7 Tips to Maintain your Dog's Dental Health

7 Tips to Maintain your Dog's Dental Health

Feb 08, 2022Bark Twain
Eldergly Dogs

How would you feel if you never brushed your teeth? Not so great, right? And imagine what the dentist visit would cost! Just like it’s important for humans to take care of their teeth, the same goes for our pets. And when your pet has terrible breath, don’t wait to address the issue! Here are some of the issues that can occur if you fail to care for your pet’s teeth from PetMD:

  1. Preventing tooth loss. When the structures supporting a dog’s teeth become damaged or infected, the teeth loosen and fall out. Good dog dental care will ensure that those teeth-supporting structures stay healthy and keep the teeth in place.
  2. Preventing bad breath (halitosis). If a whiff of your dog’s breath makes your nose hairs curl, it’s time for some good dental care. When your dog has a healthy mouth and healthy dog teeth, bad breath won’t be a problem.
  3. Preventing oral pain. Dental disease, especially when it’s severe, can be quite painful for dogs. Keeping your dog’s teeth and gums healthy will help prevent oral pain.
  4. Preventing organ damage. Bacteria in the plaque can enter the bloodstream and spread to the heart, kidneys and liver. This spread of bacteria, called bacteremia, can damage organs and make dogs quite sick. Good oral health will help prevent bacteria and subsequent organ damage.
  5. Preventing worsening dental disease. Because so many dogs have dental disease by the time they’re 3 years old, it can be difficult to prevent it from developing in the first place. However, good dog dental care can prevent dental disease from becoming severe and causing problems throughout the body.

It's Not Just Bad Breath

Does your pet have bad breath? This common complaint seems harmless, but it’s commonly a symptom of poor oral health and an indicator of serious health issues. In fact, your dog is more likely to have periodontal disease than cavities! Canine periodontal disease affects around 80% of dogs by the time they are only three years old. 

Signs Your Pet May Have Periodontal Disease:

  • Difficulty eating or apparent lack of appetite
  • Weight
  • Drooling
  • Bad Breath
  • Tooth discoloration or visible tartar
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Red, swollen, or bleeding gums

Periodontal disease is a painful oral infection that can cause tooth loss and even organ damage. It commonly begins with mild tooth discoloration, but without regular cleaning, this plaque builds up and becomes hard tartar that is firmly attached to teeth. Bacteria from this dental plaque become trapped under the tartar, and so starts a cycle of infection and damage to the supporting tissues around the tooth. Without treatment, these bacteria can enter your dog’s bloodstream and affect organs like his heart, kidneys or liver.

Taking Care of Your Pet’s Teeth

These health issues can be prevented with regular dental cleanings and professional checkups but even between vet visits, there’s plenty you can do to help care for your pet's dental hygiene! Oral hygiene is easy to overlook but it greatly affects your dog’s overall health. At Brookside Barkery and Bath we offer several dental care tools to support you in caring for your pet’s oral hygiene and to help make the process a bit more enjoyable for everyone involved. 


#1 Feed a Raw Diet

Feeding a raw diet is the #1 way to ensure dental health for your pet. Natural, raw diets provide the right habitat for your healthy oral microbiome. Natural live enzymes and “good” bacteria can help prevent tartar build up.

Any kibble diet, even premium kibble, can be a direct cause of weak teeth and weak gums. This shocking study done by Australian veterinarian Dr. Tom Lonsdale shows the effects of raw fed dogs switched onto a kibble diet. After only 17 days, dogs who’d started with perfectly healthy teeth and gums got stinky breath, yellow teeth and sore, bleeding gums.

#2 Feed Raw Recreational Bones

Regardless of whether you are feeding a raw diet, canned food, or kibble, we recommend giving a raw bone to your dog roughly once a week. Easing into feeding these bones is important to prevent digestive upset, and picking the correct size for your dog is just as important! Raw bones are nature’s toothbrushes, and effectively polish and scrape away tartar as the animal crunches and gnaws. Gnawing on bones is not only nutritious and good for your dog’s teeth and gums, but also provides hours of enjoyment, exercises your dog’s neck and shoulder muscles as well as his mouth, and even stimulates his neurotransmitters. 

#3 Give a Daily Probiotic Supplement

Probiotic supplements can help create a healthy bacterial environment in your dog’s mouth. A 2009 study published in the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association found that probiotics were effective in treating and preventing dental disease! You can do this by adding probiotics to your dog’s food daily in the form of fermented vegetables or kefir, or you can give your dog a probiotic supplement. One of our favorites is Carna4 Ground Sprouted Seeds, which are 10% off this month at the Barkery!

#4 Brush Your Dog’s Teeth

If your companion eats a well-balanced natural diet all the time, she will likely have strong, clean teeth and gums throughout her life, even without brushing. An occasional brushing is a good idea anyway, even if her teeth and gums appear perfectly healthy. If your pet does not eat raw foods or bones on a regular basis, plan on brushing at least once a month. If her teeth appear yellow and prone to plaque, then brushing should occur at least once weekly. Start by choosing a toothpaste and toothbrush designed for use in pets. Begin with brushing the outer surfaces of just one or two teeth per session, concentrating on the upper portions of the teeth along the gumline where tartar typically collects. Another option is to have our experienced bathers do the work for you! Teeth brushing is an add-on service available to bathing and grooming appointments, and don't forget this month, our walk-in teeth brushing services are 1/2 off!

#6 Try an Organic Kelp Enzyme

Kelp is one of the richest sources of amino acids in the plant world. 25% of kelp is protein and 2% is fat, this means that kelp is extremely healthy for dogs and can provide them with many benefits. This sea vegetable is best known for its iodine contents, which supports and regulates the glandular system. Kelp is also a great supplement for skin allergies because it helps reduce itchy and inflamed skin, and has even been proven to help with tartar buildup on dogs' teeth. This is because of a bacteria known as Bacillus lichenformis. This bacteria can be found on the surface of kelp and when it releases an enzyme, it eats away at the tartar buildup on the teeth.

If you choose to supplement kelp into your dog's diet there are a couple of different ways to do so. For starters, you can purchase a kelp supplement that will come in the form of a powder. This can be easily added to your dog's food. Here are some of the powder kelp we have at the Barkery:

Thorvin is a mineral rich powder harvested form sea plants. It delivers a wide array of nutrients essential to your animal’s wellbeing, including thyroid health, shinier coats, clearer eyes, and dental health. Sprinkle this affordable powder on your pet’s dinner, and watch your animal thrive.

Another great kelp enzyme product is ProDen PlaqueOff Powder. PlaqueOff contains 100% natural and sustainably harvested sea kelp. It helps control bad breath, existing plaque and tartar, and the prevention of their development, from the earliest stages of tooth development to their full development.

Using a kelp enzyme supplement daily can aid in fresher breath and good oral hygiene!

#7 Dental Care Treats

Vets recommend a twice a day brushing regimen, just like people, but some of us have pets who won't allow such a thing. So for those pets who just refuse to have their teeth brushed, we have Dental Chews. Dental chews do more than just keep their kisses fresh, they take the stress out of dental upkeep by satisfying dogs' natural urge to chew. So here are a few of our favorite dental chews, for dog's and cats who want anything but the Toothbrush!

PlaqueOff Dental Bones - Are dog chews with the PlaqueOff System® which help clean plaque and tartar by abrasive action. Used daily, this natural product made with sea kelp can complement ordinary dental hygiene.

From The Field Silvervine Dental Chews - Silver vine Sticks are the natural stems from the plant. It promotes the cat’s dental health by exfoliating the plaque on their teeth while the cats chew the bark. Our Silver Vine sticks are marinated in our “Ultimate Blend” catnip and silver vine mix to increase potency.

Aside from the fact that a healthy mouth is good for your dog’s overall health, there’s another strong incentive to keep your dog’s mouth healthy – you’ll avoid having to put him through dental cleanings at the vet every year! It’s expensive, risky, and shouldn’t be necessary if you take a few simple steps to keep your dog’s mouth healthy.

February is a month where you’re supposed to be thinking about your pet’s dental health. Like us, their smiles need maintenance. Thankfully, we’ve got all sorts of stuff to help. All Barkery dental products are 25% off in-store this month, and walk-in tooth brushing services are half price throughout February. Stop in & talk to one of our nutrition specialist about which preventative dental care products are right for your pet today!

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