As we all know, dental hygiene is important – for all animals, not just us humans! Your dog’s teeth build up tartar and plaque just like ours do. Unlike humans, dogs aren’t particularly concerned about it – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a health issue. As a responsible pet owner, this is where you come in.
The stereotype of “dog breath” all too often comes about as a result of neglected dental health. Discoloured teeth can also be of concern, and not just from a cosmetic perspective. A failure to minimise the tartar build-up on your dog’s teeth could result in periodontal disease, which can be painful and even deadly.
Regular teeth cleaning is recommended to remove plaque and tartar and to protect against gum disease. This can be performed under general anaesthetic at your local vets (in fact, some pet insurance policies may even cover teeth cleaning as a health concern).
The reason many vets will elect to put a dog under during a teeth cleaning process is because many dogs dislike it when we humans tickle their teeth. However, there are also natural ways to clean a dog’s teeth which can be beneficial – some of which we’ll take a look at now:
How Can I Clean My Dogs Teeth Naturally?
#1 Give Your Dog a Toy
Chewable dog toys or things like dog dental chews are a great way to get your dog to self-clean its own teeth. Many of these toys are designed specifically for this purpose, with nubs and grooves that massage the interior of the mouth when gnawed on. You simply need to look at your dog with a toy in its mouth to understand how much they enjoy the feeling!
However, it’s important to only choose toys with natural ingredients. It’s worth checking out reviews to find reputable dog chew toys, as there have recently been reports of cheap imported items being potentially harmful to dogs – so do your research before making a purchase.
Rubber toys are a good choice as they are manufactured from all-natural ingredients, which help to scrub old food and plaque from the teeth of your dog. They also help to stimulate blood flow to the gums, which is vital in staving off periodontal disease.
You can also exercise your dog at the same time by throwing the toy for them to fetch. With obesity in dogs a growing concern, it’s obviously important to exercise your dog as much as possible. According to research from Direct Line, 1.7 million UK dog owners in the past year alone have been told that their pet is overweight! Keeping your dog healthy in every way possible is undoubtedly important.
#2 Be Treat-Smart
Whether it’s to teach new tricks or elicit a Pavlovian response (for example, to stop the dog barking at the postman), all dog owners have used treats to help train their dog at one point or another. However, a lot of treats used for dog training come full of sugar and carbohydrates. Many of these treats are bad for your dog’s dental health – and general health, for that matter.
Instead, you may want to try using dog-friendly fruits and vegetables which help to keep your dog’s teeth clean. Choose apple slices (with the seeds removed), carrots and squash when training, and you’ll begin to notice the difference. These foods leave little residue behind, and the textures can even help to scrub other food residue from your dog’s teeth.
#3 Give Your Dog a Bone
Raw bones have long been accepted as a great (and all-natural) teeth cleaning method. When your dog chews a bone, the bone will scrape against the enamel of the teeth, helping to buff away plaque and loosen up any tartar. In addition to being good for your dog’s dental health, a bone will also help provide nourishment.
Local butcher’s shops are a great source for bones – simply visit and ask if they have any soup bones or knuckle bones. You should offer your dog a size-appropriate bone approximately twice a week to help maintain its oral health.
#4 Choose Fresh Food
Dried kibble is the go-to diet for most dogs these days, but it’s not the most natural. It’s rich in carbohydrates, which also feeds the colonies of bacteria that live inside our dog’s mouths. By replacing kibble with fresh vegetables and good quality meat, you’ll notice that your dog has much less plaque and tartar compared with dogs on a high-carb diet.
Like many of the above tips, fresh food won’t just benefit the oral health of your dog – you’ll see an improvement in its coat, eyes, general demeanour and possibly even behaviour. If you want what’s best for your pooch, the key is to go natural.
#5 Brush Em Teeth
Helping to keep your dog’s teeth clean is also important. All you need to do here is to simply get a toothbrush made for dogs and also some natural dog toothpaste. Simply then you can give them a good brushing as often as you like.
Admittedly you really don’t need to brush your dog’s teeth as much as your own though brushing them a couple of times per week would definitely help your dog’s dental health.