Dogs require a lot of love, care and attention. Part of the doggy healthcare routine should include brushing its teeth frequently. While many pet owners wash and groom their pet dogs every week, they often forget about cleaning their pets pearly whites. You should try to brush your dog’s canines every day if possible or as often as you can.
Veterinarians report that periodontal disease in dogs is one of the most common reasons visit the clinic. So the importance of cleaning your dog’s teeth shouldn’t be overlooked. If your dog develops this disease of the teeth and gums it will need specialized treatment from the veterinarian which could be costly depending on the stage of the disease when it is diagnosed.
Since this is a common problem that is easy to prevent you should have your pets toothbrush and toothpaste ready to go.
When it comes to oral health you might be wondering what kind of toothpaste to use.
In This Article
Commercial Toothpaste Versus Homemade Toothpaste
Advantages of homemade toothpaste
- With homemade toothpaste blends you know exactly what is going into the product.
- It is more affordable than store brands.
- You get the satisfaction of knowing you made it yourself which is what drives many DIY creators.
- The ingredients are 100% natural.
Advantages of commercial toothpaste
- You save time as it’s always ready to use.
- It has a much longer shelf life.
- Many pet owners believe it is more effective than homemade products but this is debatable and how to measure.
Never use human toothpaste when brushing your dog’s teeth as it contains xylitol (an artificial sweetener) which is toxic to dogs. It can cause a drop in their blood sugar levels, seizures, diarrhea, vomiting and can lead to liver damage and even death. There are also other chemicals in human toothpaste that isn’t suitable for dogs.
Recipes for Homemade Dog Toothpaste
If you have conquered DIY dog toys and maybe homemade dog food you are probably keen to try your hand at creating your own doggy toothpaste. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to endure any more smelly dog kisses as you are greeted when you walk in the front door? If you are keen here are three of our favorite DIY dog toothpaste recipes that will keep your dog’s mouth fresh, healthy and clean.
The Easy Breezy Pooch Paste:
1 tablespoon of baking soda – which helps with plaque buildup
1 tablespoon of water or chicken broth
Just mix it together to make the toothpaste and where is that dog hiding now?
The Fancy Taste Paste:
1 tablespoon of baking soda
A dash of finely chopped herbs – mint, basil or parsley is great
Half a tablespoon of baking soda
Half a tablespoon of quality vegetable oil
Mix it together and refrigerate (should last 3-4 days).
The Canine Concoction Toothpaste:
1 cup of virgin coconut oil
Half a teaspoon of turmeric
A dash of finely chopped herbs – mint, basil or parsley is great
Mix the ingredients together and add water as needed to get the right consistency.
Other ingredients you could add as yummy alternatives are:
- A dash of salt
- Beef stock
- A pinch of ginger
Experiment until you find the winning combination that your dog seems to love. If you have a fussy eater you might need to try out a bunch of recipes before you discover the right formula. As long as a food substance is safe for dogs to eat you could try adding a dash for flavor to tempt your fussy eater. Even a little peanut butter can be tried when you make your own organic dog toothpaste.
Dog Toothpaste Ingredients
Most brands of commercial dog toothpaste include scrubbing ingredients that fight stains and plaque. A special type of dog toothpaste, enzymatic toothpaste, contains enzymes that reduce bacteria, therefore lessening tartar buildup and bad breath.
To get the same effects homemade products achieve the following.
Baking soda – has a mildly abrasive texture to remove plaque. Don’t use too much or your dog may suffer from an upset stomach.
Cinnamon – freshens doggy breathe.
Broths – smell delicious so encourages your dog to let you clean it’s teeth.
How to Brush Dogs Teeth
As with all training it is best to start them young in the puppy stage. This will make your life much easier down the track.
As well as toothpaste you need a brush that is especially designed for puppies and dogs (there are different sizes for puppies and different sized dogs). You can also buy a kind of tooth brush that slips over your finger instead of using a normal dog tooth brush. You can buy brushes from your pet store, supermarket, online or from your local vet.
If your puppy grows up with teeth brushing as a regular part of its routine it will be easy to get the task done. But brushing the teeth of an adult dog for the first time can be a bit more challenging. In that case you will have to spend more time persuading your dog to give you access to its mouth. Not impossible, but surely not easy either.
Start slowly and remember to be patient. At first the aim is to get the pup used to the feeling of having its teeth brushed. Let it taste the paste, chew and lick the brush as you gently brush the teeth and gums. In time your puppy will enjoy the experience and sensation of teeth brushing. It may even look forward to the daily brush.
When you dog behaves well during teeth cleaning make sure you reward it with pats, praise and cuddles. Even a pet treat will be a great way to show your pet he did well. By giving a reward your dog will make a positive association with the action of teeth brushing and it will be as easy as grooming its coat.
As a complimentary oral hygiene measure chew toys can be wonderful for dogs. When your pooch chews on a textured rubber toy its gums are massaged and its teeth are cleaned. The chewing action helps stimulate circulation in the gums and remove food debris similar to how flossing does for humans. The benefits are wonderful and your dog has a bunch of fun at the same time.
Chew toys are not a replacement to tooth brushing. But they are a great enhancement when combined with regular brushing.
What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontal disease is a disease of the teeth and gums caused by plaque and gingivitis. Food and bacteria build up along your dog’s gum line and plaque grows. Not only can periodontal disease damage your dog’s mouth, but it also can carry bacteria into its bloodstream. It can make it hard for your pet to eat and affect vital organs filtering and pumping blood.
The beginning stages can be hard to recognize. That is why early brushing is important.
In these advance stages of periodontal disease your precious pup can also suffer from discomfort, pain, eroded gums, pus build up and tooth loss.
How is Periodontal Disease Treated?
If your dog has developed periodontal disease it will need to have its teeth professionally cleaned by a vet or veterinarian dentist to remove the plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth. The best way to clean above and below the gum line is with your dog under anesthesia. This will be less stressful for your dog and easier for the vet to get the job done quickly and thoroughly.
After this dental treatment most dogs will see an instant improvement in their oral health. Following up with regular teeth brushing and vet cleanings will prevent a return of the disease.
This can be a costly procedure if the disease has advanced so prevention is recommended. A balanced and healthy diet can also help prevent periodontal disease.
Is Dog Toothpaste Safe?
Dog toothpaste is safe for dogs even if they swallow it. Dogs don’t know how to spit out toothpaste so that is why the ingredients of dog toothpaste are fine to ingest.
Some dogs may have allergies to toothpaste in the same way they can have an allergy to any kind of food. Toothpaste allergies in dogs are very rare.
Can Cats Use Dog Toothpaste?
Some brands of toothpaste are designed for cats and dogs. This is usually marketed as pet toothpaste. If a toothpaste in labeled as dog toothpaste it is better for dogs and an alternative should be found for your cat.
Can Dog Toothpaste Expire?
Yes, dog toothpaste can expire. Most will have an expiry date listed on the label. If not you can know the expiry date has passed if the toothpaste texture or color changes. If it becomes thicker, hard or runny you can throw it out. If the color changes it is also a sure sign of old and useless toothpaste. If you are brushing your dog’s teeth daily or at least several times a week you will probably go through a tube of toothpaste well before the expiry date.
Using old toothpaste won’t harm your dog. But it won’t do a proper job of cleaning the teeth.
For homemade blends of toothpaste it normally lasts 3-5 days. The good news is that its fast and easy to make.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Toothpaste
Dog toothpaste comes in different flavors and it is possible your dog will get confused and think this is a tasty treat. Chicken, malt, beef, peanut, seafood and vanilla-mint are just some of the interesting and fancy toothpaste flavors on the market. You could hardly blame your furry paws friend for trying to get an extra serving of a delicious treat.
If your dog eats the toothpaste on the brush don’t worry. No harm will come to your dog as the toothpaste product has been designed to account for that happening. But if you discover your adorable fur ball chewing on an empty tube of dog toothpaste you should watch it carefully for any signs of discomfort, illness or unusual reactions. If you see any signs take your dog to the vet.
If your dog accidentally eats human toothpaste take it straight to the vet.
Keep toothpaste, dog products and human food and products (such as cleaning products) away where your dog can’t reach them. Dogs and puppies are naturally curious by nature and will get into anything you leave lying around.
Which Dog Toothpastes Do Vets Recommend?
With so many excellent dog toothpaste brands on the market we are sure veterinarians will recommend a wide range of different toothpastes with varying opinions on the best dog toothpaste. Ask your vet what they find is the best. Many vets have products ready to buy at the clinic. Your vet may recommend you make your own dog toothpaste.
As well as frequent at home brushing, your dog should have their gnashes cleaned by a professional veterinarian on a regular basis. Also, in addition to vet visits (as often as your vet recommends) you should see your vet if you notice persistent bad breath or inflammation of the gums. Use a light and magnifying glass if it’s difficult to see inside your dog’s mouth.
So now you have the wonderful options for homemade and commercial dog toothpaste. Many dog owners use both depending on their lifestyle and time available. If you are making your own natural dog toothpaste well done! We are sure you will come up with a whole recipe book full of your own mouth-watering toothpaste options now that you know how to make dog toothpaste.
It’s fine to keep a tube of commercial dog toothpaste in the cupboard in case you run out of the other ingredients or just get super busy and don’t have time to make a fresh batch.
Your dog depends on you to take care of its dental healthcare. Always make sure it’s a high priority and you are sure to have a fresh-breathed happy dog.