Dog Dental Care – Our Experience
Having previously written a blog on doggie dental care I became extremely aware of how important it is to look after our dog’s teeth. I was particularly struck by the consequences for our dogs if we don’t look after their oral care.
Dental disease is caused by plaque, which hardens to form tartar (brown/yellow hard substance on the teeth). The tartar bacteria irritates the gums leading to painful infections. Gingivitis is inflammation (reddening) of the gums and the gums are likely to bleed easily. Gingivitis can be treated but if not treated it will lead to periodontitis which is not reversible and leads to bone and internal organ damage, tooth decay and loss.
This spurred me into action, there are many products on the market, but I bought a toothbrush and toothpaste set and decided that it was high time for me to try it out. Do not use human toothpaste as it is toxic to dogs!
Our own dogs teeth have kept very well, but as they are ageing now there is a little tartar build up on their canine teeth.
See my previous blog for more information.
I opened the packet with the dogs around me, letting them sniff the items as I took them out. They were curious as I was telling them what each item was. I then opened the toothpaste and let them sniff the open tube. I put a little toothpaste on my finger and let them lick it to see what they thought of the taste. As they sniffed and had a lick they were getting lots of praise, so they knew how well they were doing So far so good, they like the taste.
I put a little on my finger and rubbed my finger along each of their gum line and teeth. They were a little unsure at first, but as I have handled their mouths since puppies they allowed me to continue. Again I talked to them the whole time telling them how clever they were, lots of encouragement.
As we were going well, I tried the finger cot with a little toothpaste on it and again rubbed this over my girls teeth and gums, I focused on the teeth and gum line. She didn’t mind, but I found this quite firm to use. Once again lots of praise for doing so well.
I then tried the toothbrush on both of my boys teeth and gums, I focused on the teeth and gum line. I found this surprisingly easier to use and softer. I felt I was able to get to the back teeth easier, and again both of the dogs let me do this, and yes lots of praise at every step of the process.
Both ways only took a couple of minutes in total, so not the big deal and time consuming activity I was envisaging.
I found the finger cot that came in this kit quite rigid to use, there are softer finger cots on the market and I think a softer finger cot would help in getting round the teeth and be softer at getting to the back teeth.
I liked using the toothbrush, I found it to be easy to use and made it easy to reach the back teeth. I imagine that it must have felt nicer for the dogs, but sadly they couldn’t tell me.
Beef toothpaste I expected to smell really strongly, but it didn’t, not at all offensive and the dogs did seem to like the taste.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the speed and ease of use. And I will continue to this product until it is used up. I have this month been talking to Vets+Best and I am interested in trying their new product out.
Other methods of Doggie Dental Care
There are many other products on the market which you can buy at reputable vets and pet shops.
• Advanced dental spray – you spray onto your hand or a dog toy and the dog licks/chews it to control plaque and tartar without the need for brushing. A new product that I’m waiting to see reviews for. Once our stockiest has some in stock I will be trialling this for myself.
• Dog dental chews – be aware to these and look at the ingredients as the can be highly calorific. Never leave your dog unsupervised with a dog dental chew.
• Nylabone dog chews – make sure you choose an appropriate size for your dog. Chewing is an activity that dogs enjoy and it can help to keep their dogs clean. But is not a substitute for brushing.
• Plaque powder supplements – these do not substitute brushing, but are something you can do alongside to help keep plaque at bay. Read the instructions carefully to make sure it is suitable for your dog.
• Teeth wipes
• Water additives – they claim to help reduce tartar and plaque build up. I’m just not sure that I personally like the idea about having a permanent addition to my dog’s drinking water.
My conclusion is that teeth brushing is a fun thing to do with your dog! It is not a chore and yes I will be continuing with it to look after my doggie’s dental care.