Dental health is a concern for many dog owners, mostly because your dog won’t be able to tell you that he or she has toothache and, on many occasions, it is only because the dog stops eating that we become alerted.
Fresh breath and no decay, we all want that, so how do we get it?
- Well, we can clean our dog’s teeth ourselves! Undoubtably the best way to keep their teeth clean and not as difficult as you might think. Good groomers will be able to teach you techniques for even the cheekiest of dogs. If you don’t have access to a good groomer, or you’re not into YouTube, using 2 toothbrushes is a way of distracting your dog. Have the toothpaste on one and coconut oil on the other. Whilst he is chewing the coconut brush side, you will get to do a decent clean on the other side. Coconut Oil is also said to be nature’s toothpaste, so win win.
- There are a large variety of toothbrushes on the market, from traditional brushes to finger thimbles or dental wipes. Let’s be honest, a soft toothbrush is always going to be best, no matter what the marketing on the packaging says! Getting your dog used to the process is a good idea as it makes visual check ups for any problems easier to do. And old dog can learn new tricks, and teeth cleaning, so don’t ever think it is too late.
- Your dog will be motivated to eat raw bones (never cooked) as they are totally delicious. Most good butchers keep a stock of decent bones for their customers faithful friends so just ask. Deer & Elk antlers are excellent at cleaning away the plaque, so it is not just bones from the butcher that do this important job.
- Natural chews. There is a plethora of natural chews on the market that taste delicious. From bulls pizzle (Bully Sticks) to beef skins, buying trachea to fill or a pig’s ear, these natural chews are great teeth cleaners. They can also occupy your dog and chewing can promote a calm behaviour too. Watch out for the calories though, some natural chews are high in calories.
- Not for the feint hearted but, if you can, it is great to give your dog natural chews that have hair on, also called Primal chews. The fur is fantastic for teeth cleaning and also very good for your dog’s digestive tract, but I’ll write about that another day.
- There are lots of toys on the market which promote chewing. These start for puppies to relieve the pain of teething and have similar products for adult dogs too which can clean their teeth.
- Natural dental sprays are now on the market which claim to kill the harmful bacteria in the dog’s mouth. The trick with these is to make sure the spray goes directly on all the hot spots and then you can sit back and wait for minty fresh breath!
- There are water additives on the market too, pop a few drops of an anti-microbial solution in their water bowl and it cleans the teeth through having a clean mouth.
Dental sticks aren’t on the list. So many big brand products are too soft, so do not remove plaque, and others are loaded with sugar which defeats the exercise! That doesn’t mean there are not decent products on the market, just read the ingredients and look at the dental stick, it’s about common sense.
And yes, I have to say it even though we all know it – supervised chewing is the safest chewing!
So there you have it, a handful of ideas on how to keep your dog’s teeth in good health and, in a few of the cases, in a tasty time occupying way!