Every dog at one time or another in their life will face some form of dental problem from plaque buildup to gingivitis to potentially broken teeth, your dog uses their teeth every day and they become victims of daily wear and tear. So how can you keep your dog's teeth clean? Here are some of our favorite tips to keep your dog's teeth clean. As with many things in life, prevention is your best bet, but we have some treatment tips in there as well.
- Prevention is the best method and it starts with an unprocessed, natural diet low in carbs and fillers: There's a myth out there that commercial dog food companies have perpetuated that says that kibble is good for your dog's teeth. Basically, the myth says that kibble naturally cleans your dog's teeth with its crunch. The truth is, kibbles are made with starches and sugars that hurt the balance of healthy bacteria in your dog’s mouth. Instead of supporting tooth health, bad bacteria flourishes on these sugars, which leads to plaque and tartar, and eventually inflammation and buildup. A raw food contains the naturally occurring enzymes that help protect your dog’s teeth and gums from bad bacteria. A raw food is low in starch and will not stick to your dog’s teeth and cause buildup. Minimizing carbohydrates and processed foods are a first step in keeping your dog's teeth clean.
- Integrate raw meaty bones: Once again on the preventative side of things, chewing on raw meaty bones helps keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy. Chewing on raw bones two to three times a week can leverage the abrasive power to keep your dog's teeth clean. Always be sure to use raw bones, never cooked bones, which can splinter and become a choking hazard. We recommend goat and lamb bone because they are slightly softer and gentler on gums, but cow bones work great as well.
- Tooth wipes: If your dog is spooked by the sight of a toothbrush, then tooth wipes could be the way to go. Dental wipes allow you to remove plaque, bad breath bacteria and tartar buildup by just running a cloth wipe along their teeth and gums.
- Brushing your dog's teeth: It's an obvious one, so why is it buried so far down the list? Because so many dogs absolutely hate it. You don't have to brush your dog's teeth every day and a lot of dogs aren't crazy about it, but if you stick with it, your dog will get used to it. Just make sure you pick a toothpaste specifically made for dogs and use a dog toothbrush that fits over your fingertip. It's probably best practice to test out a few brands to see what works best for you and your dog.
- Dental treats: A dental chew can't replace routine brushing, but dental chews can definitely help to break down tartar while satisfying your dog’s natural urge to chew. If you're looking for a roundup of some of the best dental chews on the market, this is a great place to start.
- Avoid any chew bones that use starches: When you go out and buy your dog a new chew bone, make sure to check the ingredients. Many commercial chews or bones are made from starches like potato and rice flowers. This makes them stickier, and instead of scraping and cleaning your dog's teeth, these starches adhere and contribute to plaque buildup.