We are constantly reminded how important oral hygiene is for our dogs but I have had so many problems over the years trying to keep my dog’s teeth free of tartar and plaque.
Vets tell us to brush our dog’s teeth every day
I always start to brush my puppies teeth at an early age using special doggy toothpaste and a finger tooth cleaner like this one.
There are loads of kinds of toothpaste designed for dogs ranging from poultry and beef flavours to chicken and mint. These are great if you have a well-behaved dog but can turn out frustrating (and messy) with the more excitable pups.
Never use human toothpaste, it contains fluoride which is poisonous to dogs
My dog Alfie was good at having his teeth brushed but only because he liked the taste of the toothpaste and would literally suck it off the finger toothbrush and swallow it as I was trying to use it.
Holly is a chihuahua mix and has a tiny mouth so brushing was almost impossible and she didn’t like the taste of any toothpaste I tried.
Darcy?.., well it would take a much braver person than me to try to get a toothbrush inside his mouth.
I tried Plaque Off, which is added to their food but found it works amazingly for some dogs, but not others.
Chew toys designed to clean teeth are great if your dog is into toys but not all dogs are, and more senior dogs lose interest in this type of toy when they get older.
Over the years I have spent a fortune on Dentastix which can be given as a daily treat. Darcy loves his Dentastix so much that it hardly touches the sides of his mouth, never mind his teeth.
If your dog likes to munch on a piece of carrot or apple, this can be a great natural way to clean their teeth, and nutritious too. However, I have known dogs turn up their noses and walk away in disgust when offered a nice juicy piece of carrot!
I always put a little coconut oil in my dog’s food. There are lots of advantages to coconut oil (read here) and oral hygiene is high up on the list. Dogs seem to like the taste and again it is a natural product.
Which brings me on to these Sea Jerky Cubes which are low calorie, natural and really good at removing plaque and tartar from a dogs mouth.
These cubes have a very rough texture, cleaning as the dog chews and the (very) fishy smell gets my dogs excited as soon as they hear the treat box being opened.
The cubes are made from 100% fish skins, again a natural product and unlike some dog chew treats they are low in calorie.
The thing that is most appealing to dogs (the fishy smell) is somewhat unappealing to us humans so a good airtight container is highly recommended and try to avoid the postman if you order online because the packaging doesn’t hide the smell!
Even Holly with her tiny mouth, aversion to carrots, and missing teeth loves these little cubes and they are the only thing that helps with her oral hygiene.
At fourteen years old I would not like to risk a dental using anaesthetic, the risk is just too high and the high cost of vet operations make prevention a top priority.
A diet of dry kibble or raw food is advised by veterinarians to keep the teeth and gums healthy.
Look out for these sure signs of dental disease.
Swollen, red or bleeding gums
Unwillingness to chew.
Missing teeth or infected sockets
A dogs dental hygiene is of the utmost importance to the dog’s general health. The toxins from peridental disease are absorbed into the dog’s bloodstream. The liver, kidneys, and brain filter the blood. Infections can lead to fatal organ damage.
Here is a quote by Dr Bellows, Specialist in Veterinary Dentistry
“When a client asks me how long their puppy will live, I usually respond 15-17 years if you brush their teeth daily … 11-13 years if you don’t.”