Giving loves and long walks are the easy parts of pet parenting.
But how to clean tartar from a dog’s teeth? That can seem a lot more complicated, especially if you’ve never embarked down the road of dog teeth cleaning before.
Well, deep breath. We’ve got you covered for everything you need to know, including how to soften dog tartar, fight plaque, and get your dog on track to a healthier smile.
Dog Tartar Buildup: How Does It Happen?
Tartar buildup actually starts with plaque, a clear, sticky substance that naturally forms on a dog’s teeth every time they eat. As plaque mingles with the salts found in their saliva, the plaque begins to harden – a process that takes a mere 24 hours!
If the cycle continues, tartar will eventually form. What does dog tartar look like? If you see a yellow or brown substance at the top of your dog’s teeth near the gum line, that’s tartar!
While dog plaque is easy to remove, tartar is in a whole different ballgame. Much more care and diligence is required of the pet parent (ahem, you) to remove dog tartar at home. And odds are, your dog will require a professional cleaning if it’s too hardened. Your vet will be able to guide you on what’s best for your pet.
How a Little Dog Tartar Can Turn Into a BIG Problem
If plaque and tartar are left to build up on dogs’ teeth, it can lead them down the path of periodontal disease (advanced gum disease), which can take years off their lives.
It starts out with gum inflammation (gingivitis). At this stage, it may be your nose that cues you in to a problem. Your dog’s breath will likely smell uncharacteristically bad, courtesy of all the stinky bacteria that plaque and tartar contain. You may also notice dirty teeth or red gums. Many times seeing blood on one of their chew toys is a wake-up call for pet parents.
As bacteria from the gum infection spreads to the tooth pocket, the teeth pull away from the gums, becoming loose and oftentimes falling out. Imagine how painful this is! Just as concerning is how bacteria can hitch a ride from the mouth into the bloodstream and affect the dogs’ vital organs, such as the heart, liver and kidneys.
Fortunately, in the gingivitis stage, gum disease is 100% reversible. And the key is removing plaque and tartar on a regular basis.
How Much Does Dog Tartar Removal Cost?
Let’s be real: being a dog parent is not cheap! From food to treats to toys that get chewed up within minutes (so much for being indestructible!), the costs can really add up. Is your pup worth it? Of course! But that doesn’t mean you want to spend money when you don’t have to. That’s why it’s vital to be proactive with your dog’s teeth cleaning at home. If your dog’s tartar hardens to the point of no return, it will require a visit to the vet to remove it.
During a routine teeth cleaning, dogs are put under anesthesia, then the vet gets to work scraping buildup off with a dog tartar removal tool called a scaler. The teeth are then polished, and voilà, a best-in-show kind of smile. However, your wallet will be a lot lighter … likely $400 to $1000 lighter, depending on where you live and the age and size of your dog. If your dog needs any tooth extractions, that will raise the cost even more, as much as $400 a tooth. (Gulp.)
How to Soften Dog Tartar at Home
Don’t get fooled by the idea that a bag of dental treats is all it takes to get your dog’s smile in tip-top shape. While dental treats and raw bones can definitely help to clear plaque from the teeth and stimulate the gums, they should be viewed as a supplement to doggie dental care and not the sole method for plaque and tartar removal.
Having a go-to routine using a vet-recommended dental product is the best way to remove plaque and help soften dog tartar at home.
So what should you use for your dog’s dental care? We recommend Oxyfresh Pet Dental Gel Toothpaste because of how effective and versatile it is. It can be used as a pet toothpaste (apply with a pet toothbrush or fingerbrush) OR you can simply apply it to your dog’s gum line with your finger. Either way, you’ll love how well it works at stopping plaque and tartar buildup, pampering their gums, and giving your dog fresh breath.
Pawsitively the Best Dog Toothpaste
- CLEANS DOG TEETH – The ultimate way to fight plaque and dog tartar, help soothe gums, and fight pet periodontal disease.
- INSTANT PET FRESH BREATH – Fast-acting, USA-made dog plaque remover gel helps stop bad breath right at the source!
- NO BRUSHING NEEDED – Just apply directly along gum line with your finger or fingerbrush.
- NO FLAVOR ADDITIVES – Non-toxic, vet-recommended dog toothpaste has zero flavor additives (mint, chicken, etc.), making it perfect for picky pets.
- IT WORKS – Pet parents love Oxyfresh because we are safe, simple and trusted. Our dogs are family, and we care about giving them the best.
How to Make Dog Teeth Cleaning Easy and Fun
In order to make a difference in your dog’s teeth and gums, tooth brushing or gel application should be done AT LEAST three times a week, and ideally every day. Don’t try to take on the world: just focus on the outside of the teeth and gums – that’s where tartar and plaque accumulate. And before going full steam ahead, know that patience is key to getting your dog on board.
Pointer! For those days when life gets too busy, supplement your dog’s dental routine with a Pet Dental Water Additive. Tasteless and odorless, it helps fight plaque, tartar and bad breath with no fuss: just add to your dog’s water bowl!
YOU GOT THIS. When you partner with your vet and know how to remove dog tartar at home, you can feel good knowing you’re doing the best for your furry friend. Just look at that face – they’re so worth it!