Since doggy dentures aren’t a thing, keeping your pup’s teeth clean and gums healthy is crucial for their overall health and well-being. Obviously, the best way to get your dog’s teeth clean is to have the vet scrape them while your dog is under anesthesia. This can be very expensive and there are risks associated with anesthesia, so you want to do everything you can to keep your dog’s teeth clean yourself.
Brushing your dog’s teeth every day with a dog-safe toothpaste is the best way to do that, but some dogs hate it and will run from the sight of a toothbrush. Luckily, there are other options that your dog might actually enjoy. Here are 10 ways to clean your dog’s teeth that they won’t hate.
#1 – Natural dental sprays
If your dog will hold still long enough for you to pick up their lips on either side of their mouth, a natural canine dental spray may be a good option. Many dental sprays will help reduce and prevent dental plaque and tartar build-up as well as control the bacteria that causes bad breath, as long as you can manage to spray the product directly onto your dog’s most-affected teeth. As a bonus, sprays often give your dog minty-fresh breath.
#2 – Healthy/natural diet
Dog food companies would like to convince you that dry kibble is better for your dog’s teeth than wet food. Relying on kibble to keep your dog’s teeth clean would be as effective as expecting crackers to keep your teeth clean. Fresher diets with healthier ingredients tend to help improve your dog’s overall health and well-being, and that includes their dental health.
#3 – Dental chew toys
There are lots of toys on the market designed to encourage your dog to chew. Dental chew toys with lots of variety in texture can help scrape the plaque off your dog’s teeth as they relax and enjoy their primal instinct to chew. Your dog should always be supervised when playing with chew toys to make sure they don’t swallow any large pieces.
#4 – Raw bones
While cooked bones can splinter and cause all sorts of problems for your dog, raw bones are a fantastic way to help keep your dog’s teeth clean while satisfying their urge to chew. Keep in mind that you’ll want to choose size-appropriate bones. A chicken wing could choke a Great Dane and a cow femur would be a tall order for a Yorkie.
Remember, never give your dog cooked bones! They can easily splinter and cause intestinal damage.
#5 – Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has been referred to as “nature’s toothpaste”. The antimicrobial properties of this popular oil not only promote dental health, but dogs go absolutely bonkers for the flavor.
Here’s our favorite tip in regards to coconut oil: grab a healthy dog friendly vegetable like a carrot, poke holes in it with a knife, and drip liquid coconut oil into the holes. Then throw the carrot stick in the freezer for a few minutes and then serve to your pup. Make no mistake, this is going to make a colossal mess, but your dog is going to have a great time gnawing on the carrot, all while cleaning their teeth in a safe and effective way!
#6 – Tooth wipes
If your dog will tolerate you putting your fingers in their mouth but runs at the sight of a toothbrush, then tooth wipes may be an ideal option. They allow you to remove plaque, tartar, and bad breath bacteria from your dog’s mouth by simply running a small cloth wipe along the edges of their teeth and gums.
#7 – Bully Sticks
Sometimes you want to give them something that lasts longer than a dental treat but is tastier than a toy and less messy than a raw bone. Bully sticks might just be the all time favorite chew for most dogs! These tough chews can keep your dog occupied, satisfy their chewing instinct, and help scrape plaque and tartar off of your dog’s teeth. What could be better? Just be sure to supervise your dog – some dogs may swallow large pieces. Also, don’t give too many of them, as they are a higher calorie treat.
#8 – Water Additives
There are many great water additives on the market today that make dental care as simple as dropping a bit of liquid into your dog’s water bowl. Some dogs dislike the taste or smell, but if water additives work for your dog, it’s one of the easiest methods to promote dental hygiene.
#9 – Deer & Elk Antlers
Antlers are also a favorite of many dogs. By chewing on them, they gradually chip away at the antler and massage their gums and teeth, removing plaque deposits. One antler could potentially last your dog many days or even weeks. Make sure to choose a product that is a naturally shed antler, and avoid velvet antler products which are cut from live animals.
#10 – Dental treats (probably your dog’s favorite choice!)
You love to treat your dog anyway, so doesn’t it make sense to choose a treat that will help keep their teeth clean? If you’re already buying dental treats for your beloved pup, why not choose one your dog will love that ALSO provides healthy meals for shelter dogs waiting for their forever homes?
The iHeartDogs™ unique and advanced Triple Enzyme Dental Stick formula for dogs is specifically designed to control plaque, reduce tartar buildup, freshen breath, and help maintain healthy teeth and gums. Developed by veterinarians and proudly manufactured in the USA, the tasty Dental Sticks combine a natural abrasive cleansing action with a proprietary triple enzyme source, peppermint, and the flavonoid curcumin to help support dental health.
The treats are grain-free, gluten-free, low-calorie, and low-fat, and each purchase provides 7 meals for shelter dogs! To learn more, click here.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional.