Dental health has a major impact on a dog’s over all physical well-being and poor oral condition can lead to many different kinds of medical conditions and diseases. With veterinarians pushing their dental chews, dental kibble and expensive surgical dental cleanings, it is hard for pet owners to decipher the best way to promote oral health in their pets.
Good oral health will help your dog live longer, and will make it more pleasant to receive their loving doggy kisses! There are several steps you can take to maintain good dental health with your dog and there are many all natural options for cleaning!
Diet is a major contributor to dental health in dogs. Feeding your dog a species appropriate raw food diet is the very best option for creating good dental health. Dogs who are fed raw food have visibly whiter, cleaner teeth and fresher breath. The reason is that the dog’s teeth are being manually cleaned by the act of chewing and crushing bone. The action of chewing scrapes the teeth and stimulates the gums. On top of that, raw food doesn’t leave any ‘left-over’ food in the mouth the way kibble does. Due to the texture and composition of commercial kibbles, the kibble crumbles and sticks to the teeth and all of the areas in between. Many chemicals and oils in the kibble will help the food particles bind to the teeth and promote the build-up of tartar which inevitably leads to oral disease.
“Dental kibble” formulas provided by your veterinarian will not help clean your dog’s teeth. Regardless of the marketing behind these expensive vet formulas, kibble will still crumble and turn to mush in your dog’s mouth. That mush becomes the debris that clings to your pet’s teeth and turns into tartar and plaque. Think about when you eat crackers and you feel mushy left overs sticking to all your teeth; The same thing is happening with kibble plus the added issue of the oils that make it even more sticky.
Giving your dog things to chew on is the best way to start cleaning the teeth and keep them clean! Consider healthy chews like bully sticks, beef tendons, dried knuckle bones, raw knuckle bones and elk antlers. When a dog chews and gnaws on these items, they scrape the teeth clean and assist in breaking up any residue to be swallowed instead of hanging around in the mouth.
There are many toys that act as great chews to promote oral health by also cleaning the teeth. I really like Nylabone products for the added benefit of the flavour infused in the material, which encourages dogs to chew on them. Nylabone breaks off in tiny shavings making it safe to pass through the digestive system without causing any issues. Flossy chews are rope toys that also help clean the teeth as the dog chews and plays with them.
Brushing your dog’s teeth is the next best option. All you need is a soft toothbrush or a finger brush designed for pets and some sort of toothpaste. It is important to never use human toothpaste, as there are ingredients in those products that can make your dog very ill. The Triple Pet EZDOG Toothpaste is the most popular one due to being more of an all natural product. I personally like to use extra virgin, unrefined coconut oil as a toothpaste because of all the amazing benefits of this oil. Learn more about the benefits of coconut oil here!
If your dog’s teeth are in exceptionally bad condition, there are several all natural products you can incorporate with the above suggestions to avoid needing expensive dental cleanings with your veterinarian. In my years of working in a pet health food store, there are a couple of products I have personally seen work wonders for many pet owners. One of those products is called PetzLife Oral Care Gel, which you can purchase on Amazon.com or find in most pet stores. You apply a pea sized amount to your finger and rub the gel on your dog’s teeth. Your dog’s saliva will help distribute the gel throughout the mouth as he or she licks. This gel will help break down built up tartar and plaque and reduce staining, but you need to use this in conjunction with a toothbrush or things to chew on to help scrape the loosened debris off the teeth. Another product I have seen work very well is the Tropiclean Fresh Breath Additive, which when added to your pet’s water bowl again helps to loosen tartar build up and freshen your dog’s breath. Out of all of the products on the market, those two are the ones I have seen the most success with.
If your dog is suffering from poor oral health try these NATURAL, non-invasive do-it-yourself methods before you turn to expensive veterinarian cleanings – avoid the anesthetic, the cost and the drugs by cleaning your dog’s teeth the safely and naturally.