You may be part of the 95% of the population that doesn’t know how important it is to clean a dog’s teeth. But if you continue reading this article you will discover why it is essential to do it and we will tell you 5 different ways to clean a dog’s teeth.
Why clean a dog’s teeth?
It is estimated that more than 80% of dogs over 5 years old will develop periodontal disease during their lifetime. However, cleaning a dog’s teeth regularly can prevent it.
As we say, periodontal diseases are very common in dogs. These diseases develop when food particles are deposited together with bacteria in the gums of the teeth, damaging their structures.
Initially, bacterial plaque forms, which we call tartar. Over time, tartar can inflame and damage the gums. This is called gingivitis. This inflation is reversible, but if you do nothing to prevent its development and go to the veterinarian, it can eventually lead to periodontitis. In this case the damage reaches the root of the teeth. It is then when the teeth are giving way and leaving even more space for bacteria to proliferate and continue damaging the gums until finally the loss of the tooth happens.
The worst thing about these periodontal diseases is that this type of infections can cause the death of the dog. This is because infections in the mouth can spread through the blood to other organs of the body (kidneys, heart, liver, etc.).
Therefore, you have two options: prevent periodontal diseases with a lot of hygiene and check-ups by your veterinarian; or wait until your dog is 5 years old and have to treat these diseases which, besides being costly, in economic terms, also mean suffering for your dog.
Symptoms of Periodontal Diseases in Dogs
As a kennel for small or mini breed dogs, from Las Almenas we recommend you to pay special attention if your dog is a Poodle or other small breed, since they accumulate tartar more easily. In addition, as they have very small mouths, it is more difficult to clean them.
If you notice that your dog’s gums are swollen and even bleed, even more so when you clean his teeth, then it may be gingivitis. Another characteristic symptom of gingivitis is bad breath, keep this in mind because if you go to the veterinarian at this time, you are in time to reverse this problem and its consequences.
If gingivitis progresses and damages the pulp of the teeth, we speak of periodontitis. In the case of periodontitis, you will see that, in addition to pain, your dog salivates excessively and seems to be hungry, but finally eats reluctantly. If the tooth is damaged, there is little we can do to save it, so it is essential to treat these diseases as soon as possible.
However, removing all the tartar and dental plaque is relatively simple for your veterinarian who has to perform a complete oral cleaning. In cases of advanced periodontitis, it may be necessary to extract some of the dog’s teeth. Antibiotics will probably be administered and your veterinarian will recommend a series of care that you will have to perform at home.
But we insist that, to avoid all this painful process, you need to know how to clean a dog’s teeth.
5 different ways to clean a dog’s teeth
Now that you know the importance of your dog’s oral hygiene, from Las Almenas we are going to give you a series of tips and also explain the different ways and objects you can use to clean a dog’s teeth:
1-Brushing with toothpaste
The use of a dog toothbrush and toothpaste is undoubtedly the best option to remove tartar. If your dog is still a puppy and is not used to it, you can start by cleaning his teeth with a finger wrapped in gauze on which you will apply the toothpaste.
There is also the possibility of acquiring a finger glove for dogs. It consists of a small plastic or silicone sheath that you put on your finger and to which you put the toothpaste for dogs. This way you will be able to rub with your own finger, something that dogs tend to do better when they are not used to it yet. When the dog is more accustomed we can start using a brush.
As for the dog brush, you will see that it is different from the ones we use. They are usually very long to be able to reach the bottom teeth more easily. They usually have a brush at both ends, a larger one and a smaller one for difficult areas. You will probably have to replace it every so often because they tend to nibble on it.
The important thing is that, whether with a brush, gauze or finger glove, you reach all the corners of the mouth.
Considerations about toothpaste for dogs
Never use for your dog the toothpaste you have at home for the family, not even for your children. Keep in mind that toothpaste for us has fluoride, which is toxic for dogs. So it is better to buy a specific toothpaste because they are also edible and do not cause any problems. You can find them in different flavors, even chicken!
Don’t have any dog toothpaste? Here’s a homemade trick: mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a tablespoon of water until you get a homogeneous paste that you can apply directly on your dog’s teeth. Baking soda prevents bad breath, cleans and whitens the enamel.
Ideally, teeth brushing should be done daily. However, you can space the time a little more and follow this routine at least three times a week. On the days when you do not brush your child’s teeth, you can use other simpler products that, although they do not clean as well, can be very useful as a complement to hygiene.
Another way to clean a dog’s teeth is by using specific mouthwashes for dogs. These are antiseptic products that fight tartar, plaque and bad breath.
They are an excellent option especially for those cases in which the dog does not let you easily manipulate the mouth, either because of pain or because it is not yet used to do so. In any case, you will also have to fight a little, as these flavors are strange to them and they may reject them.
Playing is always a good option for dogs, so what better than using dental toys to clean a dog’s teeth! Some even combine the option of filling them with toothpaste.
Other toys, such as dental balls, contain a menthol product that helps your dog maintain a fresh and pleasant breath.
This way you can get your dog to use a toy as a chew toy and at the same time get clean and entertained.
Dental snacks are becoming more and more known and used to clean a dog’s teeth. Your dog is sure to love this type of product. Fortunately, they can also help to remove food debris and tartar accumulated after meals. But be aware that they are not as effective as brushing.
Therefore, from Las Almenas we advise you to use dental snacks as a reward or as a complement to brushing, but not as a substitute.
Another important thing to keep in mind when choosing a dental snack is that they come in different sizes so that you can choose according to the size of your dog and avoid the risk of choking.
As with snacks, dental bones are a complement to the oral hygiene of dogs. But in this case, dental bones are long-lasting supplements.
These dental bones are specifically designed for oral care. They allow the dog to maintain a proper dental hygiene routine while entertaining himself and lowering his stress levels and encouraging chewing, which is essential for his well-being.
In the market you will find different options, from bones made with leather to deer antlers. Consult your veterinarian about the most convenient alternative for your dog. From Las Almenas we recommend natural products, such as deer antlers.
Now you know 5 different ways to clean a dog’s teeth at home. But there is another option, which is the oral cleaning at the veterinary clinic. In this type of cases, the treatment is simple, but requires general anesthesia to remove tartar, plaque and bacteria.
Do not forget that, even if you periodically clean your dog’s mouth, it is essential that you continue with daily brushing hygiene at home to avoid tartar accumulation.
And you, do you know a different way to clean a dog’s teeth? You can share with us your experience or your doubts in the comments box or on our Facebook and Instagram profiles, as well as on our YouTube Channel.
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