From bad breath to dental disease, your dog's teeth can cause lots of problems for you and your pup. And, according to the American Veterinary Dental College, 80% of dogs show signs of gum disease by the age of three.
Good dental health is important for your dog's well-being. But, finding the right dog dental products to keep your dog's teeth healthy and clean can be difficult and costly.
In this article, we'll share:
- The importance of proper dental care for dogs
- How to treat common dental health problems
- What types of dog dental products are available
- How to choose the best dog dental products
- Tips for maintaining your dog's oral health
Understanding the importance of dog dental care#
Complete pet care starts with clean teeth and healthy gums. Without regular care, your dog may have inflamed gums, yellow teeth, and lots of discomfort. Even worse, bacteria can spread beneath the gum line and cause damage to the underlying bone.
Plus, bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause an infection. Inadequate dental care for dogs can have serious long-term impacts, including:
- Dental disease
- Canine gum disease
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Respiratory problems
How to treat common dog dental problems
Dental disease is a common problem among canines, especially as they grow older in age. Fortunately, proper dental hygiene and regular brushing can help reduce common issues like:
- Bad breath or halitosis
- Cavities (caries)
- Tooth decay or tooth loss
- Periodontal disease
- Gum disease
Pet parents can start brushing their dog's teeth as early as three months old. For best results, use dog toothpaste and a dog toothbrush with soft bristles.
Your vet may also recommend annual dental cleanings. But, supplemental dental products for dogs may prolong this need.
7 different types of dental products for dogs
There are lots of dog dental products available. Choosing the best dental product for your dog can help:
- Lessen plaque and tartar buildup
- Freshen breath
- Preserve your dog’s dental and gum health
1. Dog toothbrushes and dog toothpaste
Brushing regularly is a great way to keep your dog's teeth healthy and avoid long-term issues. Make sure you use pet-safe toothpaste on your dog's teeth and a dog toothbrush (not a human one).
Dog toothpastes have ingredients that help to reduce plaque and tartar buildup. When choosing a toothpaste for your pup, make sure it does not have xylitol or baking soda. These ingredients can be toxic to dogs. Talk to your vet to find the best dog toothpaste for your pup.
Your dog’s toothbrush should have soft bristles and fit your dog’s mouth. There are two primary types of toothbrushes that help keep your canine's teeth clean. A long-handled toothbrush or finger brush is a good choice when looking for the best dog toothbrush.
2. Dental gel
If keeping your dog's teeth brushed seems daunting, dental gels can be a huge help. Dental gels spread and stick to your dog's teeth for an extended period of time. Many gels contain ingredients like green tea leaf extract and natural chicken flavor that encourage most dogs to lick.
Gels contain effective ingredients that are clinically proven to kill bacteria and remove plaque and tartar. Some great dental gel products for dogs include PetFriendly's Brilliant Dental Care for Dogs and TropiClean Oral Care Gel.
3. Sprays and water additives
If your dog isn't a fan of gels or pastes, dental sprays, and water additives can be helpful tools. Pet parents can spray treatments into their dog's mouth and incorporate additives in their dog's water.
Additives and sprays have little taste or smell. This makes it easy to keep your picky dog's teeth clean. Like other products, they help prevent tartar buildup and freshen breath.
4. Dog dental treats
The ease of using a treat is great for pet owners with picky pups. The best dental treats have natural ingredients and grooves that help clean your dog's teeth and provide fresh breath.
Some examples of good dental dog treats include:
- AKC Dentacare Dog Treats
- Greenies Natural Dental Dog Treats
- Pup-Peroni Soft Treats
Pet parents can find dental treats at most grocery stores, pet stores, and online retailers. Check the ingredients of your dog’s dental treats before purchasing, especially if your pup has any food allergies.
5. Dog dental chews
The best dental chews have quality, all-natural ingredients and are free from artificial additives. Like treats, dental chews help reduce plaque and tartar buildup. This keeps your dog’s teeth and gums healthy and promotes fresh breath. Some good dental chew products include C.E.T. Dental Chews and Nylabone Dura Chews.
6. Dental wipes
For dog owners who want to see a quick improvement in their pet's teeth, dental wipes are a good option. Dental wipes are also a great option for older, adult dogs who are more sensitive to dental cleanings.
Dental wipes come in sheets or finger sleeves with powerful ingredients. Wipes carefully remove severe tartar buildup and bacteria and give your dog fresh breath. Some good dental wipes include Petkin Dog Dental Wipes and Vet's Best Dental Care Finger Wipes.
7. Natural remedies
Natural alternatives can also support clean teeth. If your dog eats a gluten-free, grain-free, or chicken-free diet, some healthy treat options include:
- Carrots: Carrots are an excellent, natural method to keep your dog's teeth clean. The crunchy texture assists in the removal of plaque and tartar buildup and the chewing motion also stimulates their gums.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil is effective in removing tartar and preventing plaque buildup on dogs’ teeth. You can use it as toothpaste or add it to their food for an extra health boost.
- Apple slices: Apples are another crunchy food item that can help scrape away plaque and tartar buildup. This leaves your dog's breath fresh and clean. Freeze them for a little while for a fun, summer treat.
How to choose the right dental product for your dog#
To determine the best products for your dog, think about their unique needs. Talk to your vet to make an informed decision about the best dental product for your furry friend. They can provide suggestions based on your dog’s unique needs.
Here are a few considerations when choosing the best dog dental product for you and your pet:
- Your dog's size or breed: Larger dogs enjoy chewing on bones and dog chews – which can make dental care a breeze. Smaller breeds aren't as big of chewers. Plus, small dogs may experience stomach issues with certain products.
- Their age: Getting your puppy on a dental routine early on will help their dental health in the long run. But, even adult dogs can reap the benefits of a dental treat or gel.
- Their health and well-being: If your pet has other underlying health issues, regular dental care may be a good solution. Talk to your vet about the risks and benefits of each option.
- Your own preferences: The best dental routine is a consistent one. If you aren't taking care of your dog's teeth and gums, their health may suffer. Find a product that your pup loves – and one you'll use.
- Safety and efficacy: First make sure that the dental product is safe for dogs. They should not contain parabens, sulfates, or fluoride. Look for the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) registered seal or talk to your vet.
Tips for introducing your dog to a new dental product
Trying out a new product for your canine companion? Follow these 3 easy steps to make the transition as smooth as possible.
1. Gradual introduction.
Before starting a new dental product, introduce your dog to the taste and smell. This can help them become more familiar and comfortable with the products. This makes the process of cleaning their teeth a more enjoyable experience for both you and your dog.
2. Positive reinforcement.
Use positive reinforcement when introducing a new dental product. Words of affirmation and healthy treats (like chicken, carrots, or apples) are great reinforcement tools for your pup. This can also be a chance to use dental cleanings as training sessions.
3. Patient attitude.
The more cool, calm, and collected you can be as a pet parent, the better. Move slowly and use a soft voice as you start to clean their teeth. And, be patient — some dogs take longer to acclimate to new things than others.
How to maintain your dog's oral health
To support your dog's health, you'll want to start with a healthy mouth. But, there are other ways to keep your pup's teeth healthy and strong that don't involve dental products.
Pet parents can try these methods to ensure that their dog’s teeth and gums remain healthy.
Visit the vet for regular check-ups.
Regular vet check-ups help you detect problems earlier and avoid costly treatments. Your vet may look for any signs of issues during a dental check-up and recommend regular dental cleanings.
Brush your dog's teeth regularly.
Brushing your dog’s teeth daily with a dog toothbrush and toothpaste is the best way to support your pet's teeth. Vets recommend a regular routine to freshen your dog's breath. But, brushing your dog’s teeth at least once a week can make a huge difference.
Supplements, dental sticks, wipes, and gels can help between brushes to maintain good oral health. And keep plaque and tartar from building up. After all, even the best dog toothpaste won't completely solve your pup's bad breath.
Maintain a healthy diet.
Consuming the right vitamins and minerals will support your dog's dental health and well-being. Keep your dog on a healthy diet of high-quality meats, fruits and vegetables, and grains.
When selecting dog foods for active dental issues, look for ones that have the right nutrients. Enzymes or probiotics are great for improving your dog’s tooth and gum health.
Dog owners should look for these six basic nutrients:
To keep your dog's breath fresh and teeth clean, avoid feeding your pup human food and snacks. Not only can this be harmful to their health, but it can also damage their teeth.
Consider a supplement.
A supplement with the right vitamins and minerals can aid in your dog's dental health. Supplements for dogs work to:
- Promote strong teeth
- Discourage bacteria that cause bad breath
- Enhance energy and vitality
- Strengthen a dog’s immune system
- Supply essential nutrients
Talk to your vet to choose the right supplements for your dog based on their specific needs and health.
Provide durable toys and bones.
Chew toys and bones help maintain dental health by preventing plaque buildup. They are also great for:
- Releasing excess energy
- Relieving stress and anxiety
- Keeping dogs mentally engaged
When choosing a dog bone, think about the size of your dog and their chewing habits. For example, Nylabones are great for small breeds, while antler bones are better for larger breeds.
As dog owners, it’s important to ensure our furry friends get the dental care they need for optimal pet health. This means keeping their teeth brushed (or at least using other products to keep them clean).
Understanding the importance of dental health and how to choose the best dog dental products helps you prolong your dog's life. Remember, when your dog's mouth is healthy, their heart will be happy.
The smartest way to support your dog’s smile.