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How can I keep my dog's teeth clean and prevent dental disease?

May 21, 2023

Duncan Houston

Keeping your dog's teeth clean is essential for their overall health, as poor dental hygiene can lead to other more serious health issues. Here are several ways you can keep your dog's teeth clean, including the use of natural chew products, tooth brushing, and regular check-ups with a vet.


*1. Natural Chew Products:*

Chew toys and treats can naturally clean your dog's teeth by scraping away plaque. Here are a few examples of natural products that are safe for dogs:


- *Bully Sticks (Pizzle Sticks):* These are made from the bull's pizzle (penis), and are a natural, single-ingredient product that many dogs love. They're durable and long-lasting, allowing dogs to chew for extended periods. As dogs gnaw on these, plaque is removed from their teeth.

- *Rawhide:* This is a traditional dog chew, and it can help clean your dog's teeth. However, make sure it is fully digestible rawhide to prevent blockages in the digestive system.

- *Animal Tendons:* Tendons are high in collagen and glucosamine, which are beneficial to the joints. They are also a great option for dental health, as the tough texture helps to clean dogs' teeth.

- *Dental Chews:* There are many types of dental chews available on the market, some of which are made with natural ingredients. Dental chews are designed to be tough and long-lasting, helping to scrape away plaque and tartar.

- *Antlers and Bones:* Deer and elk antlers, as well as certain types of bones, are often used as natural chew toys. They're hard and long-lasting, providing a good workout for your dog's jaw and helping to clean their teeth. Remember, always supervise your dog when they are chewing, particularly with hard chews like antlers and bones, as these can potentially fracture teeth if chewed too aggressively.


*2. Tooth Brushing:*

Brushing your dog's teeth is one of the most effective ways to prevent plaque and tartar build-up. Here's how you can do it:

- *Toothbrush and Toothpaste:* Use a toothbrush specifically designed for dogs. Dog toothpaste, often flavored like poultry, beef, or other dog-friendly flavors, should be used because human toothpaste can upset a dog's stomach.

- *Frequency:* Ideally, you should aim to brush your dog's teeth daily, but if that's not possible, a minimum of three times a week is often recommended.

- *Technique:* Start slowly, letting your dog get used to the toothbrush and toothpaste. Begin by lifting your dog's lips and brushing the outer surfaces of the teeth, angling the bristles towards the gums. Over time, try to brush the inner surfaces of the teeth as well.


*3. Yearly Veterinary Check-Up:*

Regular dental check-ups with a vet are vital in maintaining your dog's oral health. A vet can do a thorough cleaning, check for signs of dental disease, and perform necessary extractions or other treatments. It's recommended that your dog get a dental check-up at least once a year, or more frequently if they have a history of dental issues.

By following these steps, you can help ensure your dog's teeth stay clean and healthy, reducing the risk of dental disease and contributing to a longer, healthier life for your dog.