Cleaning our own teeth is part of our everyday routine. We would never go out without doing it.
What many people do not realize is that you also have to clean your dog’s teeth regularly, in order to keep on top of their dental health and ensure that they do not get any oral diseases.
However, if you have not cleaned your dog’s teeth before, or since a young age, then the likelihood is that they are not going to take well to it.
Many dogs do not like the feeling of their mouths being gripped, or the brush bristles against their teeth, and they sometimes do not react well to it.
Luckily there are alternative ways that you can keep your dog’s teeth clean. But first, let’s take a look at why ensuring your dog’s teeth are clean is so vital to their health and wellbeing.
Why you need to clean your dog’s teeth
It is estimated that up to 95% of owners do not clean their dog’s teeth! Just like us humans, dogs need to look after their teeth too. However, this is not because they can get cavities, but more because they use their mouths to understand the world.
If their mouths and teeth are not properly cared for, they can become prone to diseases and infections.
Dogs can also develop problems such as plaque and tartar build up, and can even get gingivitis. In some severe cases, dogs can develop such bad dental disease that it can cause pain, permanent damage, and the teeth might even need to be extracted.
How to clean your dog’s teeth (without brushing)
For alternatives to using a brush, why not try some of these methods:
- Give them dental treats
Instead of brushing the teeth, which can be uncomfortable and stressful for some dogs if they are not used to it, you can give them dental treats designed to remove plaque and fight off dental diseases.
Some of these treats may also be made with herbal blends to get rid of bacteria, and can often minimize bad odors.
We recommend trying these dental treats from Greenies:
These dental treats are specifically formulated to scrape off build up and plaque as the treat is chewed, and are great for keeping on top of dental hygiene. However, you cannot give your dog too many treats as it can contribute to weight gain and obesity, so use these in moderation.
- Incorporate teeth cleaning foods into their diet
If you do not want to try dental treats, then try incorporating healthy, teeth cleaning foods into their diets. For instance, you can use apple slices, carrot sticks or sweet potatoes as snacks and treats for your dog.
These are low in calories and fat, and can help clean the teeth and scrape away plaque and build up.
- Try brush alternatives
In addition to actual dog toothbrushes, you can purchase brush alternatives such as teeth wipes and sprays. Canine dental wipes are highly effective and recommended if your dog does not like the feel of a toothbrush.
However, you have to be prepared to get down on the floor and really get into your dog’s mouth to wipe off the plaque and build up.
- Offer chew toys
We all know how much dogs love to chew. Whether it’s bones, toys or your favorite shoes, dogs love getting their teeth into something. So, why not give them a dental chew toy that is made of rubber to remove some of the plaque and clean the teeth?
We recommend this dog toy as it has teeth brushing bristles, is easy to clean, and has a reservoir to squeeze toothpaste into:
- Give them coconut oil
Coconut oil truly is a wonder product that you can use on anything. You can even give some to your pet to help clean the teeth and kill off any bacteria caused by tartar, plaque and gum disease.
Simply wipe some onto the gums to minimize bacteria and infections!
- Ask the veterinarian
Finally, you have to remember to take your dog to the veterinarian so that they can check up on their teeth.
The veterinarian will also be able to provide professional doggie dental cleanings to ensure that there are no dental problems, and reduce the risk of your dog needing medication or an expensive procedure such as a tooth extraction!
If you are worried about your dog’s dental health in any way, then take them to be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Signs your dog has dental problems:
- Gums may bleed often or seem damaged
- Mouth gives off foul odor
- Teeth are discolored or falling out
- Dog refuses food or has difficulty chewing and eating
- Build up on the teeth
If your dog has any of these symptoms, or you notice that there is an issue with the teeth, then do not brush them as you may cause more damage. Instead, seek medical help and take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible.