Yikes!! Clean my dogs teeth? You're joking! How the heck do I do that?
A jar of honey or a bottle of vinegar
Brushing your dog's teeth is an important part of his overall care; and keeping his teeth clean and breath fresh are excellent reasons to brush his teeth on a regular basis. Not only do clean teeth boost the health and happiness of your pet it can increase his life span by up to five (5) years.
Believe you me, the hardest time is the first time but even when your dog lets you know it doesn't like having its teeth cleaned, it is simply a matter of finding the right process and sticking to it.
My Grandmother always said to me, "never forget there is always bribery and corruption", meaning a jar of honey will get you further than a bottle of vinegar. This is actually true whatever you are doing with your dog, but particularly when you are doing something as important as his or her teeth.
I always break off three or four small pieces of Green Chews treats (each only the size of a match head and Poppie absolutely loves them) – right in front of her field of vision – so she knows what she is in for if she plays ball.
Poppie is a Chihuahua and Shih Tzu cross weighing in at 2.5 kilos, so depending on the size of you dog, increase the size of your treats on offer accordingly.
Then I do the job very quickly, usually in less than 30 seconds and let Poppie loose on her treat. It works every time! Easy peasy!
How to keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy
"How to clean my dog's teeth?" is a question I am frequently asked and the answer is quite simple and only takes a minute or two to include as part of your dog's daily dental care routine.
The four most effective ways of keeping your dog's teeth free of plaque and calculus (tartar) are finishing their meals with one of the following methods unless the manufacturer's adce states otherwise:
- Plaque and calculus (tartar) Sprays
- Soft raw bones, e.g. chicken necks, small brisket bones (never give weight bearing bones to your pet, because they can crack or shatter their teeth and the only answer is to this problem is a general anaesthetic and extractions.
- Hide chews or toys, such as Pig's ears which have originated in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia or New Zealand. Never use chews made from Rawhide. These are made mainly in China and Thailand and are processed using chemicals which can be deadly for dog
- Dental Chews, Dental Sticks and Dental Bones
How to clean your dog's teeth - Brushing
As with your own teeth, "how" you brush and "when" you brush is the key to doing a good job for your dog.
How to brush your dog's teeth
To stop your dog's gums receding and to limit any loss of the structures supporting the teeth in their sockets, it is best if you:
- Brush down and away from the gingival margins of the upper teeth, and
- Up and away from the gingival margins of its lower teeth.
However in the real world of cleaning dogs' teeth you can only do your best and any brushing you do is a bonus and far better for your pet than none at all.
95% of the problem areas are the outside surfaces of the teeth, e.g. the surfaces which are adjacent to your dog's cheeks and lips.
If you can brush your dog's teeth inside its mouth, so much the better, but generally speaking the dog's saliva and tongue will do a pretty good job of keeping food, plaque and calculus from the lingual and palatal surfaces.
When to brush your dog's teeth
Plaque will start forming within 24 hours of the last time you brushed your dog's teeth - much the same as for humans.
So you can see it's a fallacy to think you can feed your dog every day and get away with brushing its teeth a couple of times a week.
It simply wont work, any more than cleaning your own teeth a couple of times a week would work for you.
As with humans, the best time to clean your dog's teeth is immediately after he or she has - be that once, twice or three times a day.
Of course it isn't always convenient to drop everything and start brushing your dog's teeth.
When this situation occurs, the best solution here, is to follow your dog's meal with something which will get its saliva flowing, e.g. a pig's ear or a raw chicken's neck.
Like children, dogs respond to "routine" so try and feed your dog around the same time each day.
Plaque, tartar and Sprays
Whilst some dogs easily adjust to having their teeth brushed others don't. If you have a dog that adamantly rejects the sight of a toothbrush, not all is lost, because there are various natural remedies, e.g. Drops, Sprays and Dental Chews on the market which are excellent alternatives to brushing.
- Ongoing daily use helps to prevent new build up or formation of plaque, calculus (tartar)
- Healthy gums and teeth equate to healthy dogs
- Saves owners money on expensive dental cleaning procedures and dangers to dogs from undergoing general anesthesia
- It's safe for dogs of all ages
Your dog's diet is the most important part of its home dental care and is the key to answering "how to clean my dog's teeth". Many people think that by feeding their pet dry food that it will clean their teeth. It doesn't, nothing could be further from the truth.
Dry foods will only clean the tip and middle parts of your dog's teeth but not up to and beneath the gingival margins, which is where the problems associated with plaque and calculus begin.
We refer you to our page on Your Dog's Diet here you will find a plethora of information about:
- Transitioning to feeding raw meat
- Finishing your dog's meals with juicy raw bones
- The kind of raw bones to buy and how to prepare them
- If your pet wont eat raw bones after meals a selection of Green Chews, Steer Sticks or Pig's Ears for fussy eaters
This article and information forms part of the Carole's Doggie World Holistic Library and is presented for informational purposes only.The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local vet. Instead, the content offers the reader information researched and written by Carole Curtis for www.carolesdoggieworld.com