If dog ownership is new to you, there’s every chance you’ve spent the last few weeks becoming well-acquainted with everything it takes to keep your furry friend happy and healthy — after all, they form a big part of any family, right? From learning about the expansive world of worming tablets and vaccines to making sure no bars of chocolate are left in plain sight and making sure you clean your dog’s teeth regularly, there are plenty of do’s and don’t when it comes to taking care of a new dog.
One of the biggest do’s that often ends up falling by the wayside is doggie dental hygiene. Yep, apparently around 80% of dogs over the age of three have active dental disease because as owners we’re not looking after their little pearler whites as much or as often as we should be.
The most common type of dental disease in dogs is periodontal disease, which is a term used to describe infection and associated inflammation of the periodontium (the tissues surrounding the tooth). Periodontal diseases begin with gingivitis and left untreated, the infection often spreads deeper into the tooth socket, destroying the bone. Ultimately, the tooth becomes loose and may fall out over time.
So, how do you prevent this from happening to your pup? The RSPCA recommends having your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned at least once a year, but between visits, there are plenty of small changes that you can implement to keep their smile healthy at home and avoid any extra unnecessary vet bills.
Give your pups something to chew on
There are all sorts of treats, toys, chews, and sticks out there that claim to help clean your dog’s teeth, but they’re not all equally effective. You can ask your vet for recommendations, or check the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)’s website for their latest list of approved dental products for dogs, which the organisation tests and verifies based on their ability to prevent plaque and tartar accumulation.
One of our personal recommendations? Bell and Bone’s dental sticks and puppy chews. Differing from other commercial dental products, it offers a meat-first approach, combined with superfoods for oral care benefits such as seaweed, manuka honey, turmeric, and activated charcoal — all of which are science-backed active ingredients known to prevent and reduce plaque and tartar.
You can check out Bell & Bone’s full range here.
Brush their teeth
Just like us, dogs experience plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth. “Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the single most effective thing you can do to keep their teeth healthy between dental cleanings, and may reduce the frequency or even eliminate the need for periodic dental cleaning by your veterinarian,” according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Ideally, a dog’s teeth should be brushed daily, but if that’s not happening, a few times a week should suffice, the AVMA says.