How To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Without Brushing

How To Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Without Brushing

Good dental hygiene in dogs can help their teeth to stay pearly white and prevent bad breath. However, canine oral care is more than just keeping up appearances.  When plaque is allowed to build up, it can lead to periodontal disease and other health complications. 

Health problems from dental disease include: 

  • Bacterial infections 
  • Sinus infections 
  • Oral ulcers 
  • Oral masses 
  • Oral cancer 
  • Abbesses 
  • Hyperplasia, abnormal growth of gum tissue 

Routine vet care and keeping your dog’s teeth and gums healthy is always important for a dog’s overall health.  An oral exam should be part of their annual physical.  Symptoms of dental problems include: 

  • Loose or broken teeth 
  • Red, swollen gums 
  • Bad breath 
  • Bleeding gums 
  • Drooling 
  • Not eating 
  • Unable to chew 
  • Chewing on one side 
  • Discharge from mouth 
  • Swelling in or on the mouth 
  • Pawing at the mouth 
  • Illness, fever 
  • Change in behavior 

To help keep your dog’s teeth clean, there are some things you can do at home, such as brushing your dog’s teeth.  If you’re not going to brush or between brushing, here are some tips on how to keep their teeth clean 

Recreational Raw Bones 

Most vets advice against raw bones. If you are going to feed a raw bone, be sure it’s large enough that your dog can’t swallow it or bite off large pieces.  Three rules of thumb for feeding recreational bones include:  1Only give a bone that is larger than your dog’s head.  2. Avoid sharp or split bones.  3.  Bones can never be too big, but they can be too small.  Bones that are too small or can be broken into pieces can be a choking hazard and cause blockages.  Recreational bones are not the best choice for aggressive chewers and are meant to be gnawed to clean teeth, not eaten.  They include: 

  • Large mammal femur such as beef or bison that are not split for large dogs 
  • Large mammal knee or hip bones for medium dogs 
  • Large mammal ribs for small dogs that are gentle chewers 

Chlorhexidine Products

Chemical anti-plaque agents that contain chlorhexidine can help remove plaque, bacterial, virus and fungus.  Which product you use will depend upon youyour pet, and recommendations from your vet.  Some soluble products that are available include: 

  • Virbac C.E.T. HEXta Premium Chews for Dogs 
  • Oral hygiene rinses such as Dentahex Oral Hygiene Rinse for Dogs,Nolvadentand Oral Cleansing Solution, and Pet Lab Dental Formula (these are examples and there are additional products on the market that you can research and compare). 

Enzymatic Products 

  • C.E.T. Enzymatic Oral Hygiene Chews for Dogs 

Delmopinol Chews 

Delmopinol is an anti-plaque agent that also creates a barrier that prevents future plaque from forming, and prevents bacteria and tartar. 

  • Oravet Dental Hygeine Chews 

Treats and Chews 

There are a bunch of chews on the market that are very good.  These are some of our favorites.  The treats with an asterisk have been approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council: 

  • WHIMZEES brushes and chews* 
  • The Missing Link Smart Mouth Dental Chews 
  • Zukes Z Bone Dental Chews 
  • Nylabone Healthy Edibles Wild Dog Treats 
  • Blue Buffalo Dental Bones 
  • Blue Wilderness Wild Bones 
  • Merrick Fresh Kisses 
  • Hills Dental Care Chews* 
  • Virbac VeggieDent* 
  • Purina DentaLife Oral Care* 
  • Greenies Dental Chews* 
  • Get Naked Dental Chew Sticks 

Water Additives 

There are safe additives that you can add to water that can help prevent plaque and bacteria from forming on teeth and also reduce plaque buildup, such as: 

  • Pet Essentials Healthy Mouth* 
  • Nylabone Advanced Oral Care 

If your dog seems to suffer from a lot of plaque buildup, there could be an underlying health reason.  There are even prescription dog foods that can help keep teeth cleaner.  According to the Vet Times, Management of Dental Disease in the Canine Patient, some underlying causes of dental disease include: 

  • Steroid therapy 
  • Diabetes 
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Hormone imbalances 
  • Diet, foods that are sticky and high in short chain carbohydrates that are hard to digest such as beans, legumes, wheat, and rye. 

We hope these tips are helpful.  Go ahead and share with your friends.  Happy chewing! 

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