Caring for Canine Teeth at Home

Category_Dental_Care Category_Dogs Category_Health Category_Vet Writer_MaryBeth_Bittel

Sparky Steps - Caring for Canine Teeth at Home

Caring for Canine Teeth at Home

Here at Sparky Steps, our dedicated dog walkers keep your canine companion safe and secure outdoors. And it’s a good thing, because “outdoors” is certainly a fascinating place for furry friends! We all know that dogs – spurred on by their superior sense of smell – often enjoy exploring through taste and texture. Most owners have caught their inquisitive pooch chewing sticks or nibbling grass, at least once or twice. So consider, for a moment, the condition of your canine’s teeth. Chomping on various objects – in addition to daily kibble, canned food, or home-cooked vittles – can take a toll on your pup’s pearly whites. Domesticated dogs need some help breaking down debris that can damage teeth and gums over time. Fortunately, professional dental cleanings can clear away accumulated plaque and tartar. But if buildup is severe, teeth may need to be extracted. This can interfere with your dog’s chewing ability – and it can also get pretty expensive. So in addition to regular vet care, it pays to think about supporting oral health at home. Do you have a regular home dental care program in place for your pet? Brushing your dog’s teeth is easier than you might think. And you can approach canine oral health from multiple angles, which helps keep buildup at bay between cleanings. Consider the following suggestions.


Brushless Dental Care for Dogs

Short on time? There are several pet-formulated “brushless” products designed to help dissolve plaque. For maximum effectiveness, try using any of the following in conjunction with an at-home brushing routine (explained below):
  • Zymox makes a product called Oratene water additive. This flavorless concentrate can be added to your pet’s daily drinking water. It helps reduce harmful mouth bacteria, freshen breath, and remove plaque film. Zymox also makes Oratene in gel form, which can be rubbed directly onto teeth.
  • Similarly, the PetzLife brand offers natural gel and spray-on formulas. These products are great for preventing dry mouth. Like Zymox, they’re powered by natural enzymes that gently break down buildup.
  • Another option is Ark Naturals “Breath-Less” Brushless Toothpaste. This is actually a wheat-free, corn-free, rice-based chew with outside ridges, for abrasive action. It features an internal core that contains edible pet toothpaste. So it helps dogs of all sizes with plaque, tartar, and oral bacteria control — simply by chewing.


Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

With just a bit of owner patience and persistence, most dogs can be taught to tolerate (even enjoy) daily tooth brushing. The secret is allowing your pet to adapt at his own pace. Follow these quick, easy steps:
  1. Begin by wrapping your index finger in soft gauze, instead of using a toothbrush. Every day, spend just a minute lightly patting or massaging your pup’s front teeth.
  2. Keep each session extremely short and positive. Use an upbeat, reassuring voice – and praise your dog profusely for allowing front-of-mouth access.
  3. Once your dog has learned to accept this type of contact, add a bit of fluoride-free pet toothpaste to the gauze. Popular choices include Sentry Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste, and Virbac C.E.T. Enzymatic Toothpaste. Both feature yummy flavors that help your pooch regard teeth-cleaning as a tasty treat. Experiment with different varieties, to see which one your pet likes best.
  4. Each day, spend a couple minutes gently rubbing the toothpaste onto your dog’s front teeth. Also massage along the gum line. Once your pup begins looking forward to these sessions, gradually progress back toward the eye teeth and molars. Again, praise generously each time. Teach your dog that this is a brief, fun, rewarding game.
  5. Never rush, and never force. Move at your pet’s preferred pace, and pour on the praise each time.
  6. Once your pup seems fully comfortable with the gauze, you can switch to a child-sized toothbrush or fingerbrush.
  7. Work up to a single five-minute cleaning session, daily or every other day — front, side and back teeth (inside and out, if your pet permits it).
  8. Is time especially tight on certain days? Taking a warm-weather road trip? You can also consider using pre-moistened teeth cleaning pads, like Kissable Dog Dental Wipes.


At-home dog tooth brushing is a fantastic way to strengthen the bond between you and your loyal canine. Even if you choose a brushless method, your pup is sure to benefit from regular dental care. Other big bonuses include whiter teeth, healthier gums … and no doggy breath! So get outdoors and explore away this summer.


Written by Marybeth Bittel



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