Don’t forget Fido’s Dental Care!!!
While pampering our pets with endless supplies of balls, chew toys, and treats, there is a very important part of everyday maintenance that we often overlook: dental care! With everything else going on in our lives, this is just one more thing that we have to do, right? Well, I promise you, it will be well worth your time!
Plaque buildup has been scientifically proven to have a negative impact on your pet’s health. More specifically, it causes heart disease that could have otherwise been prevented. I won’t even mention the $500/year I spend on my Maltese who has the WORST dental health in the world. His teeth just fall out, his breath would knock a horse over, and he has a hard time chewing things. Every year, I have to take him in and get plaque removed, the dead teeth removed, and he still continues to have problems. I blame myself, I didn’t take care of his teeth. BAD pet owner!!
Some commonly used, or maybe not commonly used methods make dental care easier for us. So, how do we choose which ones work the best? Well, I guess it all depends on your lifestyle and how much you are willing to spend.
Orapup (TM) makes a product called Lickies that the dog can just lick off of a sucker type of handle. It contains all-natural enzymes and anti-plaque properties. Lickies are made in the USA in a FDA approved facility. It fortifies against gum disease and reduces bacteria and tartar. I have never tried these, but I think that I am going to get some and see if I like them.
Some companies make “wipes” that you can just use to wipe off their teeth and have some type of “toothpaste” on it. I found this harder to do. My puppy is ok to let me brush her teeth, but she is a mouthy puppy and likes to bite me while I am trying to clean her teeth. I prefer to just avoid all that. I am trying to teach her NOT to bite.
One company makes a loofah chew toy that is supposed to clean their teeth. I tried these and they were a MESS and didn’t last long. Considering the cost, I won’t try them again. There are water additives, foams, and sprays that all claim to get rid of plaque. My dogs will not drink the water if I put it in there. I do take them out for exercise, and when they are SUPER thirsty I can get them to drink a little of it.
As you see in the photo above, there is always the good, old fashioned toothbrush. They make toothpaste for dogs, in differing flavors. Believe it, or not, they even make an electric toothbrush for dogs. I prefer the old fashioned toothbrush and toothpaste method, to know I am at least getting it done once a day. I try to remember to do it at night, when I am brushing my own teeth. My dogs have a particular liking to Drs. Foster and Smith brand dog toothpaste. You see the toothbrushes above, and they are worn. That is because those are the brushes I use. My 11 year old asked me for one, last year. She argued that she could “really save some time” while brushing her teeth if she used one of those brushes. I didn’t give her one…… I AM the “meanest mom.” Ha ha ha ha.
One of my favorite things to use is a deer or elk antler for the to chew on. They love to try to dig the marrow out, and they are strong and durable. I leave these in with their toys so that they can have access to them whenever they want. I throw them away when the marrow seems to be all gone and go get a new one. I am not rich, so I look for them at TJ Maxx, and can often find them for less than the $30 you pay at a pet store. My dogs prefer the ones that are cut length-wise to expose part of the marrow.
And then we have the endless display of edible dental chews at the pet store. There are mint flavored one, rawhides (which I will NEVER give my dog, personal preference,) nyla bones, plastic ones, you name it.
Personally, I also really like the CET pet chews that are called “VeggieDent Chews.” One a day has been shown to help control plaque and tartar. I have 6 dogs, so it is hard to find the time to brush all of their teeth every single day. However, they are what I would consider expensive, so I don’t use them every single day.
If you are hestitant to try brushing their teeth, there are a lot of wonderful youTube videos that show you how to brush their teeth. I have found that they like to lick off the toothpaste, and I move their gums up and brush the outside and then they kinda “chew” on the toothbrush and while they do this their mouth is open so I give the teeth a few swipes. Starting when they are puppies is optimal, but better late than never. 🙂