Chances are you know dental health is important not only for your dog’s mouth, but can also be the epicenter for your dog’s overall well-being. Whatever is going on inside that generator of slobbery kisses is vitally important to keeping your dog happy and healthy. Dental disease can have a negative impact on the digestive system, kidneys, liver and heart1. Also, dog breath, need we say more?
But the majority of us -- yes I’m guilty too -- don’t regularly check our dog’s mouth. I wasn’t sure what to look for, and not sure how to look, so I just left it up to her annual vet exam and her quarterly teeth cleaning at the groomers. The good news is it is actually pretty simple to keep an eye on their dental health, plus there’s been a lot of great innovation in dog dental science that can help with better oral care.
Before we dive into some of those smarter solutions, it is important to know what you should be looking for in signs of oral disease2. We all should be checking for these on a weekly basis. Yes, weekly. If you start when your dog is young, she will get used to the routine attention. You might be able to make it a fun game or trick that is rewarded with a treat – or even better, a dental chew.
Things we need to watch for include:
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Inflamed gums
- Tumors in the gums
- Cysts under the tongue
- Loose Teeth
- Plaque & Tartar build-up (yellow-ish brown coating around gum and tooth intersection)
If you see any of these issues, contact your veterinarian before they progress and get worse.
In addition to the weekly “open wide” review, here are some simple tips you can do from home in addition to regular vet check-ups and professional cleanings to help keep that panting mouth healthy:
1. DIET is everything. Kibble can provide a good base for your dog’s diet, but falls short in several ways…and it may be surprising to know one of them is dental. “The fact is, all kibbles, regardless of advertised benefits to the contrary, cause dental disease in dogs. Plaques, stained teeth and tartar buildup have been accepted as normal for most dogs when this is a very unnatural sign of improper diet, bacterial imbalance and chronic disease,” says Dana Scott in a Dogs Naturally Magazine article3.
2. HOME BRUSHING, I wasn’t sure who would hate this more, me or my dog. But I tried it and within a week we got the hang of it quite easily! As caring pet parents, we already take extra time to ensure they’re on the right diet and we regularly make sure they are groomed and exercised daily. By adding home brushing to your regime, you can really round out their health to the fullest!
You know your dog best and it may take time and patience, but if my dog can start to get the hang of it perhaps your dog can too. I like these instructions from Web MD: “How to Brush Your Dogs Teeth”4 and prefer the toothbrush that fits over my finger for ease. There are also dental wipes or pads that can be used that some dogs prefer to physical brushing. After you get a good handle on the plaque, you can maintain your dog’s teeth by brushing them with coconut oil (we love natural solutions). Aim to brush 3 to 4X a week if you can. Develop a routine and weave in a fun reward like a dental chew to really make it an enjoyable experience for them.
3. SMARTMOUTH Which leads us to the last and most enjoyable tip, DENTAL CHEWS, an easy and yummy way to clean teeth. These shouldn’t replace home brushing, but they are a great way to help maintain the good work you’ve started.
There are so many options out there focused on unique shapes, flavors and sizes it’s a little overwhelming. If they can “all” clean teeth then what is the best option? What’s in these chews? Are these basic dental chews essentially disposable toothbrushes?
This is where The Missing Link’s Smartmouth™ dental chews come in. While the unique ridges clean teeth, reduce plaque & tartar and freshen breath, Smartmouth™ delivers a daily vitamin supplement to help support healthy gums, healthy skin, a shiny coat, better mobility and overall health and wellness.
So while you’re checking off that list of all that you do for your dog, you can also check off “daily superfood vitamin supplement” too. All while you’re dog just thinks they are getting a delicious treat. And that’s why we call it a chew with benefits.
By taking these simple steps, we can help ensure our dogs live healthier and prevent painful oral infections. And hey, no more dog breath!
1.MedMD.com "Oral Hygiene And Your Dog's Health"
2.WebMD.com "10 Tips for Better Dental Health In Dogs"
3.Dogs Naturally Magazine "The Raw Food Benefit To Your Dog's Oral Health"
4.WebMD "How To Brush Your Dog's Teeth"
This article is for informational purposes only. Please see a vet if your pet shows any symptoms of oral disease or discomfort.