Dog’s Dental Health, How Important is it?
We are constantly reminded how important dog’s dental health is. However, 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 dental health, ranging from poultry and beef flavours to chicken and mint. However, these are great if you have a well-behaved dog, but can turn out frustrating with 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! He 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, consequently 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. Interestingly I found it works amazingly for some dogs, however for others not so effective.
Chew toys designed to clean teeth are great if your dog is into toys but not all dogs are. In addition to this 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 improve a dog’s dental health. 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. As a matter of fact, 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.
These Sea Jerky Cubes are low calorie, natural and really good at removing plaque and tartar from a dogs mouth too.
The cubes have a very rough texture, cleaning as the dog chews. The (very) fishy smell gets my dogs excited as soon as they hear the treat box being opened.
Sea Jerky Dental Health Chews, Product Review
The cubes are made from 100% fish skins, therefore a natural product. Also, unlike some dog chew treats they are low in calories too.
The thing that is most appealing to dogs (the fishy smell) is somewhat unappealing to us humans. Therefore a good quality airtight container is highly recommended. Also, 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 love these little cubes. She happily sits chewing away so I always have them to hand. Darcy also loves them too. In fact, I have never met a dog that didn’t! If you give your dog regular treats anyway, by changing to sea jerky you could vastly improve your dog’s dental health. Also, the cubes contain Omega 3 which is great for overall health.
At fourteen years old I would not like to risk a dental using anesthetic. In addition, the high cost of vet operations makes prevention a top priority.
A diet of dry kibble or raw food is advised by veterinarians to keep the teeth clean and the gums healthy too.
Signs that your dog’s dental health may need improving
Missing teeth or infected sockets
Swollen, red or bleeding gums
Unwillingness to chew.
A dog’s dental health 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, therefore 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.”