Fresh breath, clean teeth – what every dog owner wants for their canine companion. Jennifer Marshall from Central Park Paws offers advice on caring for your furry friend and their teeth…
Anyone who is lucky enough to have a dog as part of their family knows there’s one thing we all love and loathe at the same times – kisses. Those sloppy wet kisses make us feel loved in a way like no other can, but bad breath makes us want to send Fido out to the doghouse.
Like humans, our furry friends are susceptible to bad breath and other oral health issues ranging from plaque to cavities – and eventually gum disease. If your dog’s choppers are relatively clean, then a yearly professional cleaning should suffice. In between trips to your vet you should keep on top of a daily routine at home to maintain those pearly whites and prevent bad breath.
- Chew Toys: Various soft or hard rubber chew toys can be helpful with oral hygiene. They are able to scrape plaque and particulate from their teeth as well as stimulating the gums while providing hours of entertainment. Keeping the chew toys clean, as well as removing damaged toys, is a simple and effective approach to oral care.
2. Dental Treats: There is an abundant offering of these daily treats that are supposed to remove plaque and break down tartar. The hard crunchiness scrapes the surface plaque – but lower quality treats have the potential to leave residue that can start the whole cycle over again.
3. Apples and Carrots: Most dogs love apples and carrots. And just as we encourage our kids to eat these as healthy snacks to stay fit and keep their teeth clean. The same applies to our four-legged kids. Get your dog on a nightly snack routine of a handful of baby carrots or apple slices for a convenient and economical option to keep their teeth clean and breath fresh – and add an extra helping of vitamins to their diet.
4. Brushing: The best way to remove plaque is with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Brushes are available that are just like yours, or small contraptions that fit over your finger. Either one incorporates the use of a special toothpaste designed for use in dogs only. You should never use human toothpaste for your dogs – or vice versa.
5. Antibacterial Sprays: Bacteria interacting with food particles and saliva produce the plaque, which starts the ball rolling for periodontal disease. The antibacterial sprays available from your vet or favorite pet store are effective if used properly. They should be used in the evening after the last meal or treats for best results.
6. Rope ‘n Gel: One of the easier forms of dental care is a kit that includes gel and a braided rope chew. Squeezing some gel onto the rope, as your dog chews the fibers act like a brush and the activated gel helps breakdown and remove build-up over time. Alternately, just squeeze some canine toothpaste on the rope for the same effect! For more vigorous cleaning, play tug-of-war with your dog at the same time. Please note: These are increasing in popularity in North America and Europe. If they are not available at your local pet store, try your favorite online store.
7. Wipes: Wipes are just what you’d imagine them to be; squares that are impregnated with cleaner you wipe your dog’s teeth with to remove food particulate and break down tartar. They are pretty easy and effective if your dog will not allow you to brush. For dogs like mine that don’t like the store flavor, simply get some 4”x4” gauze pads, and dip them into beef or chicken broth and wipe. Try not to let your dog eat the wipes.
8. Appropriate Treats: Dog treats are specifically formulated for, you guessed it – your dog. In addition to being balanced between yummy and healthy.
9. Water Additives: The newest in canine oral care are the water drops. These are added to your dog’s water bowl at every change and fill. The jury is still out on the effectiveness against plaque and tartar but they definitely aid in controlling the hell hound breath. Please note: These are increasing in popularity in North America and Europe. If they are not available at your local pet store, try your favorite online store.
10. Table Scraps: Ever have your spouse come home from work reeking of garlic? It might have been just a couple garlic knots with lunch, but the odor lingers. It’s the same for our pets; all the human foods we find so irresistible lead to the same bad breath with our furbabies. To help eliminate this route of bad breath – eliminate the excess table scraps!
Maintaining your canine’s oral health is an important part of his overall well-being. With just a few small adjustments you can ensure your canine has the healthiest canines in the dog park.
Jennifer Marshall is a dog mom, baking enthusiast, and writer for Central Park Paws, a pet site offering advice on training and caring for your furry friend. Make sure you’re prepared for flea season by checking out her latest post on the best flea prevention treatments for dogs.