How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Naturally
As doting pet parents we’ve learned to accept big, wet, slobbery kisses as signs of affection from our little guys. And though we know Rover’s breath will never be minty fresh, it should never be so heavy or off-putting that we find ourselves dodging his poochy pecks or avoiding face-to-face contact.
If it ever does come to that, it’s possible that poor dental hygiene is the culprit. Without regular maintenance, your pet’s teeth can become weakened or damaged and his gums diseased and inflamed. When this occurs, you’re going to have not only stinky breath, but potentially serious infections that can spread throughout his body.
While damaged teeth, infected gums or full-blown periodontal disease (tartar build up under the gums that creates pockets of bacteria and causes teeth to loosen) all require the skill of a veterinarian, there are some simple at-home steps that we as pet owners can take before their little chompers reach the seriously-bad-breath-warning stage and they include regular cleaning and inspection.
Let’s look at these seven tips to keeping your pet’s “pearly whites” clean and healthy:
- Add Cinnamon to their Food
Cinnamon is full of antioxidants, and its naturally antibacterial properties can help ward off tooth decay and combat bad breath. Just a teaspoon sprinkled into a bowl of dry or wet food and you’re good to go.
Related: Spicy Topic: Can Dogs Eat Cinnamon?
- Brush with Coconut Oil
When those artificially flavored doggie toothpastes fail, try dabbing your pet’s toothbrush into this natural and flavorful antibacterial. Dogs are known to like the nutty taste which makes brushing easier.
- Swab with Grapefruit Seed Extract
Follow up your brushing with a diluted mixture of water and grapefruit seed extract. Dab with a cotton swab onto gum lines and because grapefruit seed extract is naturally antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, it will help prevent potential infections.
- Supplement their Diet with Probiotics
Bacteria found in your pooch’s gastrointestinal system is also found in his mouth. Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance and natural options include bananas, apples, mushrooms and green leafy vegetables. And if you’re really looking to give your dog something to cut the bad breath, consider combining the probiotics with enzymes and fiber. Good breath begins in the gut, so when you take care of the gut, you’re actually helping take care of their stinky breath and teeth too. We like Bernie’s Perfect Poop because it combines pre- and probiotics with high-quality fiber and digestive enzymes to break food down appropriately and keep the bad breath at bay.
- Give them something to chew.
Giving your dog chews is important and key for helping get the tartar and other junk off their teeth. The issue always comes with whether or not your dog will actually chew on the toys and chews you give them, though. Sometimes, it’s new and your dog will go ga-ga until he realizes that it’s just a ‘meh’ chew and then you lose the benefit. So, the best thing to give to chew for tartar control is a bone.
There’s a reason the saying about a dog and a bone exists–and it’s because dogs and bones go together like …well, a dog and a bone. Bones have to be raw, though, and they have to be appropriately sized. When your dog is done chewing for a bit, throw it in the refrigerator to give a new sensation. Many pet parents love giving their dogs antlers, and these do last for a long time, but it’s important to monitor your dog with bones or antlers as you don’t want them to damage their teeth or choke.
- Use an Effective Toothbrush
Pitch the soft kiddy brush and opt for one designed to brush a dog’s teeth (in other words, quickly). Triple-head options are on the market and cover all sides of the tooth while massaging the gum-line. And if we’re really honest, if you can get your dog to let you use a vibrating toothbrush, that’ll really be the winning brush.
7. Include Fresh Herbs in their Meals
As a natural remedy to stinky breath that is not necessarily the result of hygiene issues, try adding a little chopped mint, parsley or cilantro to your pooch’s diet. All are safe and tasty options for dogs.
More by Mary Simpson