Yikes!! Clean my dogs teeth? You're joking! How the heck do I do that?
Your reaction is probably the same as mine was when first I thought of the fact that my dog's teeth are the most important item required for eating – and dogs probably need them more than we do, for that matter, because we don't gnaw on bones the way they do.
Believe you me, the hardest time is the first time but even when your dog lets you know it doesn't like having its teeth cleaned, it is simply a matter of finding the right process and sticking to it.
My grandmother always said to me, "never forget there is always bribery and corruption or a jar of honey!" This is actually true whatever you are doing with your dog, but particularly when you are doing something as important as its teeth.
I always break off three or four small pieces of DentaStix treats (each only the size of a match head and Poppy absolutely loves them) – right in front of her field of vision – so she knows what she is in for if she plays ball.
Poppie is a Chihuahua and Shih Tzu cross weighing in at 2.5 kilos, so depending on the size of you dog, increase the size of your treats on offer accordingly.
Then I do the job very quickly, usually in less than 30 seconds, and let Poppie loose on the reward. Works every time! Easy peasy!
How to keep your dog's teeth and gums healthy
How to clean my dog's teeth is a question I am frequently asked and the answer is quite simple and only takes a minute or two to include as part of your dog's daily dental care routine.
The three most effective ways of keeping your dog's teeth free of plaque and calculus (tartar) are finishing their meals with one of the following methods:
- Plaque and calculus)tartar) sprays
- Soft raw bones, e.g. chicken necks, small brisket bones (never give weight bearing bones to your pet, because they can crack or shatter their teeth and the only answer is to this problem is a general anaesthetic and extractions), or pig's ears which have originated in the USA, Canada, YK, Australia or New Zealand. Never use chews made from rawhide as these can be deadly for your dog.
How to clean your dog's teeth - Brushing
As with your own teeth, "how" you brush and "when" you brush is the key to doing a good job for your dog.
How to brush your dog's teeth
To stop your dog's gums receding and to limit any loss of the structures supporting the teeth in their sockets, it is best if you:
- Brush down and away from the gingival margins of the upper teeth, and
- Up and away from the gingival margins of its lower teeth.
However in the real world of cleaning dogs teeth you can only do your best and any brushing you do is a bonus and far better for your pet than none at all.
95% of the problem areas are the outside surfaces of the teeth, e.g. the surfaces which are adjacent to the dog's cheeks and lips.
If you can brush your dog's teeth inside its mouth, so much the better, but generally speaking the dog's saliva and tongue will do a pretty good job of keeping food and plaque and calculus from the lingual and palatal surfaces.
When to brush your dog's teeth
Plaque will start forming within 24 hours of the last time you brushed your dog's teeth - much the same as for humans.
So you can see it's a fallacy to think you can feed your dog every day and get away with brushing its teeth a couple of times a week.
It simply wont work, any more than cleaning your own teeth a couple of times a week would work for you.
As with humans, the best time to clean your dog's teeth is immediately after it has eaten - be that once, twice or three times a day.
Of course it isn't always convenient to drop everything and start brushing your dog's teeth.
When this situation occurs, the best solution here, is to follow your dog's meal with something which will get its saliva flowing, e.g. a pig's ear or a raw chicken's neck.
Like children, dogs respond to "routine" so try and feed your dog around the same time each day.
Plaque and tartar/calculus drops/gels/pellets/sprays
Whilst some dogs easily adjust to having their teeth brushed others don't. If you have a dog that adamantly rejects the sight of a toothbrush, not all is lost, because there are various homeopathic drops, gels, pellets, sprays on the market which are excellent alternatives to brushing.
Fragaria vesca is probably better known by its common names of wild strawberries, alpine strawberries, or woodland strawberries. Although many people use wild strawberries as a food source, others use their leaves/fruit for homeopathic/medicinal purposes, and in particularly as a remedy to treat lose teeth and gum disease.
The benefits of fragaria vesca are
- Excellent for softening and removing dental plaque and calulus/tartar from teeth.
- Continued use helps to prevent new build up or formation of plaque/calculus/tartar.
- Healthy gums and teeth equate to healthy dogs.
- Saves owners money on expensive dental cleaning procedures and dangers from general anesthesia.
- It's safe for dogs of all ages.
Soft raw bones, e.g. chicken necks, small brisket bones, or hide chew bars
Your dog's diet is the most important part of its home dental care and is the key to answering "how to clean my dog's teeth". Many people think that by feeding their pet dry food will clean their teeth. It doesn't, nothing could be further from the truth.
Dry foods will only clean the tip of your dog's teeth but not up to the gingival margins, which is where the problems associated with plaque and calculus begin.
We refer you to our page on Your Dog's Diet here you will find a plethora of information about:
- Transitioning to feeding raw meat.
- Finishing your dog's meals with juicy raw bones.
- The kind of braw bones to buy and how to prepare them.
- If your pet wont eat raw bones after meals a selection of chew bars for fussy eaters.