Don’t settle for bad dog breath or leave your pet’s oral care to your vet. Being proactive with your pet’s dental health reduces the likelihood your pet will suffer from bad breath, plaque and tartar buildup, and more serious conditions such as periodontal disease. And you’re less likely to spend hundreds of dollars in the vet’s office. These 9 tips are easy and inexpensive ways to improve your pet’s dental health.
Challenge yourself to try at least one of these 9 Dog Dental Health Tips with your pet.
1. Watch the Sugar
We all know sugar has no nutritional benefits to us – in fact, it can lead to obesity, diabetes, and bad dental health. For your pet’s best overall health, and to keep his teeth cleaner, cut the sugar. Sounds easy. But here’s the catch. To improve taste cheaply, many pet food and treat manufacturers add sugar. However, since today’s buyer is more nutrition-savvy, they use other terms to describe it. Sugar can be listed in your pet food ingredient list as glucose, caramel, fructose, corn syrup, or cane molasses. Read carefully!
2. Use a Water Additive
Water additives are an easy way to freshen your pet’s breath and help clean her teeth. When added to fresh pet water, pet water additives can reduce plaque and tartar as well as limit bad breath. Tropiclean Fresh Breath Water Additive has natural ingredients such as aloe and green tea.
Unfortunately, if you use a pet water fountain with a filter, the carbon filter will remove the additive. Take the filter out while administering to your pet, or try another dental care option.
3. Brush Your Pet’s Teeth
There is nothing better for your pet’s dental health than brushing your dog or cat’s teeth daily. Does your pet not let you near their mouth to try? If you haven’t brushed your pet’s teeth from puppy or kitten-hood, they may not respond too well to teeth brushing as adults.
Start small. Get your cat or dog used to you touching their muzzle. Slowly move towards their mouth. Then, use your finger or a pet finger brush on their teeth. Finally, you can switch to a toothbrush, with or without paste. Pet toothpaste usually comes in yummy flavours to help pets respond better to teeth brushing. Always use positive reinforcement – including lots of cuddles and praise.
The experts recommend brushing your pet’s teeth daily, but even little steps toward dental health count.
4. Use an Oral Care Gel, Spray, or Foam
Oral Care Gels, Sprays, and Foams work similar to the way mouthwash works for people. The product stays on the pet’s teeth and gums for a short while, cleaning and ridding the mouth of harmful plaque-causing bacteria. Oral Gels, sprays, and foams have the best results when used in conjunction with regular brushing, but are particularly good for dogs or cats whose teeth are hard to brush.
5. Dental Toys
Dental toys are one of the easiest ways to help clean a dog’s teeth. Rope bones work similar to dental floss for a dog’s teeth. Abrasive toys with ridges have multiple contact points on teeth, and can scrape and remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup.
Tropiclean Fresh Breath Liquidfloss is a unique product that can boost the teeth cleaning power of any toy when sprayed on it.
6. Feed Dental Food and Treats
Dental food and treats are usually made with a harder kibble that helps mechanically remove plaque and tartar from the teeth when compared with standard kibble. These kibbles are harder and less likely to break into small pieces that can get stuck in teeth crevices and gums. Some dental food, such as Royal Canin Oral Sensitive 30 Cat Food, also contains sodium tripolyphosphate, a cleaning and anti-tartar agent.
7. Get Chews
If your pet isn’t chewing more than just kibble, they are missing out on a big part of dental cleaning. For dogs, hard toys and natural chews are helpful at clearing plaque from the surface of the teeth. They mechanically scrape teeth in much the same way a toothbrush does.
While cooked bones are always a no, smoked and raw bones are healthy and generally safe for monitored pets. Containing plenty of calcium, raw bones and marrow have other winning nutritional bonuses for your pet’s teeth and optimal functioning.
Have a cat? Cats can chew bones, too! Raw chicken necks contain small and pliable bones that are perfectly suited to a cat’s small mouth and digestion. Don’t just give the dog a bone! Raw chicken necks can help your cat’s teeth stay clean, and your cat will love the crunchy treat.
8. Give Raw Veggies and Fruits to Your Dog
Raw vegetables and limited amounts of fruits can be beneficial to your dog’s diet and oral health. Carrots and apples are hard, crunchy vegetables that can help remove plaque from your dog’s teeth. Think of them as nature’s dental treats! Here is a comprehensive list of fruits and veggies that are safe for dogs
Other human foods high in calcium can be beneficial to dogs, too. Kale and broccoli, raw or steamed, are high in calcium, which promotes strong teeth and bones. Cheeses such as mozzarella, cheddar, and Swiss are also high in calcium – and cheese has been known to fight the bacteria that causes plaque in human teeth.
9. Sprinkle Probiotics on Their Food
Certain probiotics, such as EvoraPet Oral Care Probiotics, can inhibit the growth of bacteria that causes bad breath and plaque. The probiotics also produce a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide which can help to eliminate stains and whiten teeth.