Teaching “sit” and “stay” are the easy parts of dog ownership.
Knowing how to take care of your dog’s teeth? That’s a little trickier for most pet parents.
But fear not – we’ve got you covered for everything you need to know about how to remove plaque from your dog’s teeth … including a 10-second solution that even the busiest dog owners can do!
Dog Plaque Attacks: Why Do They Happen?
If you slept like a dog during science class, not to worry. Here’s an easy explanation for how plaque builds up on your dog’s teeth, and why it’s a bigger problem than you might think.
Every time your dog eats, sticky plaque forms on the teeth. As the plaque starts to “party” with the salts found naturally in your dog’s saliva, it begins to harden into tartar.
Tartar leads to periodontal disease, where the gums start pulling away from the teeth, causing pain, inflammation, infection and even tooth loss.
Plaque can harden into tartar within approximately 36 hours. That’s why knowing how to remove plaque from your dog’s teeth each day is essential to your furry friend’s health and well-being.
3 Reasons to Remove Your Dog’s Plaque … STAT!
1. Save money.
Did you know that once plaque hardens into tartar, it’s impossible to remove it at home? Tartar removal requires a professional cleaning at the vet where your pet is put under anesthesia. That’s a lot of money for what could easily have been avoided in the first place!
2. Get rid of bad doggie breath.
Plaque is packed with bacteria, which gives your dog that less-than-fetching breath. By removing plaque from your dog’s teeth, you can get closer to your pet without having to hold your breath!
3. Help your dog live a longer life.
Want more years with your precious pooch? Start removing that plaque! Caring for your dog’s teeth can add 2-5 years to your dog’s life … and make those golden years much more happy and healthy!
Removing plaque from your dog’s teeth is simply the best protection against periodontal disease.
4 Ways to Remove Plaque from Your Dog’s Teeth
1. Chew on This
A nice long chew does more than prevent your dog from chewing up your favorite pair of shoes … it’s also a great way to scrape away and prevent plaque buildup.
For the best plaque-fighting dog treats, look for products with the Registered Seal by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).
Rubber or nylon toys with a rough or bumpy surface feel amazing on dogs’ teeth and won’t cause fractures. Concerned about toxic materials? Look for dog toys labeled BPA-free, earth-friendly or made in the U.S. from 100% natural rubber.
- Raw Bones.
With their mild abrasiveness and ability to flex around the teeth, raw meaty bones can easily remove plaque and stimulate the gums. Always supervise your dog when giving a bone, and let him chew in an area where messes won’t be a problem! Note: Never give cooked bones to your dog, as they’re more brittle than raw bones and splinter easily.
2. Limit Table Scraps
We get it; those puppy-dog eyes are hard to resist. But in addition to turning your dog into a bona-fide beggar, or worse – a food thief – regularly feeding your dog table scraps increases plaque buildup. While the occasional table scrap is fine, try not to make it a habit … for your pet’s sake!
3. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Look before you leap if you decide you want to brush your dog’s teeth (and if you know this isn’t for you, skip ahead to #4).
To make dog tooth brushing as stress-free as possible for both of you, you’ll want to make sure you have a game plan, the right supplies and plenty of patience.
Use a pet gel designed for dogs. Human toothpastes have ingredients that can make your pet sick, and unlike us humans, spitting it out is a trick they can’t master!
>>>What veterinarians recommend: Oxyfresh Pet Gel. It’s made with Oxygene® and Aloe vera to fight plaque, neutralize bacteria, and soothe the gums (great for teething puppies or if your dog has a mouth injury). Plus, Oxyfresh Pet Gel is tasteless and odorless so your dog won’t want to chew up the brush!
Get a pet toothbrush. The bristles are softer and denser than human toothbrushes. For smaller dogs or puppies, you can purchase a finger brush or just use a piece of clean gauze.
Top Dog Tooth Brushing Tips
- Start from an early age (you can start brushing your puppy’s teeth at 8 weeks) for the best shot at success.
- Get your dog used to you handling his mouth BEFORE you ever start brushing. Dip your finger in something he likes, such as tuna water, then rub your finger on his gums.
- Have realistic expectations. Dog tooth brushing takes time and patience. When you first start out, you’ll only be brushing a few teeth for a few seconds a day, gradually working your way up over time.
- Stay calm and praise your pet throughout the brushing process. If you’re tense and nervous, your dog will be too!
Simple Steps for Dog Tooth Brushing
- Choose a time of day when your dog is relaxed, like after a long walk or vigorous play session.
- Let your dog sniff or lick the supplies so he’s familiar with the texture/taste of the items.
- Kneel or sit in front of or to the side of your dog. Don’t hover above your dog or pin him down. This will make your dog feel threatened.
- Put some toothpaste on the brush and place one hand over the top of your dog’s muzzle, then gently lift the lips.
- With your other hand, brush the teeth in a circular motion at a 45-degree angle. Your dog can keep his jaws closed at this point; just focus on the outer surfaces of the teeth – this is where periodontal disease is most common. (Once your pet is used to tooth brushing, you can open the mouth and get the back teeth – about 5 seconds on each tooth is what you’ll aim for.)
- Give a treat. Yes, even if it didn’t go well. This will build a positive association with tooth brushing in your dog’s mind.
4. 10-Second Solution for How to Remove Plaque from Dog’s Teeth: Give Your Pet a Daily Water Additive
Not wild about the idea of brushing your dog’s teeth? That’s OK. You can give your dog the same benefits of brushing – with none of the hassle – by putting an oral hygiene solution into your dog’s water bowl each day. 10 seconds a day is all it takes to fight plaque buildup and give your dog cuddly-close fresh breath.
Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution is “top dog” when it comes to oral hygiene solutions:
- Vet-recommended, fast-acting USA-made formula
- Fights plaque buildup and gets rid of bad dog breath
- Tasteless and odorless – your dog won’t even know it’s in there
- Easy to use: add 1 capful straight to your dog’s bowl and you’re good to go!
- Made with Oxygene® – Oxyfresh’s safe, non-toxic odor-neutralizing ingredient that you won’t find anywhere else!
Read this next: 7 Surprising Dog Dental Facts You Probably Didn’t Know