4 Most Important Ways to Care for Your Dog’s Teeth
Cleaning your dog’s teeth is a vital part of the grooming process. Unfortunately, it is also an element of grooming that many dog owners overlook. Luckily, there is not just one way for dog owners to keep their dog’s teeth clean.
In addition to teeth brushing, chewing on dental chews, bones, and toys will help your dog keep their teeth clean naturally. Similarly, some supplements and water additives can also help to keep your dog’s dental hygiene looking good.
In this article, we will be giving you the five best ways to care for your dog’s teeth. We will be answering some commonly asked questions about dental care as well. Let’s get into it!
The 4 Best Ways to Care for Your Dog’s Teeth
There is more than one way for dog owners to clean their dogs’ teeth. While nothing beats a good tooth brushing, dental chews and chewing on other hard objects can help your dog keep their teeth in good shape. Additionally, supplements, water additives, and routine vet visits can help with good dental hygiene in dogs. Here are the five best ways that you can take care of your dog’s teeth.
1. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth is one of the best ways to keep them clean. That is if your dog will let you brush them! Since many dogs do not innately like having their teeth brushed, starting the process in puppyhood is recommended.
When brushing your dog’s teeth it is crucial that you only use a toothpaste that is officially made for dogs. This is because human toothpaste is toxic for dogs to consume. In addition to this, using a toothbrush made for dogs will help make the process easier, as they are specially shaped to reach the back of a dog’s mouth.
2. Give Them Dental Chews
Dental chews can be a great option for people that find it difficult to brush their dog’s teeth. There are many brands of dental chews out there, but the best options have a VOHC seal on the package. This seal states that the chews have been officially tested and are proven to remove plaque and tartar from a dog’s teeth.
While dental chews can be an effective way to clean a dog’s teeth, it may still be a good idea to combine this method with one or more of the others on our list. Like when chewing on bones and toys, dogs should always be supervised when eating dental chews for their safety.
It is not recommended to consistently give dogs things that are hard enough to fracture their teeth. Yes, abrasion helps, but fractured teeth don’t help anyone, especially your pup! A good way to test the hardness of your dog’s chew is to see if you are able to bend the chew with relative ease, or are able to put a dent in the chew with a fingernail. Anything firmer than this will likely lead to your vet recommending extracting the teeth that the dog fractures on chews that are too hard, like an antler or hard bone, for example.
3. Use Things Like Supplements and Water Additives
There are some supplements and water additives that can help keep your dog’s teeth clean as well. These mainly work to clean a dog’s teeth by removing plaque and tartar as they drink water. Supplements work in a similar way, but it comes out through the dog’s saliva after it has been ingested. Look for a dental water additive or supplement with the VOHC seal of approval for the safest and most effective products.
4. Get Your Dog’s Teeth Examined by a Vet Regularly
Of course, it is best to have your vet examine your dog’s teeth on a regular basis, especially as they get older. The good news is that a basic teeth examination is usually a part of your dog’s yearly or bi-annual veterinary checkup.
Vets will be able to let you know if your dog’s dental hygiene is subpar, if they are at risk of developing dental disease, or if they have dental disease already. Most veterinary offices also offer professional teeth cleanings for at risk patients.
Can Foods Actually Help to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth?
Certain foods actually do have a benefit in dog dental care. Read on to find out more.
Do Carrots Clean a Dog’s Teeth?
Yes, chewing on raw carrots is healthy for dogs, and it can help with cleaning their teeth. This is because raw carrot sticks are very hard, and dogs will need to do a great deal of chewing to eat the carrot. This chewing works to clean a dog’s teeth in the same way that chewing on bones and toys can. However, carrots are not as good of options for teeth cleaning as brushing your dog’s teeth or giving them dental chews are.
Do Apples Clean a Dog’s Teeth?
Like carrots, raw apples can technically clean a dog’s teeth due to the chewing involved. However, apples are not better at cleaning a dog’s teeth than using officially tested dental products. Additionally, apples should always be cut into smaller pieces so that the dog does not choke, and the core and stem removed.
Does Feeding Your Dog Dry Food Help Keep Their Teeth Clean?
It is a common misconception that dogs on a mostly dry kibble diet have inherently better oral hygiene than dogs that mostly eat wet food. Unfortunately, there has been no official correlation between dry kibble and good dental health. So, you should still make an effort to clean your dog’s teeth, even if they eat a diet that primarily consists of dry dog food.
What Could Happen if You Don’t Take Care of Your Dog’s Teeth?
If you do not regularly clean a dog’s teeth, they could develop dental disease. In fact, most dogs that do not receive routine dental care will develop dental disease as they age. Here are some signs of dental disease in dogs.
- Bad Breath
- Bleeding Gums
- Loose or Missing Teeth
- Red and Irritated Looking Gums
- Pus Coming from the Mouth
- Pain While Eating and Playing
- Excessive Sneezing
- Noticable Plaque or Tartar Buildup
If you suspect that your dog may have dental disease, then speaking with your vet can help. This is because a vet can officially diagnose your pet and provide you with treatment options.
Pet dental health care has come such a long way in the past 20 years. We now know so much more about dental health and the overwhelming benefits of regular dental health care. Dogs and cats will hide discomfort and will tolerate more than we can imagine. It is up to us to stay ahead of this so our pets don’t need to tolerate or endure. With the right routines, we can help our pets thrive in ways we never used to fully consider.
If your dog is in need of a dental cleaning in the Boulder, CO region, then Boulder Veterinary Hospital is here to help! Our expert veterinarians can examine your dog’s teeth as a part of a typical wellness exam, but we can also go more in-depth with x-rays and other dental equipment. Our animal hospital performs a number of dental procedures to keep your dog’s teeth shiny and clean. Give us a call today at (303) 442-6262, or Request an Appointment online.