Many studies show that we first notice a smile when we meet a person. We take a mental note of the person’s teeth, mouth, lips, and whether it looks aesthetically pretty, happy and confident, and based on these factors, we create the first impression. Such research was never conducted on dogs, and logic tells us it would be inconclusive, but the studies definitely showed that healthy mouth and white teeth in dogs prevent diseases, bad smell and make them happy.
Why Is Dental Hygiene Important for Dogs?
Take a look at your dog’s mouth and you will see that as we accumulate plaque on are teeth so do they. Plaque and tartar can build up easily due to limescale and hard water, food that is sticky and remains between the teeth and the dirt that your dog picks up when chewing things around.
A lot of built-up tartar will make it difficult for your dog to chew food and lead to discoloration and quick teeth decay. Furthermore, it causes irritation and gums swelling. A large amount of bacteria in the mouth can lead to bad breath and if it is left untreated for a while, it will cause gingivitis and gums bleeding.
Ultimately, because problems with gums and teeth cause pain, the dog will lose appetite which causes a whole another range of problems like malnourishment and drop of the immune system. These are just some of the dental related health problems that can arise, but there's a whole lot more of them to consider.
On top of everything else, having a dog with a perfect smile is surely worth adding some dental hygiene tricks to our daily routine.
Brushing Your Dog's Teeth to Whiten Them
Let’s start with the most obvious – brushing your dog’s teeth regularly will whiten his teeth and prevent the accumulation of the bacteria. This means brushing at least once in two days, but if you can make it a habit to brush them every day it is even better.
Dogs cannot use our (human) toothpaste; you must use dog’s toothpaste which usually has some appealing smell, like that of meat or fish. Also, the regular (human) toothbrush is generally too harsh and big for them, and uncomfortable for the owner to use. Instead, you can use a child’s toothbrush to avoid hurting your pup, or simply buy a doggy one.
Some dogs won’t tolerate toothbrush in their mouth at all, so try with putting a wet piece of cloth over your finger and brushing his teeth by going around every tooth with your finger.
The problem with this is that even with your best efforts, the dog might start running away as soon as brushing time comes. Because of that, we will provide you with a list of additional tricks you can implement for whitening your dog’s teeth.
Good Food to Keep Dog's Teeth White
Food we give to our pets also matter. Whole food made of meat, vegetable and fruit will help you keep his teeth white. Try including more food which contains Omega-3, like fish, and avoid stuffing your dog with food which can easily stick or get in-between his teeth like cereals.
Instead of giving him commercial snacks, make it a habit to offer him vegetables like carrots or fruits like apples for snack. These are good for his overall health, and additionally, chewing this food will remove the food particles caught between his teeth.
The Honest Kitchen recommends adding dried meat to your dog’s diet, like beef ears or snouts, dried tendons, esophagus, which apart from being super tasteful, make your dog chew more which also helps with removing food pieces.
Whitening Dental Sprays for Dogs
Dog dental sprays are a good addition to brushing teeth, but you shouldn't substitute it, completely ignoring brushing teeth. You can buy these in any pet shop or online, and they are fairly easy to use. Simply spray it around your dog’s teeth and rub them with a soft cloth. Here are some of the best brands of whitening dental sprays for dogs:
|Premium Pet Dental Spray (Large - 8oz): Eliminate...||3,538 Reviews||$15.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Fresh Breath by TropiClean No Brushing Clean Teeth...||3,153 Reviews||$7.99||Buy on Amazon|
|Arm & Hammer For Pets Dog Dental Care Tartar...||1,140 Reviews||Buy on Amazon|
Of course, your dog probably won’t like this at first, but luckily, they usually have the taste which dog adores, like meat, turkey or fish. With a little bit of practice and regular routine, your dog will get used to it in no time, and he might even start liking it.
Sprays of this kind are particularly good because not only do they kill bacteria in your dog’s mouth and stop building up plaque, but they also have the ability to remove existing plaque and tartar on your dog’s teeth. After using it for a month, you’ll notice that your dog’s teeth are becoming whiter and brighter.
Use Baking Soda for Dog Teeth Whitening
A very popular trick for whitening dog’s teeth is using baking soda with water for washing your dog’s mouth and teeth. Baking soda has a very good cleaning and whitening effect.
It is a very affordable option, and many people already have it in their kitchen waiting to be used. Since it doesn’t have an appealing taste like dog’s paste and sprays, your dog will need some adaptation time.
Try brushing his teeth as playing a game, or around the time when you do some routine with him which he generally likes, for example around the meals or the walking time. He will start connecting this routine to something good, and then you can even start doing this once a day.
Raw Bones and Toys for Dental Health
Anything that your dog can chew for a longer time is very helpful for dental hygiene. These props will not help with whitening the teeth, but they will make them cleaner and remove all the food particles from your dog’s mouth which is a prerequisite for having healthy and white teeth.
The advantage of giving a dog to chew different types of chew-toys is that he will find a lot of joy in this. It is double useful because he will be cleaning his teeth without your help and while having fun. The disadvantage is that you will probably need to buy more than one toy as they eventually get broken or chewed up.
The advantage of chewing a raw bone is that it is tasty and your dog will love it. The problem can occur if the bone is too small, or breaks into smaller sharp pieces. Make it a habit to oversee your dog while he is chewing a bone to avoid unnecessary injuries of his mouth. Also, always opt for raw bones rather than cooked ones, as the latter break more easily.
Snacks for Teeth Cleaning
There are many snacks for dogs created for teeth cleaning on the market. Explore what types you can buy in your local pet shop. This is one of the easiest ways of cleaning and whitening your dog’s teeth. These snacks fulfill all the necessary criteria – they are difficult to chew, so your dog will spend some time struggling with it and remove the tartar, and they contain substances for killing the bacteria and teeth whitening.
To make things even better, to your dog this will be a treat and he will look forward to eating it. Bear in mind that these snacks cannot replace regular meals and are not good in large amounts. Always check the ingredients on the back of the package as some can be suitable only to a particular dog breed, or might contain the substances your dog is allergic to or have problems digesting. Use it once a day or once in two days, and not more than that.
Dental Hygiene for Puppies
While we usually see tartar and plaque in adult dogs’ mouth, it doesn’t mean that you should disregard your puppy’s dental hygiene. It is easier to maintain healthy and white teeth than to clean them after the damage has already been done.
However, not all of these methods can be applied to younger dogs and puppies. You can offer your puppy crunchy food or vegetables. While he is young, avoid giving him bones as they can be too harsh and his mouth is too sensitive.
You can also brush your puppy’s teeth with your finger and cloth instead of a toothbrush and ask your vet about the products designed specifically for keeping puppy’s teeth white.
It is also a good idea to mix some mild teeth cleaning liquid with his food or water, but always check on the label whether the liquid can be used for younger dogs or only for adults.
In order to accomplish this, you can either brush your dog’s teeth regularly, which very few people manage to do, or choose an alternative such as using baking soda, giving him raw bones and toys to chew or improving his diet and adding dental snacks to it. Choose a few of these options and make a regular routine out of it so that your dog gets used to it.
Bear in mind that dental hygiene for puppies and adult dogs differ and if you are not sure what to do ask a vet.
READ NEXT: The Ultimate Guide to Dog Dental Care