It’s an unfortunate truth that by the time a puppy becomes an adult about 1 in 3 will have the start of dental problems. You can combat this and help your dog live a life
free from major issues by getting into a good dental cleaning routine. To see if your dog is having problems you can examine their teeth yourself, or visit your vet.
Here are some easy ways that you can check on your dogs dental health:
● The smells test – your dog should not have bad breath; this is a sign of poor oral hygiene. Usually the worse the smell the bigger the problem.
● Look for discolouration – check if your dog has brown staining on their teeth. Large deposits of brown are usually a build-up of tartar.
● Refusal to eat harder foods – the pain associated with infected teeth will cause your dog to start refusing to eat harder kibble types of food and bones.● Excessive drooling – drooling is what your dog does to try and clean out an infection in their mouth. If they’re not actively chewing on something and thedrooling is more than they usually do it could be an indication of a problem.’
● Favouring chewing on one side of their mouth – this may be an indicator that they’re experiencing pain during chewing. For any pain conditions, it should
be checked by a vet as there may be other more serious issues.
It is best to take your dog to a vet for a proper oral check over, especially if you suspect an infection in their mouth. There are several things that we can do to help
your dog keep their teeth cleaned and functioning properly.
Dog Dental Care
In the wild dogs, and wolves will clean their teeth through chewing on bones and other hard objects. This is a type of abrasive cleaning that helps dislodge any food
particles and keeps their teeth free from problems. Due to the way that humans feed their pet dogs (i.e. with dried biscuits, and soft wet foods) they do not get the same
sort of teeth brushing actions unless you’re using a dental-specific food.
You can imitate what a dog would have in the wild by giving them bones to chew on. These bones can either be fresh ones bought at a butcher, or smoked (cooked) ones usually bought from your local pet supplies store. You can also feed your dog specially designed dental treats. These are mostly made of a fibrous material that doesnt break apart easily. Essentially when the dogs bite down on the treat their teeth are brushed due to the internal makeup of the dental treat. As it takes time for the treat to break up, this brushing action is repeated. For best results, you need to
give your dog at least one of these treats per day.
Dog Dental Care Toys
Suitable dental dog toys are another great way to keep your dog’s teeth looking their best. Any dog toy that needs to be chewed will aid in some way with keeping
your puppy healthy. Try not to give your dog regular tennis balls as a toy, as the fluff is too abrasive and can actually wear their teeth down, which is the opposite of
what you’re trying to do!
Many dental-specific toys will have a minty fresh smell, this can help dogs who have a slight bad breath problem. Rope toys, in general, are great for dogs’ teeth, as they
mimic a similar action to dental treats. A dog can bite into a rope toy and the thin fibres will separate and help scrape away any soft food particles. It may not do much
against harder tartar deposits, but cleaning out any minor problems will stop them from becoming bigger problems in the future.
You can also find many toys that act similar to a natural bone. Often these are bone-shaped and can be chewed and safely swallowed. However, when these become
too small, they should be removed and replaced with a new one. These toys are often more durable than bones and can last many days. They will also create less of
a mess, so you won’t end up having a house filled with tiny meat particles.
Inexpensive Dental Care for Dogs
If your dog has a severe dental problem then the costs of cleaning at a vet can be substantial, and even if you have pet insurance this can still put a strain on your
wallet. If your pet has a dental problem getting it fixed and then starting new habits is the best way forward. Your vet will assess your dog and provide you with some
options – certainly getting a completely clean and then starting a new routine so you don’t need to go through the process all over again is best.
The easiest and cheapest method for dental health is through water additives. You can add these to your pet’s water bowl, and they will keep their breath smelling
great; some brands will even help break down any hard tartar deposits. You can also switch your pet’s food to an oral care brand. Most major pet food companies will offer a dental option. These are usually larger in size when compared to standard kibble and contain additives that will help keep their teeth nice and clean.
How to Clean Dogs Teeth?
If your dog is okay with you touching their face, you can use dog toothpaste (never people toothpaste!) and a suitable toothbrush. While it means a little bit of work, you
can brush your dogs teeth to help keep them clean. If you’ve never done it before, only brush for a few seconds, and don't use any toothpaste. This will give the dog a chance to get used to this new routine, and over time they’ll be okay with the feel of the brush and the taste of any toothpaste.
Before you attempt to clean your dogs teeth for the first time, make sure they are comfortable and relaxed. Have some treats on hand, so they can be rewarded for
good behaviour. Let them smell the toothbrush so they know its nothing bad, you want to give your dog the best experience with the toothbrush so they associate
having their teeth cleaned as a positive event.
Start by cleaning the sides of their mouth. This is usually the easiest part to clean as you won’t need to open their mouth to gain access. Brush in a linear fashion, up and
down, and then in circles. Open your dogs mouth and repeat for the inside of the teeth. Then brush along the top, making sure you get in the gaps between each
After you have finished brushing, give your dog heaps of praise, and maybe a treat or two, then go outside and do one of their favourite things. This will further
establish in your dog's mind that having patience, being calm and relaxed while their teeth cleaned means that something fun is about to happen. Who knows maybe
they’ll start getting super excited whenever you pick up the brush in the future!