Most dog parents believe that they’re taking good care of their pup’s oral hygiene. However, a survey shows that 69% of dog owners never brush their canine’s teeth and 60% don’t know that poor dental health can affect the overall well-being of a dog. You don’t want to be one of them.
Though maintaining your pup’s oral hygiene can be tricky—especially when your dog is not trained to tolerate a toothbrush or chew toy—dog dental cleaning is important to maintain your furry friend’s overall health and protect them from dental diseases. Like humans, dogs need regular dental cleanings to free their mouths from plaque and tartar buildup. Poor oral hygiene can lead to yellow teeth, bad breath, gum disease, and other infections that can make your pup seriously sick.
So how can you keep those pearly whites shining? Here are 5 simple dog dental cleaning tips for diligent pet parents.
5 Easy Dog dental Cleaning Tips
Follow a Brushing Routine
Pups can't brush their teeth themselves. And if you're not vigilant about their dental hygiene, all that plaque and tartar will turn into calculus overnight. So, make sure to brush your dog’s teeth every day or at least three times a week to keep them in good condition.
Invest in a good double-sided toothbrush that can reach all the crevices of their mouth. Use doggy toothpaste (never human toothpaste, because it's too harsh for their delicate gums) and brush in small, circular motions. Lucky for dogs, their toothpaste comes in yummy flavors like peanut butter and chicken, easing your dog’s dental cleaning process.
Give Them Chew Toys
Does your dog love chew toys? That's one way to help keep their teeth clean.
Chewing on hard objects helps remove plaque and tartar while also strengthening your pooch’s gums. For young pups, it can also help relieve the pain of teething. As for adult dogs, chewing can mentally stimulate them and help alleviate boredom or anxiety.
You can find chew toys at your local pet store or online, specifically designed to help clean teeth. These usually have a crunchy texture that helps scrub away the gunk. Nylon, rubber, and rawhide bones are also good options.
Make sure they're the right size for your pup's mouth so they don't choke on them. We also recommend exercising strict supervision while your dog chews on their toy to make sure they don't break a tooth.
Make Use of Dog Dental Spray
There are all sorts of dental products on the market for dogs, from mouthwash to water additives. Dental sprays are one of the most popular options because they're easy to use. Just spray it directly into your dog's mouth and massage its gums with your finger. If your furry friend doesn't like the taste, try adding it to their water bowl instead. You can also spritz it on their favorite chew toy.
Most dental sprays contain ingredients like enzymes, chlorhexidine, and zinc that help break down plaque and tartar. They also often have a minty flavor that freshens your pup's breath. It is a perfect option for busy pet parents who don't have time to brush their dog's teeth daily.
Feed Them Healthy Foods
You are what you eat, and that's true for your dog, too. A healthy diet can do wonders for their teeth, skin, coat, and overall health. So, ensure you give them the right nutrients to stay strong and healthy.
Omega-three fatty acids are great for maintaining healthy gums. Salmon, tuna, and other fish are enriched with this nutrient. Canned pumpkin is another great option for keeping your puppy's teeth clean. It's full of fiber that helps scrape away plaque and tartar while they chew. Just mix a spoonful into their food once or twice a week, and you're good to go. You can also give your dog supplements if you're not sure they're getting enough in their diet.
Schedule Regular Check-ups
Even if you're religious about brushing your dog's teeth, it's still a good idea to take them to the vet for regular check-ups. They can give your pup a professional cleaning and catch any problems early on.
During your visit, the vet will likely scale your pup's teeth and look for trouble areas. This also includes reaching for plaque under the gum line that you might have missed. They may also polish their teeth and do a fluoride treatment to prevent cavities. In some serious cases, your dog may need a tooth extraction. But thankfully, that's usually a last resort.
Your dog must attend dental cleanings at least once every year. But if they're prone to periodontal disease, your vet may recommend more frequent visits. Bulldogs, Terriers, and small breeds are particularly susceptible, so it’s better to schedule more frequent checkups for them.
To Wrap it Up
These are some of many dog dental cleaning tips to keep your canine’s oral hygiene intact.
What you feed your dog has a big impact on their dental health. So, always choose food or kibble designed for the dental health of dogs. Moreover, lure your pet with chew toys and dental sprays to help keep teeth clean. And you may not find it fun, but brushing your dog's teeth is one of the best ways to give them a sparkly smile. The trick is to start early so they get used to the process. And be sure to give them a professional cleaning once or twice a year.