Oral hygiene is just as important for dogs as it is for humans. Poor oral hygiene can lead to serious life-threatening conditions including kidney, liver, and heart muscle damage. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 80 percent of dogs show signs of canine periodontal disease as early as age three.
Practicing good dental care at home will lead to more than sweeter-smelling kisses; your dog will live a happier, healthier, and longer life. Thankfully, cleaning your canine companion’s teeth is surprisingly simple even on a tight schedule. Even the busiest dog owners can easily incorporate these practices with just a few minutes each week so your four-footed friend’s pearly whites will sparkle for years to come. These five easy ways to keep your dog’s dental health in top-notch condition will save your dog’s teeth and your time.
1. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth with Delicious Toothpaste
For both dogs and humans, teeth brushing is the foundation of good oral health. Just like with people, it’s ideal to brush teeth daily. If you don’t have time for that, brushing teeth at least once a week will suffice, though the more often the better. Most dogs will learn to tolerate and appreciate teeth cleanings, even if they don’t like it at first. Specifically-designed dog toothbrushes with angled handles, soft bristles, and even multiple heads make reaching all the tiny nooks and crevices inside your dog’s mouth easier and quicker. You’ll need toothpaste specifically designed for dogs, as human toothpaste contains toxic ingredients like xylitol and fluoride that could cause significant harm. Dog toothpaste comes in many appealing flavors like peanut butter, beef, and chicken. Try different combinations of toothpaste and toothbrushes to see what suits you and your pup best. Establishing a regular teeth cleaning schedule at home will take less time than you think and go a long way toward keeping your dog’s teeth clean.
2. Nibble on Dog Dental Chews
Dog dental chews clean your dog’s teeth while also stimulating your dog’s natural cravings for a tasty treat. Plus, your dog will be too busy chomping on their treats to create trouble elsewhere. These chews are designed to minimize the build-up of plaque and tartar while polishing a dog’s teeth to a sparkling shine. Dog dental chews come in different sizes and shapes, and feature ridges and nubs that dig into crevices between a dog’s teeth to encourage blood flow through the gums. The hollow shapes and spaces allow dogs to better grip and chew more evenly. Always supervise your dog when they have a dental chew within reach.
3. Spritz Dog Dental Spray
If your dog’s stinky breath is causing you to miss out on cuddles or kisses, or if you only have a short amount of time to spare, dog dental sprays are the ideal solution. It’s a quick and easy way to take care of your dog’s teeth, as dog dental sprays can be used alone or in between brushings. These sprays kill plaque-causing bacteria to make your dog’s breath smell fresh. In addition to odor-eliminating effect, dental sprays can also remove and prevent tartar and plaque build-up. Most sprays are simple to use: they simply require owners to spritz the teeth and gums. Since some dogs just won’t stay still for an oral cleaning, dental sprays can also be applied to dog toys and licked off for instant fresh breath with minimal effort. Dog dental spray works best when dogs don’t eat for a half hour before and after spraying.
4. Gnaw on Chew Toys
If you’re raising a fun-loving dog, they’ll love playing with a chew toy and you’ll love how it destroys their boredom instead of your shoes. When it comes to keeping your dog busy and entertained, chew toys are one of the best solutions. Providing dogs with a chew toy satisfies their natural instincts to chew, keeps them occupied, and helps improve their oral health. Dogs of every age explore the world through their teeth. For puppies, gnawing naturally soothes teething pain and keeps adult dogs mentally-stimulated. Chewing is the natural way for dogs to clean their teeth as the constant gnawing scrapes plaque off of teeth. They are made of a variety of materials ranging from plastic, rubber, nylon, and rawhide. We suggest rotating different types of boredom-busting chew toys to keep dogs interested. These toys come in a variety of shapes and sizes so you’re sure to find something that settles your dog’s playfulness.
5. Attend Regular Professional Veterinarian Cleanings
An essential way to protect your furry friend’s oral health is through regular professional cleanings with your veterinarian. Veterinarians are skilled at identifying, preventing, and treating any dental problems they find that may otherwise go unnoticed. Most dogs need oral exams and cleanings at least once per year so veterinarians can check for early warning signs of serious problems. Some breeds, like Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, and Dachshunds, are more susceptible to periodontal disease. They may require more frequent cleanings every six months. Veterinarians can remove plaque below the gum line, where toothbrushes can’t reach. Dental cleanings involve taking x-rays to evaluate the health of the jawline and tooth roots. Veterinarians will scale and polish teeth to remove plaque and tartar while your dog is under general anesthesia. Veterinarians can also safely fill or extract teeth as needed. Though this is the most expensive and time-consuming option, we recommend making veterinarian oral exams a priority. Your dog’s teeth will thank you for it!