If you're like many dog owners, you probably take care to make sure that what goes into your dog's mouth is good for him. Food, toys, treats...you want the best for your dog, but have you ever stopped to think about what's already in your dog's mouth? That's right, your dog's teeth! Many pet parents don't spend much time thinking about their dog's teeth, but just like for humans, having good dental hygiene is important for your dog's overall health. After all, they don't make doggie dentures, so it's important that you do your best to help your dog keep the teeth he has.
Brush Your Dog's Teeth
This might seem like an obvious way to keep your dog's teeth clean, but the reality is that a lot of owners could be brushing their dog's teeth more often. Regularly brushing your dog's teeth will help to prevent plaque and tartar build up that can cause some more serious problems in the long run, so starting a routine is important. You can find toothbrushes specifically made for dogs, and make sure that you choose a toothpaste made for dogs. These often come in flavors that your dog will love, like chicken or peanutbutter. And if your dog really isn't taking to having a toothbrush in his mouth, you can find teeth wipes that may be easier to use with your dog. It's best to start brushing your dog's teeth when he's young so he gets used to the process, but if you have an older dog, you can still start a toothbrushing routine. Slowly get your dog comfortable with having his teeth touched, and then introduce him to the toothbrush and toothpaste. Your dog will be a pro in no time! And unlike with humans, you don't have to brush your dog's teeth twice a day to keep them in good condition. Obviously the more often you can brush your dog's teeth the better, but even brushing once a week can be beneficial for your dog.
Schedule Professional Cleanings
Making a yearly appointment to get your dog's teeth professionally cleaned at the vet is a good idea. Even with the best brushing habits, it's good to have a trained professional using special tools to really make sure that there is no tartar or plaque build-up. They are skilled in identifying and treating any dental problems that you might be missing. Ask your vet for advice on how often your dog should be getting his teeth professionally cleaned—older dogs and small breed dogs may need to go more often.
Dental Chew Toys
If you're looking for a long-lasting solution that your dog will probably enjoy more than a toothbrush, you might want to look into a dental chew toy. There are a ton of unique toys available these days that are designed to clean your dog's teeth with their texture, and you won't even have to convince your dog to chew it! Many dogs will love these toys simply because they satisfy your dog's natural need to chew, and as a bonus he'll be getting his teeth cleaned, too!
Treats, Bones, & Antlers
Along with toys, you'll also find a lot of treats that are advertised to help your dog keep his mouth clean and healthy. Dental treats are a great option to add to your dog's rotation of treats, and your dog will be so excited that he's getting a treat that he won't even realize it's cleaning his teeth, so it's a win-win! Inf your dog is a heavy chewer or you want to keep him occupied for a longer period of time, you can think about giving him bones or antlers. When your dog chews on these, his teeth and gums get a good massage that will remove plaque build-up. Another option that may be tastier to your dog is a bully stick. These have the irresistable flavor of a treat but the long-lasting quality of a bone, and because they are tougher, your dog will get a good teeth cleaning while chewing on them.
Mouth Sprays or Water Enhancers
Keeping your dog's mouth healthy can be as simple as adding a few drops of water enhancer to his bowl. These days, you can find water additives with ingredients that can help to prevent tartar build-up on your dog's teeth. You can even find ones that will freshen your dog's breath, with you'll definitely love! Mouth sprays are another great option to freshen your dog's mouth, espeically if you're finding it hard to use a toothbrush or teeth wipes.
Follow these pointers and your dog's pearly whites will be picture perfect in no time!