Why Dog Dental Care Is Essential
Looking after your dogs teeth doesn't just stop them from having stinky breath. It contributes to their overall health too. Poor dental health can contribute to diabetes, heart, liver and kidney disease.
Whilst dogs rarely develop cavities, they do lose teeth due to gingivitis and can develop painful abcesses. In smaller dogs it can even lead to a broken jaw.
This excellent article published on PetMD - which is both written and reviewed by vets - provides greater insight into why poor oral hygiene can contribute to other health issues.
What Are The Most Common Dental Problem In Dogs?
The most common dental problems in dogs are periodontal disease (also known as gingivitis or gum disease) and fractures.
Periodontal disease occurs due to a build up of plaque, leading to bacteria and inflammation. It is this build up of plaque which causes so much damage.
Fractures usually occur due to chewing on things which are too hard, such as weight bearing bones, or sticks. Deer antler have also been linked to fractures, and whilst they undoubtedly do have benefits due to the mineral content, we no longer sell them given their link to fractured teeth.
How Can You Prevent Dental Disease?
There are a number of ways to help look after your dogs teeth, and prevent dental disease.
Clean With Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Yes, you really can brush your dogs teeth. You can buy a disposable finger brush - like an old fashioned rubber thimble - and use it with doggie toothpaste to clean your dogs teeth.
They are available in packs of 50 at around $12
If your dog will let you use a proper toothbrush, even better. Make sure you use one with very soft bristles - one designed for children is ideal.
Be sure to use proper doggie toothpaste as human toothpaste isn't designed to be swallowed.
Cleaning every day is ideal, but even if you can only do every other day, it will help.
Using Raw Meaty Bones
Be sure not to give weight bearing bones. Those huge beef marrow bones that get sold as dog bones, leave them on the shelf. They are far too hard and can cause painful slab fractures.
Bones which are good for teeth cleaning include ribs, brisket, tail and necks. Choose an appropriate size for your dog - if you have a tiny chihuahua, a chicken neck will be fine. If you have a mastiff, get a decent sized rack of roo ribs.
Here is Baldrick enjoying a piece of meaty roo tail.
You can buy treats which are marketed as dental chews or something similar, but they are probably too small to be of any great benefit. They are often quite soft, and so they don't actually do the job because there isn't much chewing involved before they've been swallowed.
Any of the treats in our dental treat collection will encourage your dog to chew, and the act of chewing will help to dislodge plaque from the teeth.
Choose a treat which suits your dog, his size and whether he nibbles or gulps.
There is no 'one size fits all' here - every dog is slightly different and what suits Baldrick Beagle doesn't suit Marvinnotabeagle. Favourite chews for these two include cow hooves, bully sticks, queenfish tails and Himalayan chews.
This is a particular seaweed which helps to prevent plaque from forming, and assists with fresher breath due to it's gut health benefits.
It doesn't actually have to come into contact with the teeth, as it works systemically having been absorbed into the bloodstream.
Both our taste testers have a spoonful on their evening meal. We buy ours here.