It happened so slowly, you recall. First came her lost interest in playing tug with rope toys, then she began hesitating and struggling with her food. How could this have anything to do with my choice of dog teeth cleaners?
Aren’t all dog dental products alike? They all claim to be the best, but what makes one better than another? And am I making the right choices? These questions race through your mind as the vet peels off his exam gloves and asks, “When did she begin refusing food?”
“Your dog has severe dental disease,” the veterinarian announces, adding in a not-so-comforting way, “80% of dogs have serious dental problems like gingivitis and periodontitis. Many owners don’t know. It is very common, especially in these little dogs.” (“The Dangers of Poor Dental Hygiene in Pets,” 2015)
Once your dog has been diagnosed with severe dental disease, the veterinarian will need to put her under anesthesia and remove rotten teeth and gum matter, then scrape away plague on remaining teeth. This can be a lengthy and expensive procedure.
Most dogs recover well from dental procedures, but extra care must be taken to maintain their remaining teeth or provide a special diet and gum care if they have very few or no teeth left.
You can prevent or stop and reverse the progress of dental disease before it gets bad enough to require oral surgical intervention.
Regular cleanings performed by your veterinarian are one strategy to maintain your dog’s dental health, but veterinarians agree that a home dental care routine is an important aid to professional cleanings.
The The American Veterinary Dental College states that a home oral hygiene routine can “improve the periodontal health of the patient, decrease the progression of the disease and decrease the frequency of or eliminate the need for professional dental cleaning.”
Saving our dogs from painful dental disease doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. An affordable home dental care regiment can, for most dogs, eliminate the need for professional cleanings and keep teeth and gums healthy throughout your dog’s lifetime.
Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Veterinarians agree that brushing can help clean your dog’s teeth of plague and keep gums healthy, just as it does for us. Dogs take to brushing best if you start slowly and use products that taste good and don’t hurt.
It is best to treat your dog’s mouth every day. Even if your dog takes well to having her teeth brushed, you are unlikely to want to do it every day. Choose a gel for brushing and a spray for days when you don’t get to brushing to set yourself up for success.
First, Avoid Products Containing Alcohol
Alcohol has a range of negative effects in dogs according to the Pet Poison Helpline. Dogs don’t know to spit out products like people do and will swallow whatever you put in their mouths. Even very small amounts of alcohol used to preserve herbal remedies can have negative effects. Experts advise pet parents to stay away from any liquid formulas or tinctures that are alcohol-based (Tweed, 2004).
Next, Choose Human Grade Ingredients
Ingredients for pet food are not regulated in the same way as human grade ingredients are, so unless you choose a product that is rated human grade, you can’t be sure of the quality of the supplement you are giving your pet.
Citruses, especially grapefruit seed extract, have powerful antimicrobial effects which can clean your dog’s mouth of fungus and parasites while resisting bacteria and viruses that may linger in your dog’s teeth.
Propolis is a resin collected by bees which has been shown to provide bactericidal, antifungal, and antiviral properties while being very easily tolerated by dogs (Betancourt, 2005). Propolis attacks the bacteria that form the hard layer of bacteria and debris that creates plague, stopping the progression of gum disease and clearing existing plague.
Unlike synthetic antibiotics that may kill off good bacteria as well, natural antimicrobials won’t touch the natural, beneficial microbes in your dog’s mouth and gut.
If you haven’t been using a dental routine with your dog up until now, her gums are likely to be tender and inflamed. An anti-inflammatory will soothe sore gums and reduce inflammation.
Good anti-inflammatories include turmeric and fish oil, but an anti-inflammatory that you may not have thought of is grape seed extract. Unlike grapes and raisins, which are poisonous for dogs, grape seed extract has a range of positive effects and is safe for dogs. Grape seed may also increase blood flow in your dog’s gums, which can benefit the health of the teeth and increase healing. Grape seed extract doesn’t have a strong taste or smell like some other powerful anti-inflammatories.
Of the top five best-selling dog dental products on the market today, only DentaSure is all-natural, contains no harmful alcohol, and is guaranteed to remove ugly plaque and tartar or your money back. It comes in a convenient spray or gel form to make your dog’s dental health care easy. It is sweetened with stevia; a safe, natural, calorie-free sweetener to entice your dog to not only tolerate but enjoy his or her daily mouth-care routine, whether you brush or spray.
This alcohol-free dog teeth cleaner and whitener is scientifically formulated with the precise balance of propolis, grape seed extract, and grapefruit seed extract to reverse and prevent periodontal disease. You can feel good about giving this product to your dog or cat since it contains only human-grade ingredients and no fillers or alcohol.
Alcohol. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/alcohol/
Tweed, V. (2014, November 1). Calming Pet Anxiety. Retrieved from https://www.betternutrition.com/natural-living/calming-pet-nxiety
The Dangers of Poor Dental Hygiene in Pets. (2015, February 24). Retrieved from https://www.centrestreetanimalhospital.com/the-dangers-of-poor-dental-hygiene-in-pets/
Betancourt, N. , García-Contreras, L. and Sánchez, T. (2015) Propolis in Dogs: Clinical Experiences and Perspectives (A Brief Review). Open Journal of Veterinary Medicine, 5, 11-17. doi: 10.4236/ojvm.2015.51002. Retrieved from http://file.scirp.org/Html/2-2280197_53251.htm