Did you know that four out of five dogs over the age of three years have some type of periodontal disease? While dental disease in dogs is quite common, there are steps that you as a pet parent can take to preserve your dog’s overall oral health. Keeping your pup’s teeth clean can help prevent tooth loss, oral pain, bad breath, and even organ damage, so here’s how to clean a dog’s teeth and keep his mouth as healthy as possible.
Signs Your Dog’s Teeth Need Cleaning
Canine dental disease affects a dog’s teeth, gums, and jaw. It’s typically caused by plaque buildup which contains bacteria and food particles. The plaque eventually hardens into tartar which can become a serious problem when it makes its way below the gum line.
Dental disease signs in dogs include broken and loose teeth, bad breath, and drooling. Your dog might also refuse to eat and drink and have a painful and bleeding mouth.
How To Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean
Professional teeth cleanings are essential to your dog’s good dental care, but regular at-home maintenance is equally crucial. Follow these four tips to help maintain your dog’s dental health and his life.
1. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Unlike his parents, your dog can’t brush his teeth twice a day. Most dogs don’t particularly like having their teeth brushed, but it’s a little easier if you start them early while they’re still a pup.
- Use a double-headed brush with bristles at a 45-degree angle. This ensures you get below the gumline.
- Start slowly and quit if your dog becomes agitated.
- Do not use human toothpaste for your pet, as the fluoride they contain is poisonous to dogs. Most pet stores carry multiple brands of toothpaste and mouthwash, so you might need to try a few brands and flavors before finding one your dog likes.
2. Non-Brushing Ways to Clean a Dog’s Teeth
If teeth brushing turns into a battle of wills, try giving your dog crunchy kibble to remove the plaque. In the meantime, keep attempting to establish a brushing routine. Other ways to clean your pup’s teeth without brushing include dog dental wipes and water additives.