Do you know the old saying a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a humans? Well it’s true that dogs are less prone to cavities as human beings, but that doesn’t mean they can’t develop problems like tartar and plaque buildup or gingivitis. It’s not just bad breath and yellow teeth you have to worry about, left untreated, bacteria introduced by the problem can enter the bloodstream and affect your pets heart, kidneys or liver. Veterinarians report that an estimated 85 percent of dogs over age of 4 are suffering from some form of periodontal disease, a painful oral condition that can lead to tooth loss and infection. The good news is you can prevent this by taking care of your dog’s teeth.
Just like you have a grooming schedule for your dog you need to have a dental care routine as well. The goal is to clean your dog’s teeth at least 1-2 times a week, but it won't happen overnight. Most dogs take some time getting use to someone poking around in their mouth and most owners need to warm up to the idea too! Ideally, you want to introduce this routine when your dog is still a puppy, but if that time has passed, don’t stress, you just need to take it slow.
Start out by simply accustoming your dog to the idea of your finger in his or her mouth. Lift the dog’s lip and praise him/her for allowing you to do so. Don’t do this when the dog is sleeping or just finished eating. Wait until the dog is relaxed and more inclined to sit still for the procedure. Be patient. If your dog gets agitated don’t scold him. Try this method first for a few days to a week depending on how your dog is responding.
After your dog is comfortable the idea slowly introduce the brushing. You most likely won’t be able to brush the whole mouth the first time, don’t be discouraged. Do what you can and each time do a little more. Overtime your dog will get more and more comfortable and you will eventually be brushing his whole mouth. Remember not to pressure or scold your dog if he gets agitated, just stop. Also, it helps to speak calmly and gently during the brushing to help him/her relax, and reward your dog with a treat afterwards! Soon enough this will become a regular routine that your pet will actually start to enjoy.
Here’s some tips to that will help you practice good doggy dental care:
Finger Applicator vs. ToothBrush
Finding the right toothbrush depends on your dog’s size and how skillful you are with your hand. Many pet owners, and their furry friends, are much more comfortable with a finger applicator, especially when this is a new routine. I finger applicator works like a brush and is easier to maneuver and get into those hard to reach areas. Our Pura-Finger™ Gloves are soft gentle on your pet’s mouth. Plus they are made from a plant-based foam, non-toxic, wood cellulose free and hydrophobic so it won’t smell after multiple uses. Just rinse out under hot water after use and it will be ready to use again for the next brushing! It's an easy, safe and effective way to clean your dog’s teeth.
How To Choose The Right Toothpaste
NEVER use human toothpaste on your dog. Most human toothpaste includes fluoride, which is extremely poisonous to dogs. Unfortunately many pet toothpastes contain harsh chemicals and artificial ingredients that can upset a dog’s stomach or worse. Ingredients you should avoid are:
It’s a natural sweetener found in sugar-free gum (including nicotine gum), mints, candy, baked products and beverages. It is also found in some oral rinses and toothpastes. Although Xylitolis harmless to humans it’s poisoning to your pets. It causes a a rapid increase in insulin, which leads to a drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Depending on the dose ingested, clinical signs of hypoglycemia can include vomiting, difficulty walking, weakness and lethargy. Severe signs include collapse and seizures.
Like Xylitol it is a sugar replacement, a sweetener, unlike Xylitol is is not poisonous to dogs, but can still cause discomfort. Sorbitol has laxative properties and could cause discomfort in the form of runny stool and flatulence.
Artificial colors have been associated with many forms of cancer and avoiding them should be at the top of your priority list. FD&C refers to food, drugs and cosmetics. D&C refers to drugs and cosmetics. They will be labeled as FD&C or D&C, followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 / D&C Green No. 6.
There has been some debate that glycerin leaves a thin coat on the teeth, keeping the teeth from having the natural ability to remineralize, which happens from the saliva in the mouth. It could take anywhere from 20 - 30 times of brushing without glycerin to remove it from the teeth. Some disagree stating that the small amounts used in toothpaste is not nearly enough to stop remineralization. We say if you can’t be sure about something why risk it?
Is primarily used as an abrasive in toothpaste, is made from a crystallized compound found in quartz, sand, and flint. Tooth enamel remineralizes daily from the supply of ionic calcium and phosphorus in the saliva. Scratching the surface of the tooth with an abrasive such as hydrated silica harms the enamel and prevents re-mineralization, much like using sand to clean glass. Severe wear could eventually occur.
If you want to know more about dangerous ingredients hiding in pet products click here.
Natural Is The Safe Alternative
For the safest option use a natural alternative. Our Tooth Salt is an all natural and organic formula that works wonderfully to keep your furry friend’s teeth clean without resorting to harsh chemicals. Our Tooth Salt is made from Sea Salt, Peppermint Oil and Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda). Just sprinkle salts directly onto moistened Pura-Finger™ Gloves and gently cleanse both teeth and gums for fresh breath and a healthy smile.
Dry Food Vs. Soft Food
Do you know that dry food is actually better for your dog when it comes to dental care than soft food? Well it is. Soft food is more likely to stick to the teeth and cause decay. You don’t have to cut your dog off from wet food entirely, just be sure to mix up their diet between dry and wet.
Chew Bones & Toys
There are specifically designed chew bones and toys to strengthen your dog’s gums and teeth. Just make sure you’re providing safe objects for your dog to chew on. Read labels and stay away from hard objects which can cause broken teeth.
Giving your dog a good bone to chew on can help get rid of build up and keep teeth strong, but remember it’s not enough to be an effective means of ensuring good dental hygiene and overall health.
Know When To See Your Vet
Whether you brush your dog’s teeth or not, you should have a look inside his/her mouth every week or so. If you notice any of these signs of dental problems, it’s time to see the vet:
Change in eating or dog chewing habits
Pawing at the face or mouth
Misaligned or missing teeth
Discolored, broken, missing or crooked teeth
Red, swollen, painful or bleeding gums
Yellowish-brown tartar crust along the gum line
Bumps or growths within the mouth
Even with healthy teeth, just like humans, you should have your dog checked by a professional every 6 to 12 months. Ask your vet to include a dental examination with your normal checkup.
Dental care is just as important as grooming if not more important. It might seem like a lot of work in the beginning, but that extra effort could save you from a painful visit to the vet later down the road. Remember to read labels, natural alternatives are always the best and safest options for your beloved pet.
At Pura Naturals Pet™ we are dedicated to delivering the highest quality products using only the best ingredients the Earth has to offer. Our philosophy is simple - we strive every day to be better. Learn more about us here.