Strong healthy teeth are crucially important for the happiness and well-being of dogs. This is true of people and of all animals, but is even more so with dogs for whom chewing toys, playing tug of war, eating, panting and fetching balls are all favourite pastimes that involve their mouths.
Almost everything a dog does for fun requires them to have strong, healthy teeth if possible, and at the same time a dog’s breath is something that has a large bearing on your happiness as an owner when they are standing over you panting first thing in the morning. Finally, like all animals, good oral hygiene is important to keeping bacteria at bay and helping to prevent your dogs from getting ill by keeping their immune system strong. For humans flossing daily has been shown to reduce the chances of developing cancer or suffering from stroke or heart attack – so of course some basic health care for your canine’s canines, will help to keep your dog healthy on a whole too. By making your dog homemade toothpaste you can do this cheaply and without any harsh chemicals that some people suspect may have a range of negative side effects. Following then is how to make toothpaste for your dog to keep their teeth strong and abscess free, their oral hygiene good and their breath smelling like air-freshener (okay not quite… ).
Note: Do not use mouthwashes or toothpaste designed for humans. These contain fluoride and sometimes alcohol which may be harsh on your dog’s teeth and gums.
What you will need:
• Baking soda
First of all, mix 1/3 of a teaspoon of salt with four teaspoons of glycerine, six teaspoons of baking soda and a pinch of peppermint. This works in many ways – the baking soda will neutralise the smell, the salt will disinfect the mouth (salt is a natural disinfectant) and the peppermint will add a fresh smell.
Now add just a drop of water for the consistency and put your concoction into a blender and mix. When you remove the lid it should be roughly the consistency of a toothpaste you might use yourself.
How to Brush a Dog’s Teeth
Unfortunately that was the easy bit – getting your dog to sit still and let your brush their teeth is another matter. To do so you will need a toothbrush designed for dogs and this will allow you to reach into their mouths while being designed to be soft enough not to damage their gums. It is possible to brush a dog’s teeth with your fingers, but this can be risky as it involves reaching your finger inside their mouth – even the best natured dog in the world can accidentally bite you if they’re struggling to get away.
Try to calm your dog down and let your dog lick a bit of the paste off your finger before you start to let them know what it is. You might need someone to hold them still and to stroke them to keep them relaxed. Now try to gently open up their mouth and carefully brush their teeth and gums on the outside. Reach right to the back and pay attention to both the top and bottom jaw. Reward your dog afterwards with a chew and reassure them with praise and they should start to associate brushing with rewards.
Note: Giving your dogs chews and bones is also a great way to strengthen their teeth through use, to get them to scrape off dirt and plaque, and to encourage their saliva to run which has disinfectant properties and will help to clean their mouth of bacteria.