cleaning your teeth is about being kind and showing your dog you care about their health.
Thanks for reading.