Although it’s often overlooked, canine dental care can be extremely vital to your dog’s overall health and wellbeing. Taking care of your pup’s teeth is the first step to preventing many dangerous diseases like canine periodontal disease.
Left untreated, bad doggy dental hygiene will lead to tooth loss, painful abscesses and infections throughout your dog’s body. Canine periodontal disease can also damage your dog’s nervous system, kidneys, heart and liver!
Whatever the reason, your pup’s oral hygiene should be maintained - and can easily be maintained by forming good oral hygiene habits. Let’s take a look at how you can help your pup’s teeth stay clean and healthy!
1. Know the Symptoms
In order to maintain good dental health for your pup, you’ll need to figure out what good dental health actually looks like. Thankfully, there are plenty of pretty obvious signs that can help indicate when your pup needs better dental care.
First, bad breath is the most common sign of oral disease. Of course, your pup’s breath will naturally smell a little bad. But if your pup’s breath smells overwhelmingly bad, even more so than usual, make sure to start brushing your pup’s teeth!
Other than bad breath, other common signs of dental disease and poor doggy dental hygiene in general include:
- Major plaque buildup on teeth
- Difficulty eating
- Drooling too much
- Pawing at teeth or mouth
- Discharge from the nose
- Swelling under the eyes
- Tooth discoloration
- Loose or missing teeth
- Red, swollen or bleeding gums
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
If your pup’s symptoms are severe, bring them to a vet for further consultation.
2. Brush your Dog’s Teeth Regularly
Just like us humans, brushing your pup’s teeth is the foremost line of defense against plaque buildup. The more often you brush your dog’s teeth, the better! Some experts recommend daily brushing, but you can also use dog tooth wipes like Artero’s Teeth Wipes to supplement your dog’s dental care routine.
Not many dogs enjoy brushing their teeth so it might take some training to get them used to it. Here are some steps you can take to get your dog started with brushing their teeth:
- Choose a time when your pup is calm
Buy a dog toothbrush and toothpaste. We recommend a set like TropiClean’s Fresh Breath Oral Care Kit.
- Select a spot with good lighting, and where your pup is comfortable
- Touch your dog’s teeth and gums without the brush by lifting their top and bottom lips gently. This helps get your dog used to having their mouth handled
- Touch your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush. Praise and reward your dog for tolerating this step
- Introduce toothpaste to your dog and allow them to lick some from your finger
- Add toothpaste to toothbrush
- Start brushing from the front teeth to back teeth, and make sure to get their top and bottom teeth
Once they’re done, make sure to shower them with plenty of praise and rewards! This helps making tooth brushing a fun and more enjoyable process for you and your pup.
3. Chew Toys, Treats and Chews to the Rescue!
To further supplement your dog’s dental hygiene routine, chew toys and dental chews like Greenies’ Dental Dog Chews are a great tool to have. Many of these are built specifically to help remove plaque buildup, helping you reach parts of your pup’s teeth that are difficult to clean with a toothbrush.
Chew Treats also generally help to freshen your dog’s breath, making cuddling your pup much more enjoyable for you! NaturVet also makes very helpful dog supplements like their VitaPet Daily Vitamins Plus Breath Aid Dog Supplements.
These products help ensure your dog has a well rounded dental routine and can be very useful for preventing dental disease.
4. Get a Good Diet
Other than regular cleaning, your dog also stands to gain a lot from a healthy diet.
While some people claim dry kibble can help clean your dog’s teeth - in reality, it doesn’t help as much as you might think. In fact, many dry dog food options contain lots of sugars and simple carbohydrates that can actually lead to further build up of oral bacteria.
To avoid it, choose dog diets that don’t contain additives, sugar or simple carbohydrates. Fresher diets are often a better choice as they contain more vitamins and nutrients. For instance, look out for fatty acids like omega-3 or antioxidants like Vitamin E and C as these nutrients help reduce gum disease!
Adding a bit of Tropiclean’s Fresh Breath - No Brushing Water Additive to your dog’s drinking water can also help keep your pup’s breath fresh and their teeth clean!
5. Professional Cleaning
Regardless of how much you try to clean your dog’s teeth, getting professional help once in a while can really help to maintain your dog’s dental health. Plus, these doggy dental experts will be able to assess your dog’s dental health and advise you on how you can help maintain your pup’s teeth!
Your dog’s dental hygiene is really important in keeping them happy and healthy. Make sure to keep an eye on your dog’s teeth and gums. If you notice any dental problems persisting or worsening despite regular dental care routines, make sure to bring your pup to a vet as it might be a sign of other health issues!
Tammi writes articles about anything from data analytics to animal health, and loves doing the occasional craft. But most importantly, she loves hanging out and doing photo-shoots with her dog.