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February is pet dental health month

Feb 13, 2015

Brayden with Basketball

“Look mom . . . no cavities!”

Here’s the good news:

  • Dog are not really prone to cavities like humans
  • A dog’s mouth is typically cleaner than a humans, partly because their saliva has natural cleaning properties
  • Dogs’ teeth are strong
  • Home dental care will extend your dog’s life


Here’s the bad news: 0

  • Dental disease is the #1 health issue diagnosed in dogs today.
  • A dog’s mouth is warm and moist providing a perfect incubator for bacteria
  • A film of bacteria forms plaque which mineralizes forming tartar
  • Tarter and plaque build up, and if not removed, lead to separation between the teeth and the gums forming pockets for more bacteria – periodontal disease
  • This periodontal disease can lead to life-threatening infections and damage to the heart, liver and kidneys.

How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth:

  • Like anything else, you need to go slow and get your dog used to the idea.
  • Brush teeth after exercise so he is more cooperative and willing to be still.
  • Don’t go too fast – be patient and let him get used to having his mouth handled, the brush and the toothpastes
  • Start by just handling his mouth and rubbing his lips and gums
  • Quit if he is agitated and try again tomorrow
  • You can increase the amount of time each day
  • Praise him for being cooperative
  • Use a small brush / dog brush or baby toothbrush and work in a circular motion at a 45 degree angle to the teeth.
  • Don’t worry so much about the inside of the teeth . . . The insides get washed pretty well with their saliva and their tongue.
  • Be sure to praise and treat him afterwards.
  • He probably won’t ever love it but he will learn to tolerate it to get the treat.



Start early with your dog as a puppy!

She will accept it easier if she learns early.


How to pick the right tooth paste for your dog

Do NOT use human toothpaste as it has fluoride, which is poisonous to dogs.

Even toothpastes formulated for dogs can contain chemicals . . . and dogs are not going to spit it out . . . whatever you use, they will swallow.

I prefer to use a natural product, with baking soda, neem powder, tea tree and wintergreen essential oils, grapefruit seed extract, etc.

Petzlife has a gel that I like with grapefruit seed extract (we carry this at our Minnesota dog boarding facility, Top Dog)


Here is a recipe you can make at home.

2 Tbsp Baking Soda-to clean the tartar

2 tsp Cinnamon- has anti-bacterial & anti-fungal properties 

1/3 C coconut oil – is great for skin, coat, digestion & immune system

1 tsp Dried or fresh parsley

1Tbsp water

Measure out your coconut oil and stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Your coconut oil will get soft as you stir.  After it's blended, you can put it on a toothbrush and brush his teeth, gums and back of mouth. For picky dogs you can substitute beef or chicken bouillon