With time, treats and food, your dog’s teeth with build up plaque and tartar, which can not only lead to bad breath, but periodontal disease. This can cause pain, tooth loss and infections which affect the heart, liver and kidneys.
We all want a long and happy life for our four-legged loved ones, so we’ve compiled some tips for helping keep your dog’s mouth clean.
Brush their teeth - Daily brushing is ideal, but if that won’t work, shoot for 3 - 4 times a week. Try to brush after walking and feeding, when your pup is most relaxed. Use a dog friendly toothpaste, one that can be ingested and tastes good. Introduce them to it by allowing them to smell and taste it. Apply the toothpaste with your finger, gently to their gums, allowing them to get used to the feeling, rubbing along the gumline. It’s okay to only do a few teeth at a time, to help your pup get used to the concept. Only do as much as their patience dictates and try to increase daily. Speak soothingly and reward your pet to positively reinforce the experience. As your dog gets used to the experience of cleaning, you can introduce the toothbrush in a similar fashion (an angled toothbrush is recommended): apply toothpaste, let your dog lick it, apply more to a tooth or two and gradually increase, as your dog allows, over time.
For some people and various reasons, brushing your dog’s teeth is just not an option. While the following tips won’t replace the benefits of brushing your dog's teeth, they provide some benefits as well.
Feed them dry food - Dry, crunchy kibble is less likely to stick to your dog’s teeth and cause decay, compared to wet food.
Give them dental treats - Specially formulated treats can help reduce plaque buildup.
Give them chew toys and bones designed for cleaning teeth - These days, there are plenty of choices with synthetic bones and chew toys. Rough, bumpy surfaces, are specially designed for your dog’s teeth and gums. Just make sure they are big enough not to be a choking hazard and soft enough, to avoid broken or chipped teeth.
Visit your veterinarian - Regular check ups are still a necessity. Plan to visit your veterinarian to have them look at your dog’s teeth at least once a year.
** This important blog post was written by our Lead Trainer: Mark Dunlap