Just how proper dental care is important for us, it’s equally as important for your pooch.
And just how neglecting our dental health leads to poor oral hygiene and consequent dental problems, our pets can experience similar mishaps too – plaque building up on your dog’s teeth is one of them.
Failure to take proper routine care of your dog’s teeth can seriously affect your dog’s health and wellbeing and significantly shorten his lifespan.
Which is why it’s important to regularly remove any plaque build-up you notice on your dog’s teeth and, even better, to take good care of them to prevent that build-up in the first place.
Plaque and Tartar in Dogs
You feed your dog his meals with love: the food he eats along with bacteria and saliva in the mouth combine to create plaque.
Plaque is a gummy, sticky substance and it can develop even within a few hours after a meal.
As this plaque builds up (if it has not been cleaned or removed), it hardens to create tartar. This can happen as fast as within 24 to 36 hours.
Tartar (often brown) is hard and rough and can build itself up above and below the gumline. It is the cause for so many dental problems, such as tooth decay and loss, gum and periodontal diseases, infection, inflammation, and is a potential risk for other serious problems that could affect other parts of your dog.
To avoid getting yourself and your dog in the hassle of having to deal with dental problems resulting from tartar, it is important to keep their teeth clean.
So, we’ve put together our top tips on how to best get rid of plaque on your dog’s teeth, but also how you can prevent this type of risky build up from happening.
How to Get Rid of Plaque on Dog’s Teeth
1. Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
Giving your dog’s teeth a regular brush is one of the most important routines you should maintain to ensure your dog’s long term dental health and general wellbeing.
And obviously, we also mean the number one way to prevent and remove plaque build-up.
Make sure you use a toothpaste designed for dogs – human toothpaste can upset your pooch’s stomach.
If your dog isn’t used to having his teeth brushed, you will need to introduce it to him slowly and carefully. Be prepared to have some patience.
Here are some dog teeth-brushing tips that we think will help you in this endeavor:
Start brushing their teeth from a young age. You can usually start brushing them at the 8-week mark.
Introduce it to them slowly. First, try rubbings your finger up and down on his teeth and gums before putting a toothbrush in straight away. Super tip: you can first dip your finger in something he likes!
Be prepared that this will take time. Even if your dog does let you brush his teeth, he might start by only letting you do it for a couple of seconds. Allow him to adapt to his own pace and build it up slowly from there.
Reward your pet and praise him throughout the brushing process! This should be good for him; it shouldn’t stress him out.
Make sure to brush your dog’s gumline as well as his teeth, as this is where plaque and tartar usually stick.
2. Dog Tooth Wipes
Dental wipes are also a good option if your dog is often fussy about having his teeth brushed, although they are far more efficient when paired with toothbrushing.
They’re a great way to wipe debris and plaque off of your dog’s teeth.
However, they have the disadvantage of not having access to the small spaces between your dog’s teeth.
3. Dog Dental Treats and Chews
Lots of people might not know this, but just like how you can give your dog a long chew to stop him from being destructive, you can also do the same as a dental preventative measure.
Dental treats, raw bones, and even some toys can be used to fight plaque, scraping it away and preventing its build-up.
You can also change your dog’s diet to one that is specifically catered to reduce plaque build-up.
Specialized formulas, mostly involving kibble or biscuit, could be dry enough to brush off the plaque on your dog’s teeth. As a result, tartar development is also greatly reduced.
5. Professional Dental Cleaning
Sometimes, plaque and tartar build-up for so long that they can’t be removed by brushing your dog’s teeth anymore.
In that case, professional dental cleaning is the best way to stop damage to the teeth and any other harm that could be done with periodontal diseases that are left untreated.
It’s a simple procedure that is done under general anesthesia and could be done every 6-12 months at the first sign of tartar build-up; but it could be pricey.
6. Water Additive
A dental water additive is an oral hygiene solution that is formulated to clean and freshen your pooch’s mouth by reducing the bacterial count in his mouth.
Look at it as mouthwash (for humans), only consumable.
Since it comes in liquid form, you can easily add it to your dog’s water daily.
It might not feel like taking care of your dog’s teeth is a priority amongst their other needs, but we hope this article has given you some insight on how important it is!
Keeping your dog’s dental health in check not only ensures his long-term wellbeing and adds years to his life, but it also helps you get rid of his bad breath.
Plus, plaque that has built up for long enough to become tartar is an irreversible step, and it becomes impossible for you to remove it at home.
So, we’re sure no one wants an expensive visit to the doggy dentist – you can easily avoid it to begin with!