Our dogs dental care is one of the most important contributions we can make as pet parents to our dog’s overall health. It can also be a really big challenge as dog’s are not always on board with getting their teeth brushed. I have a mix of super cooperative dogs and also a few that absolutely won’t let me near their little choppers at all. My preference is always to do dental care at home but the reality is that some dogs have to dog to vet for a dental every year.
Over the years I have tried just about every pet dental product on the market for home dental care; here are a few of my favorites.
Dog Dental Toothbrushes
Ok, don’t laugh. My favorite toothbrush to use on my dogs is the Oral B Spin Brush. Getting a dog used to an electric tooth brush takes a little time but it is totally worth it. Electric tooth brushes do a far better job of cleaning teeth and are so much easier on the gums. Training dogs to tolerate the spin brush takes only a few simple steps. Introduce them to being brushed with the tooth brush off…no biggie…if they accept a regular tooth brush they probably won’t be bothered by a spin brush that is off. Brush their teeth with the brush off for several sessions but also turn the brush on and off over and over right next to them and reward them every time the brush goes on (I use teeny tiny training treats for rewards). Use your cheery voice to make the sound of the toothbrush very exciting. Keep moving the brush closer to their mouth turning it on and off. Eventually put it in their mouth for a second or so. Slowly work up to actually touching it to their teeth. If you stick with it they will accept it eventually. Some of my dogs have no problem with the spin brush except for the very front smaller teeth which are more sensitive so I turn the brush off for those teeth. Training my dogs to get brushed with a spin brush has paid big dividends in keeping their teeth healthy and we don’t have bleeding gums like you often get with a regular brush.
Many of the dogs that arrive here at the Manor have had a lifetime of little to no dental care and suffer from what I call “trench mouth”. A lot of rotten, smelly and very sore teeth. When they are healthy enough they get a professional dental treatment. But to get them started with home dental care I use disposable dental sponges. I buy these in bulk off of Amazon. The sponges are a really great way to brush without hurting already sensitive gums. I also them on my teeny tiny breed dogs whose mouths are so small that that it almost impossible to get a tooth brush in.
Dog Dental Toothpaste
I am huge fan of Virbac products. I have been using their dog toothpaste for over 20 years. It comes in a variety of flavors but we always order the poultry flavor. My dogs love it. Virbac products are NOT cheap. I order mine in 6 packs from American Diabetes Wholesale as this is the best price I have found for all of Virbac products. There are less expensive options for dog toothpaste on the market; perhaps even check with your vet as they may offer some. Please don’t use human toothpaste on your dogs though. Dogs don’t spit…they have to swallow the toothpaste you use on them so it needs to be safe for dogs to ingest.
I have written in the past about Virbac dental chews. I am really strict about what my dogs are allowed for snacks and chews. These are the only chews I allow my dogs and I have used them for over 20 years. I purchase these at American Diabetes Wholesale as well. Again, they are not cheap but they do really help with dental health and I have never had a choking or digestion issue with them. Their chews come in sizes; XL to very small.
Dog Dental Tatar Control
Even with regular brushing my dogs still get some tartar on their teeth. I use both a hand held scaler and an electric scaler to remove tartar. If its a tartar spot that is small and easy to scrape off I use a small hand held scaler. On tougher spots I use an electric scaler (you can get fairly inexpensive scalers these days on Amazon). The electric scaler takes a while. I don’t press the scaler on their teeth rather I just run it along the tough tartar several times…usually over several sessions. Eventually the tartar will break loose. If I’m working on removing tartar I do very small amounts of work at a time. This is not a fun event for any dog so I keep sessions really short and always reward them for working with me.
When I get a new dog that doesn’t have “trench mouth” requiring a professional dental but definitely needs some tartar removal I also use an Oral Care gel. There are a lot of gels and sprays on the market for helping to remove tartar. I would ask your vet before using any of them to make sure the ingredients are safe. I would also caution you that most of them (including the one I use) have alcohol in them so this is not something you want to use a lot and you really should read the dosing instructions carefully. The gels can help loosen up some tough tartar spots but they are definitely not something I would use as part of a daily dog dental routine (no matter what the packaging says).
One last product that I absolutely love to use (on both me and the dogs) is BR Rinse. Its an all natural rinse that keeps breath fresh and teeth white. For the dogs I pour a small amount of the rinse over the toothpaste on their toothbrush. It helps keep their choppers sparkly and their breath fresh.
I have two dogs at the Manor that cannot be anesthetized so they cannot ever have a professional dental treatment; Snoopy is one of them. So dog dental care really is no joke around here and we brush teeth every day. The only way to completely avoid ever needing a professional dental is daily brushing…that is straight from the vet. My Mountain Cur, Buster, is almost 10 years old and he has never had to have a dental because we brush daily. I am not being judgey…believe me…I have several senior small breed females that have to get professional dentals every single year…they will absolutely not have any part of daily tooth brushing. But with most dogs it really can be done if you really work at it and make it fun for them.
Thanks for reading our post! I wish you happy at home dog dental care! Sign up for our blog if you would like future posts. We blog about life at Misfit Manor about once per week. Our happy pack of Misfits love sharing their adventures and stories.
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Nancy & The Misfits