Do you remember that tiny, perhaps 4-month-old puppy with sparkling white teeth? They couldn’t be cleaner! Unfortunately, as they age, our dog’s teeth usually don’t stay that way.
Plaque: Soft, sticky substance, containing countless bacteria, that builds upon the teeth.
Tartar: Solid deposits that trap stains on teeth; almost impossible to remove without dental care.
Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
You can actually find specially made ‘pet brushes’ for your pup at almost any pet store! At first, your dog isn’t going to understand or enjoy your hands around his mouth, but take a look at this neat training principle called Counter-conditioning.
Feeding your dog treats while trying to brush his teeth may seem counterproductive, but you can use enthusiastic praise, implement short sessions with breaks, and play! Your goal is to teach your pet that by sitting still and allowing you to brush, he is rewarded; the reward more valuable than the discomfort of having his teeth brushed.
Be Choosy About Toothpaste!
You want to be sure to use a dog-approved toothpaste purchased from a pet store or recommended by your vet. Human toothpaste contains fluoride, which can cause a bunch of different health issues and we don’t want our dogs to lick or swallow. That’s exactly what they would do since they can’t exactly spit any of it out.
Give Your Dog a (Safe) Bone!
Believe it or not, the simple, mechanical act of chewing can help break up plaque before it’s able to harden into tartar! Chewing bones is already a natural, instinctual act. All you have to do is provide the right kind of incentive, and watch him go.
Hard, thick rubber toys, like Kongs or toys with ridges, are also both great for your pup to chew on!
There are several tasty treat-type-chews on the market these days, designed to enhance your dog’s oral hygiene. For example, this limited ingredient dental chew, designed by Nylabone, gives off a flavor dogs love while offering ridges to help break up that plaque.
Wet Food vs. Dry
Nutritional benefits of wet vs. dry dog food aside, wed dog food tends to cause a film to build up, and is more likely to stick to your pup’s teeth. Whereas chewing dry dog food doesn’t really give the mechanical benefits of chewing on a bone, it probably won’t leave as much of a sticky residue.
- Don’t offer Poultry, cooked, or hollow bones that might splinter!
Too Much Human Food?
We always want to treat our little ones with all the numerous tasty treats we can offer, but human meals weren’t designed to nourish a dog. They often contain more carbohydrates than you should be offering, in addition to the carbohydrates already found in their foods- potentially contributing to excess weight gain. Human food can also offer more sodium than you want.
Ask the Vet!
Not only will many veterinarians actually perform a comprehensive dental cleaning upon request, but they will also be able to thoroughly answer any ‘Canine’ dental related questions you might have! For some dogs, cleaning under anesthesia is the only way they will ever allow a human to play around with their mouths.
Holiday Ideas! Going to a friend or family member’s house for thanksgiving that has a dog? Bring a special dog treat just for the family dog! Other Gift ideas for your canine friends during the Holidays: Doggy toothpaste, toothbrushes, toys and treats that are specific to dental care!