Vets recommend that we brush our dogs’ teeth daily to prevent food and bacteria from building up, which can lead to plaque, gum irritation, and infections. For most of us, this never happens. So what else can we do to keep their teeth clean?
Feed good food – Of course!
Feeding your dog our natural raw diet helps your dog in many ways, including keeping his teeth healthier. Quality food will nourish his body, which also means teeth will be stronger. Always, look for a food made from meats, vegetables, and fruits, and avoid foods made with by-products, meals, and cereal grains as they are more apt to stick to your dog’s teeth.
Offer vegetables and fruit for treats
Dogs love treats. But many treats are horrible for your dog’s teeth; especially those that contain sugar, fats, and cereal grains. However, carrots, apples, or a piece of squash or pumpkin are good treats that most dogs enjoy, and they won’t stick to your dog’s teeth. Plus, although these foods won’t cause established plaque to disappear, as your dog chews them they will scrape food off their teeth.
Our air-dried treats are good treats
We have a wide variety of air-dried treats available that provide excellent chewing action that will help keep the teeth clean. Kelp Kisses, Coconut Crunch, So-Fish-ticated Sticks, Live-a-Littles and Love Hearts are eagerly accepted by most dogs, even those who are finicky about their treats.
Toys can help>
If your dog will chew on hard toys, these are excellent for scraping and cleaning teeth. Offer the toy after each meal and encourage your dog to play with it for a while.
Raw bones can scrape teeth clean
Raw bones will clean off teeth, too. The best bones are uncooked and large, preferably a beef marrow bone. A small bone (or a cooked one) will break or splinter, may get stuck in your dog’s mouth, or your dog may try to swallow it whole. Always supervise your dog when he’s chewing on a bone to make sure he doesn’t break off pieces of the bone.
Avoid artificial bones
Commercial chews or bones made from starches (usually potato, corn, or rice flours) tend to be more sticky. When your dog’s teeth scrapes up against these, it has the opposite effect as chewing on a raw bone.
Cleaning their teeth
Use a piece of gauze wrapped around your index finger, get it wet, and then dab it in some baking soda or dog toothpaste. Gently rub it on your dog’s teeth. Don’t try to do the entire mouth at first; even a quarter of the mouth at a time is great. Just each time you do it, rotate around his mouth. With practice your dog will become more accepting and you’ll be able to clean his entire mouth in just a few minutes.
Sometimes, even with all your best efforts, dental problems can occur. The first sign may be an offensive odour from his mouth. If a quick sniff of his mouth causes you to grimace, then take a look at his teeth and gums. Ideally, your dog’s teeth should be clean and white and the gums pink. If there is a brown build up on his teeth and his gums are white or red; make a vet appointment. A red line on the gums at the base of the teeth shows an irritation is beginning. Other signs of dental disease include drooling, a lack of appetite, difficulty eating, or loose teeth. Take your dog to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms.