It isn’t just about stinky doggie breath. Taking care of your dog’s teeth can have a major impact on his comfort and health. If a dog has swollen gums or rotten teeth, he will be stressed and in a lot of pain — and you may not even be aware of it. The bacteria can get into his bloodstream and affect organs including his heart, kidneys, and liver.
According to the American Veterinary Dental College, periodontal disease is the most common condition in adult dogs. The good news is that there are ways to prevent it. And it starts at home. All you have to do is brush your dog’s teeth.
It may take your dog (and you) a little time to get used to it. Dogs generally aren’t fans of humans poking around in their mouths, so it may call for lots of affection and tasty treats. Once a day brushing is recommended, but aiming for three or four times a week will do the trick. (If there is no way that your dog is interested in getting her teeth brushed, our Bye, Bye Dog Breath line freshens breath, removes plaque and strengthens gums without a toothbrush.)
You can buy a toothbrush made specifically for dogs. They are more angled than human toothbrushes and often come with a fingertip brush that slides over your finger.
As far as toothpaste, do not use human brands. Ever. They are too abrasive for dogs, unsafe to swallow and the flavor can be too strong. Remember, your dog will not be spitting after brushing. Either use commercial dog toothpaste, which comes in yummy seafood and meat flavors, or make your own potion.
For those looking to make an at-home paste, here are four you can use.
These ingredients work together for optimal dental health.
1 cup unrefined coconut oil
- Coconut oil improves the absorption of the ingredients and is antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and deodorizer to banish bad breath.
½ teaspoon turmeric
- Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antimicrobial. It’s also an antioxidant and helps to remove plaque.
½ teaspoon kelp
- Kelp is an antibacterial that removes plaque and imbues the mouth with minerals and chlorophyll.
1/8 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- Parsley is an anti-inflammatory, a deodorizer, and has vitamins and minerals that promote dental health.
Lower the cup of coconut oil into a pot of hot water to soften it (keep the water level below the top of the cup). In a bowl, combine the coconut oil with turmeric, kelp and parsley. Mix together thoroughly and store in refrigerator.
For the best results, use a food processor to make this paste. Put all these ingredients into the mixing bowl with the standard chopping blade:
½ cup virgin organic coconut oil
2 tablespoons baking soda
½ cup fresh parsley
¼ fresh mint
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 splash of broth (most dogs go for beef or chicken)
2-3 drops tea tree oil (an antibacterial)
Use the pulse function until the mixture is blended into a smooth paste. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. This will keep for a few weeks; when the coconut oil smells rancid, it’s time to toss and start over.
Not only will this keep your dog’s teeth clean, but he’ll like the taste, too. Put these ingredients into a blender:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cube of chicken or beef bullion
3 tablespoons baking soda
6-7 mint leaves
Blend together until the mint leaves are completely chopped. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator. Use a pea-size amount on your dog’s toothbrush, and don’t worry when he swallows!
This recipe is simple, effective and doesn’t use coconut oil. Dogs love it because it tastes good. Parsley tones done the meaty smell, so your dog’s breath is fresh.
Mix these ingredients in a small bowl:
6 tablespoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cube of beef bouillon
1 teaspoon dried or fresh parsley
1-2 tablespoons of water
You can add more water if needed to make a paste. Store in an airtight container.