Just like we do, dogs and cats have hygiene needs that extend to their oral health. It’s important to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy so that they are comfortable – plus, getting dental work on a pet can be expensive. So keeping up with toothbrushing will save you money and keep your dog from pain in the long term. While dental health is sometimes overlooked, we have provided helpful tips to help keep your pet’s dental health in optimal shape.
Dental Health Tips For Pets
1. Brush Your Pet’s Teeth Regularly with a Pet Toothbrush + Toothpaste
There are many types of pet toothbrushes that will make cleaning your pet’s teeth easier for you and your dog or cat, including finger toothbrushes and long toothbrushes with pet-safe bristles. Using pet toothpaste is not only necessary for your pet’s safety, but it can make toothbrushing more enjoyable for them. Pet toothpaste is made with pet-safe ingredients and oftentimes comes in tasty flavors like chicken that pets enjoy.
You should aim to brush your pet’s teeth at least twice a week, but more is always better. However, if your dog behaves poorly during toothbrushing and you feel you may be bitten, opt for a different option or try a calming supplement.
2. Use a Dog Dental Treat or Dental Toy
If brushing is more difficult for you or you are pressed for time some weeks, opt for an occasional dental toy or a dental treat. Dental toys are designed with grooves and textures that can help clean your pet’s teeth while they chew. Dental treats and chews are also yummy options that can help remove plaque and tartar buildup on your dog’s teeth.
Chewing habits in pets vary tremendously. Some dogs, especially when they are young chew for several hours a day. Some older dogs do not like chewing at all, possibly even due to tooth pain. If your pet is not a big chewer then will most likely need dental cleanings more often.
3. Take Your Dog in For Regular Cleanings
No matter how much you brush your teeth, you probably go in for a regular cleaning by a dentist at least once a year. Pets are the same way and can benefit from a cleaning by a veterinarian. However, be aware that pets will need to go under anesthesia. This may not be the best option for some pets with certain health issues or senior dogs, so consult your vet on the best option.
4. Add a Dental Supplement To Your Pet’s Water or Food
There are several brands out there that offer dental supplements that can be added to your dog or cat’s water or food to support healthy bacteria in your pet’s mouth. Often, these are in powder form and are an easy option for supporting your pet’s health during busy weeks. These should still be supplemented with regular cleanings.
We recommend Healthy Mouth; this can be purchased at www.healthymouth.com.
When added daily to pets’ drinking water or applied to teeth and gums with the topical gel applicator, the formula safely cleans teeth and gums, reducing plaque, oral bacteria that causes inflammation leading to dental disease and inhibiting the bacteria and germs that are the source of halitosis. Clinical trials and field use have also revealed that plaque and bacterial reduction continue to improve the longer the product is used, and that any remaining plaque is significantly softened, making the use of tooth brushing, dental diets, and chew bones even more effective for small animals.
5. Support Your Pet’s Overall Health
When you support your pet’s overall health and wellness, their oral health will also be improved. You can support your dog’s health with regular exercise, healthy foods and ingredients, and supplements such as CBD for general wellness. While some use CBD for supporting joint health and calmness during stressful situations, CBD can also be given as a daily supplement for healthy dogs for general wellness.
Can Kibble Clean My Dog’s Teeth?
Oftentimes pet owners say they offer their cats or dogs dry kibble food because it is thought to clean their teeth. A follow-up question is this: after your dinner, try eating a biscotti (because they are a very hard food) and then don’t brush your teeth afterward. Does it clean your teeth? What happens is the carbohydrates from the hard food will attract bacteria and tartar gets worse. If you did not brush your teeth every night for a week, they would feel quite ‘fuzzy’! Neither kibble nor biscotti is really hard enough to create a scraping action on the tooth surface, plus they are both too dry. Most dry kibble is incredibly low in moisture therefore it decreases the ability of saliva to flush bacteria down to the stomach.
Small Pet Teeth vs Large Pet Teeth
Oddly enough, we have found that small dogs appear to have softer enamel than big dogs. This exacerbates the tartar and plaque build-up and they often need more cleanings per year than their bigger buddies. Another unfortunate issue with smaller dogs is they seem to have more heart murmurs and cardiac disease. Research has shown that in humans and dogs, certain bacteria in the mouth have an affinity for heart valves. This is called endocarditis and will worsen cardiac function and decrease the quality of their lives.
Homemade Dog Toothpaste Recipe
- Coconut Oil: 1/4 Cup
- Baking Soda: 3 Tablespoons
- Fine Sea Salt (NOT table salt): 1/2 Teaspoon
- Cinnamon: 1/2 Teaspoon
- Optional Taste: 6 sprigs of Parsley and/or 5 or 6 mint leaves (if adding mint leaves, you will need to use a food processor.)
- Optional Taste: choose from 1/2 teaspoon of either:
- Beef Broth or Chicken Broth
- Adding Optional Fresh Herbs: Simply combine the ingredients together and let sit for an hour or so to form. If adding mint leaves or parsley (or both), you will need to use a food processor to really break down the leaves. Your toothpaste will turn a beautiful green so no need to panic.
The Importance of Pet Dental Health
Your pet’s teeth are so important to their overall health. If you are concerned about the technique or the recovery process, please speak with your veterinarian about the dental prophylactic procedure. Pet Releaf CBD for dogs and cats are a great way to help your pet feel relaxed for their day at the veterinary hospital.