Dog dental care is essential to dog dental health, as well as their overall health. Plaque and tartar build up can lead to periodontal disease for your dog, including gingivitis and gum disease, infections and even serious health complications.
Providing Dental Care for Dogs
Dogs need dental care from the time they start to get their teeth until the end of their lives. Dogs can’t take care of their teeth themselves in the domestic world in many cases. You can do your part in helping your dog maintain good oral health by brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis, feeding high quality dry food, providing safe chew toys, and following through with your vet’s recommendations.
According to researcher, Bradley Quest, “adding a dental chew to the diet resulted in statistically significant reductions in plaque and calculus accumulation, and oral malodor while improving gingival indices.”
Another study, published by the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry, studied the effects of dental chews on oral hygiene. Research stated, “the accumulation of dental deposits, development of oral malodor, and development of gingivitis were assessed in two groups of dogs; one fed a dry diet only, and the other fed the same dry diet supplemented by the daily addition of the new dental hygiene chew. Daily addition of the dental hygiene chew to the dry diet was effective in reducing plaque and calculus accumulation on the tooth surfaces, and also reduced the severity of gingivitis and oral malodor as compared to feeding the dry diet only.”
If a dog’s dental health is not maintained, this could lead to gingivitis and eventually periodontal disease. In severe cases of dental disease, dogs can lose teeth, or even go as far as losing a portion of their jaw bone.
Periodontal disease includes gingivitis and periodontitis, aka gum disease. Periodontal disease is commonly found in our dogs and cats. It’s caused by infection and inflammation in the tissues surrounding the teeth often due to plaque bacteria. The oral cavity (mouth) can host bacteria and allow them to thrive in the plaque on your dog’s teeth.
Bacterial plaque buildup will stimulate an inflammatory response leading to gingivitis. There are ‘good’ bacteria in the mouth to help maintain a stable environment which lives in harmony with the body. When there is harmony, there is no immune response because the body doesn’t feel it necessary. If the plaque on your dog’s teeth becomes too thick, like in the case of poor oral hygiene, the ‘bad’ bacteria can overtake the good.
The bacteria found in the teeth of dogs with periodontal disease often include the following:
- Bacteroides fragilis
- Porphyromonas gulae
- Porphyromonas salivosa
- Porphyromonas denticanis
- Prevotella intermedia
- Bacteroides splanchnicus
Periodontal disease often occurs in response to an abundance of the above bacteria. This can result in intense bone and tissue damage. Causes, other than poor hygiene, include:
- Thin bone
- Age of the dog
- Underlying conditions
Monitor Your Dog's Dental Health
Your dog’s teeth should be examined at least once a year by your veterinarian. If they aren’t checked at the annual checkup, you should request for them to be checked at that time. If you notice your dog’s teeth are cracked or broken, or see any signs of unhealthy gums, they should be checked sooner rather than later.
The following problems should be addressed as soon as they are realized:
- Foul, odorous breath
- Broken or loose teeth
- Discolored teeth
- Reduced appetite
- Pain while eating
- Swelling near the mouth
- Dropping food while eating
If you check your dog’s teeth, be sure to use caution. If your dog is in pain, he or she may nip or bite out of instinct. They aren’t trying to hurt you, it’s just their way of telling you their mouth hurts and they are in pain.
Natural Products for Dog Dental Health
Choosing the right products for dog dental health can be a challenge with so many options for dog dental care, so we've put together our recommendations for the best natural products for dog dental health.
Teef: Drinkable Dental Prebiotic for Dogs
Teef, a drinkable dental health powder specifically formulated for dogs, has become available to improve oral hygiene. It’s added to your dog’s water; simple. This doesn’t mean you can neglect taking your dog for check-ups or no longer monitor, but it can assist with maintaining or creating a balance of bacteria in your dog’s mouth.
If your dog has severe dental problems already along with bad breath, add one scoop of the Teef powder to four cups of fresh water once per day. For daily maintenance, add one scoop to eight cups of water per day.
If you have multiple dogs in your home, you can still utilize the Teef powder. Fill up a half gallon (1 scoop) or full gallon (2 scoops) pitcher with fresh, clean water. Keep it in the refrigerator and top off water dishes as they begin to empty. The water in the pitcher should be used daily for optimal results. Drinking the water consistently will coat your dog’s mouth and maintain a harmonious environment.
Teef is tasteless and odorless so your dog won’t even notice it’s in there. According to Scientifica, these types of additions have been found to “inhibit the proliferation of orally-occurring bacteria; have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential; and have breath freshening and tooth whitening properties.”
Deer Velvet & Manuka Oral Spray
This oral spray, created by Imperial Pet Co, helps support your dog's dental health with a unique formulation of deer velvet and manuka honey, to help fight infection, gingivitis and support oral health.
Deer velvet has long been used to boost strength, improve the way the immune system works, counter the effects of stress, and promote rapid recovery from illness. It is also commonly used to ward off infections.
Manuka honey has strong antibacterial properties, that set it apart from regular honey. Additionally, Manuka honey has antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. In fact, it has traditionally been used for wound healing, soothing sore throats, preventing tooth decay and improving digestive issues.
For Regular Maintenance: Spray on each side of the upper and centre gums 3 times weekly.
For Tartar Build Up: Spray directly onto tartar 2x a day for 2-3 weeks. Tartar can be removed gently by toothbrush or swab after 7 days.
Natural Tooth & Gum Wipes
Earthbath Tooth & Gum Wipes for pets are an easy, convenient way to maintain daily dental care. These natural wipes remove plaque, tartar and odor-causing bacteria that builds up in your pet's mouth. The formula is free of parabens and alcohol, and safe for your dog's mouth.These natural wipes can be used to supplement your dog's normal brushing and routine maintenance, to help fight dental diseases and keep their breath minty fresh. They're also safe to use on puppies and kittens over 6 weeks of age.
About Angela Ardolino
Angela Ardolino is a holistic pet expert who has been caring for animals for over 20 years and operates a rescue farm, Fire Flake Farm, in Florida. She is also the owner of Beautify the Beast, a natural pet salon and shop. After getting her certificate in Medical Cannabis Biology and Therapeutic use from the University of Vermont School of Medicine, she founded Hemp Dog Health to provide high quality, all-natural medical cannabis products designed specifically for pets. Angela has seven dogs, Odie a 12-year-old mini-schnauzer, Nina an 8-year-old Doberman. Jolene a 7-year-old mutt, Maza a 7-year-old mutt, Rhemi an 8-year-old poodle, Potato a 15-year-old shih-tzu, and Miss Daisie a 15-year-old black lab, plus 4-10 more at any time she is fostering or boarding. She uses Full Spectrum Hemp Extract on all her pets at her rescue farm every day, and has since 2016. She is a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, the Veterinary Cannabis Association and has trained hundreds medical doctors and veterinarians about the therapeutic uses of medical cannabis on animals. Visit www.angelaardolino.com for more information.