February is Dog Dental Care Month! Many clinics offer discounts on teeth cleaning during the month.
Anesthesia does have it’s risks in dogs just as it does in humans. To keep your dog away from the vet, there is quite a few things you can do at home to extend the life of your dentist cleaning and even prevent having to have a cleaning at all.
Yes you are supposed to brush their daily, but let’s face it, who among us does that?
Here’s what we do on our 3 dogs and to a lesser extent, our cat:
|Romeo’s teeth (our 6.5 lb Pomeranian). We rescued him in June 2009,
he has never had a vet cleaning, though he does have annual check ups
Daily: A water additive, dry food (in addition to tooth decay, wet food also is very fattening, causes irregular blood sugar, loose stools, gas and other gastro intestinal problems, talk to your vet), a treat designed for teeth/breath (Greenies, C.E.T. Enzymatic Chews, etc…), and at bedtime, I squirt about a teaspoon of Tropiclean Fresh Breath Clean Teeth in between their teeth and cheeks along their gumline alternating between bottom and top.
I always do this when we go to bed because I know they won’t have anything more to eat or drink so the gel can really work. For my dogs, it also serves as a signal that it’s time to settle down and go to sleep.
Weekly: I have an event on my calendar that reminds me every Friday night to brush their teeth (though sometimes it still doesn’t happen, I am human, not perfect). They know that whenever they see my Head Lamp go on, they are in for either teeth or nails (a gentle filing every 2 weeks to keep the quick short).
To help soften things up on their teeth, I use a generous squirt of the gel and set a timer for 10 minutes. I use the head lamp to get a better view of their teeth. My largest dog is 13-14 pounds so maneuvering to their back teeth is no easy accomplishment.
For the canines and outside surface of the molars a Tartar Scraper Double works great,but is not needed. In fact, if you have smaller dogs like we do, you may find it very bulky and cumbersome to use because even the small end is hard to use, but on larger dogs, I think this would be a godsend! Just make sure to push the gums back slightly to get all the tarter. The head lamp LED really allows you to see clearly while still allowing you to use both hands and is only $10. Our last vet cleaning was close to $400.
The best tools we use can be purchased at any grocery or drug store. It is a simple Tooth Scraper and Pick. The mirror is too large for my dogs but would be handy is your dog will keep his mouth open for you to check the inside of his teeth. This is where the gel comes in handy, I can’t get the backs of my dogs teeth.
I have just introduced the Petosan Electric Toothbrush to the routine. We are still working on getting them used to it, so I can’t comment on it’s ease of use or performance yet. What I can say is that it’s motor is super quiet which is great for sound sensitive babies. I am using a Vanilla flavored dog toothpaste that they love, so hopefully they will adjust quickly.
If you do nothing else, the gel is the best thing I have ever done. Initially, I used it everyday for 2 months to reduce the amount of tarter on their teeth (also using the scrapers to get better results). After that they say you can reduce the frequency, but my dogs love it and actually jump onto their mat on the foot of our bed and wait for it when they see the green bottle, so I continue to do it every night.