Dog tooth brushing and oral hygiene

pes

Esteemed Citizen of ZV
I brush my dog's teeth daily to keep him healthy. The process of teaching him how to do it took about 4 weeks but the whole thing is now voluntary and he lets me do it for a treat. He has not had a problem with bad breath since. And since kissing is a big part of our relationship, I am pretty happy with that. ;)
But there is always room for improvement, so:

Do you brush your dog's teeth?
What techniques do you use?
What products do you use to keep you dog's mouth healthy and does it work?
 
I sit on a chair with enough of a gap between the legs so her rump can sit on the ground in front of me and kind of against/under the chair..as close to me as possible while I'm on the edge(her facing away or to the side..ish). Any dog I've ever brushed the teeth of usually doesn't cooperate as well if they're facing you.

I find she's much more comfortable with me sitting behind her and with as much body contact as possible.

She loves looking at me, so she's usually naturally looking up which makes it even easier.

As for the brush etc.: FreshBreath by Tropiclean has an oral care kit that has a really nice and soft bristled brush that cleans both sides of the teeth at once so you have to spend less time up in the doggo's business.

One last thing I use for breath and oral hygine is a product called: Dental Fresh advanced plaque and tartar water additive. I only give it to her every two to three bowls of water on principle and paranoid concern about unnatural stuff in her diet; she's mostly timber-wolf, and she's still got the freshest most unscented dog breath I've ever encountered.

.........now..if she'd only sit still and tolerate a bath...

Hope this helps you and anyone else out there. Lemme know if I need to clarify anything. :3
 
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Rev216

Zooville Settler
Thanks for the tips guys, I've been working on improving my own dental hygiene, it's time I work on my baby girl's as well.
 

Tailo

Esteemed Citizen of ZV
I once tried brushing my longtime boyfriend's teeth, but he really disliked that and I stopped.
I hide a dental snack for my dog every evening. It's fun for him to seek it and it should be good for the teeth.
 
It's actually just as important as brushing your own..except dogs teeth usually go bad and/or show signs of decay as early as 1.5 (breed/diet dependent of course) years. Down the road as more of their teeth go bad, it could seriously affect their health and general happiness in life...not to mention the 'corpse' breath.

Dental bones are okay, but no substitute for brushing. Just try to imagine yourself with fuzzy teeth(after not brushing for a while)...try thinking of a couple things you could EAT that'd actually clean your teeth. Maybe an apple?.. because you have to tear your teeth through it?...that'll only clean some of the front teeth, and not very well at that. It's the same with most of the dental bones I've seen. They're really just treats that MAY help in my opinion.

Dogs get tartar and plaque buildup just the same as we do...only YOU are the ONLY one that can do something about it for them. They're not going to get up tomorrow with some fresh new thumbs and start doing it themselves.

They don't like it? Pssh..My dog really REALLY doesn't like baths or walking on a leash(she's a good pupper)..dosn't mean she just gets her way. I try to compare it to a kid crying about getting a shot..they make a lot of noise and commotion, but the shot is necessary to keep them alive and/or healthy. There is absolutely NO universe in which that kid isn't leaving the doctors office without a bandaid and a lolipop.

One thing you could try... it sounds counter intuitive but getting rid of the plaque is the goal...is using a smelly/odorous 'toothpaste' for them, like a tiny dab of bacon grease, or a bit of peanutbutter. Eventually they'll equate getting their teeth brushed with having a snack, and it'll be fun time for them instead.

All that being said, it took my girl about a month to not squirm while it was happening.
 

FF24

Tourist
It's actually just as important as brushing your own..except dogs teeth usually go bad and/or show signs of decay as early as 1.5 (breed/diet dependent of course) years. Down the road as more of their teeth go bad, it could seriously affect their health and general happiness in life...not to mention the 'corpse' breath.
Well that shows I have alot to learn before I consider getting a pet.
 

Labraguy5

Tourist
I do mine twice a week, both my dogs are senior or nearing senior age and still don't like, although will put up with it now.
I usually get them to sit, stand behind them and use my legs to stop them reversing backwards while bending over. After, I always check for any stuck food especially in the back teeth.

As for products, I use Beaphar dog toothpaste and a soft human toothbrush (those finger ones are rubbish). Also, they usually get a Dentastick once a day and I encourage them to play with their rubber chew toys.

One thing I learnt from my own dentist and never though about, is that toothpaste needs to stay on the teeth long enough for the enzymes to do their thing. So I also remove their water for about 30 minutes after so they can't rinse it off.
 

VesperThorns

Zooville Settler
I wonder how wild wolves survive in the wild nature without tooth brushes.
(in other words: I find it wrong)
Wolves tend to live only 6-10 years in the wild, while wolves in captivity can live almost double that. So the "B u T t H e Y d O n ' T d O t H a T i N t H e W i L d" argument isn't really...a good one. Granted there's easily a dozen other ways they can suffer, but tooth health can impact quality of life in a serious way. It's not unusual to find animal skulls in general with pathological defects where an animal suffered from breaking their teeth.
 

pes

Esteemed Citizen of ZV
I wonder how wild wolves survive in the wild nature without tooth brushes.
(in other words: I find it wrong)
Wild animals rarely should come into contact with sugar and usually eat what their body is prepared for.
Also yo may notice that larger breeds tend to have better teeth. There must be some natural teeth cleaning mechanism evolved in canines that seem to work better in larger animals. Also I was told by a vet that chewing bones helps to clean teeth.

I do mine twice a week, both my dogs are senior or nearing senior age and still don't like, although will put up with it now.
I usually get them to sit, stand behind them and use my legs to stop them reversing backwards while bending over. After, I always check for any stuck food especially in the back teeth.

As for products, I use Beaphar dog toothpaste and a soft human toothbrush (those finger ones are rubbish). Also, they usually get a Dentastick once a day and I encourage them to play with their rubber chew toys.

One thing I learnt from my own dentist and never though about, is that toothpaste needs to stay on the teeth long enough for the enzymes to do their thing. So I also remove their water for about 30 minutes after so they can't rinse it off.
I had no idea about the enzyme part. Interesting. I do not use tooth paste only a brush. The state of my dog's teeth does not seem to be getting worse so I think it works.
I was told by a vet dentist that dental bacteria starts to solidify in 48 hours, so daily cleaning is highly advised.
I clean my dog's teeth daily and it seems to work very well.

I have a hard wood pole mounted horizontally in my dog's head hight and I taught him to bite onto it.
That way he stays still with his mouth slighly open.
It is also a way of letting him know what is going to happen and his way of acknowledging that.
I have free access to his teeth and I can comfortably manipulate his lips and mouth to get in there.
There are obviously 4 rewards waiting for him, one for each section of his mouth.
 

Labraguy5

Tourist
Wild animals rarely should come into contact with sugar and usually eat what their body is prepared for.
Also yo may notice that larger breeds tend to have better teeth. There must be some natural teeth cleaning mechanism evolved in canines that seem to work better in larger animals. Also I was told by a vet that chewing bones helps to clean teeth.


I had no idea about the enzyme part. Interesting. I do not use tooth paste only a brush. The state of my dog's teeth does not seem to be getting worse so I think it works.
I was told by a vet dentist that dental bacteria starts to solidify in 48 hours, so daily cleaning is highly advised.
I clean my dog's teeth daily and it seems to work very well.

I have a hard wood pole mounted horizontally in my dog's head hight and I taught him to bite onto it.
That way he stays still with his mouth slighly open.
It is also a way of letting him know what is going to happen and his way of acknowledging that.
I have free access to his teeth and I can comfortably manipulate his lips and mouth to get in there.
There are obviously 4 rewards waiting for him, one for each section of his mouth.
Yeah there was a poster at my Dentist's saying you shouldn't rinse or use mouth, so I asked and he said it's to let the toothpaste do it's work and the fluoride to settle (for humans). Then after I next brushed my dog's teeth, they both went straight for the water bowl and I realised my mistake.
I didn't know about it solidifying after 48hrs. I bought them both hard rubber dental chew toys as my boy sometimes gets food stuck in his back teeth, they basically look like butt plugs covered in thick bristles which is great to have lying around the house ? I got him into the habit for chewing on it after dinner.

Using a pole would probably work with my girl although her mouth is a little small. My boy is used to her taking all of his toys so he would probably let go. I do keep all their hygiene stuff in a box, so when i get it out they know it's time to calm down, but years ago it was a different story. As for reward, I usually just praise them and hold back using treats just in case it reverses the cleaning. But I use treat for other stuff like brushing, so they associate the hygiene box as positive.
 

FF24

Tourist
It's also worth pointing out that sugars are the worst for teeth, so be careful if you're sneaking them any human food!
That's true for humans as well. Another reason why our oral hygiene is significantly worse than our ancestors.
 
I do mine twice a week, both my dogs are senior or nearing senior age and still don't like, although will put up with it now.
I usually get them to sit, stand behind them and use my legs to stop them reversing backwards while bending over. After, I always check for any stuck food especially in the back teeth.

As for products, I use Beaphar dog toothpaste and a soft human toothbrush (those finger ones are rubbish). Also, they usually get a Dentastick once a day and I encourage them to play with their rubber chew toys.

One thing I learnt from my own dentist and never though about, is that toothpaste needs to stay on the teeth long enough for the enzymes to do their thing. So I also remove their water for about 30 minutes after so they can't rinse it off.
I agree, the finger ones REALLY don't do a great job...I'd only advise using one of those if your dog absolutely will not tolerate you using a better brush.

As far as the enzyme thing, that's the entire reason I use the additive in her water on occasion. My biggest concern is making sure to get the solidified plaque off of her teeth(or to make sure it doesn't form in the first place), and to make sure the any sugars in her mouth aren't being utilized by bacteria to break down enamel(the additive kills mouth bacteria without harming any of the good bacteria in her gut).

Most dog toothpaste doesn't have flouride, but they do add stuff to offset the pH of their mouth just enough to kill bacteria gently; a dwelling period(no food/drink/snacks) of 30 minutes is generally recommended for maximum effect.
 

Labraguy5

Tourist
It's also worth pointing out that sugars are the worst for teeth, so be careful if you're sneaking them any human food!
Yep, with Labradors this is hard :gsd_laughing: even healthy human food, like fruit and veg (safe for dogs of course), has natural sugars.

I agree, the finger ones REALLY don't do a great job...I'd only advise using one of those if your dog absolutely will not tolerate you using a better brush.

As far as the enzyme thing, that's the entire reason I use the additive in her water on occasion. My biggest concern is making sure to get the solidified plaque off of her teeth(or to make sure it doesn't form in the first place), and to make sure the any sugars in her mouth aren't being utilized by bacteria to break down enamel(the additive kills mouth bacteria without harming any of the good bacteria in her gut).

Most dog toothpaste doesn't have flouride, but they do add stuff to offset the pH of their mouth just enough to kill bacteria gently; a dwelling period(no food/drink/snacks) of 30 minutes is generally recommended for maximum effect.
Absolutely, and the finger brush I bought was way too soft and didn't get down in between the teeth.
Yeah there's that big debate about Flouride for humans, I've heard of some water companies adding Flouride to drinking water, although we don't have it here.
 

VesperThorns

Zooville Settler
It's also worth pointing out that sugars are the worst for teeth, so be careful if you're sneaking them any human food!
In general it's a bad idea to give dogs human foods. Unseasoned meats cooked in water are good, some foods in moderation, stuff like that. Generally, check with your vet before you feed your dog human foods.
 

FF24

Tourist
In general it's a bad idea to give dogs human foods. Unseasoned meats cooked in water are good, some foods in moderation, stuff like that. Generally, check with your vet before you feed your dog human foods.
Does anyone know if dogs care about "quality" of their food in human sense? Or do they prefer whatever is familiar to them and nutrition simply just nutrition?
 

VesperThorns

Zooville Settler
Does anyone know if dogs care about "quality" of their food in human sense? Or do they prefer whatever is familiar to them and nutrition simply just nutrition?
Some dogs do have particular tastes, but in general dogs don't typically care. Hence why they'll eat cat shit and drink from parasite infested puddles. I on the other hand, am SUPER picky about what my dog eats. His food's about mid-grade, but treats and goodies are carefully picked and mostly homemade.
 

Tailo

Esteemed Citizen of ZV
Does anyone know if dogs care about "quality" of their food in human sense? Or do they prefer whatever is familiar to them and nutrition simply just nutrition?
In my experience some dogs will eat almost anything and others are pickier. The dogs who will eat almost anything probably do care anyway, but may have other priorities such as trying to saturate an appetite that is insatiable due to genetics. I had a dog who ate almost anything, but I'm sure he appreciated some food more than other food.

I doubt that dogs ponder the ecological implications of certain food, working conditions of those who make it, pesticide use on fields, standards of animal husbandry in meat production and so forth—it's something they do not know about, but is part of what humans consider when assessing the quality. At least some humans do.
 

HappyLV

Tourist
we find raw ribs, lamb, beef, goat, and pork ribs keep teeth very clean and the raw / homemade diet, mainly meat has an end result of sweet smelling mouth and breath...(pro depends on the individual but that’s our experience)....once a week we also brush the teeth and gums with a finger tip brush with just coconut oil....
 

silverwolf1

Tourist
What's said just above me by @HappyLV explains the tooth health in wild wolves. They chew, a lot, on the raw bones of their prey. That, as well as ripping berries off bushes, chewing limbs for the under-bark, biting frozen ground for winter minerals and other wild habits that captive wolves and their cousins our domestic dogs don't have..

My dogs have always gotten raw bones as part of their diet, and been encouraged to chew properly. That's the first line of defense in dental health. Hard natural rubber chew toys, "Kongs", hardwood sticks with the bark still on (but only while "green" so they don't splinter), and in the summer a frozen treat ball (be careful with these, too much ice in the gut is bad) are good chews.

They also get home-made mint or berry treats, and store bought carbon biscuits for their rewards. No peanut butter. Dogs love it, but it 'never leaves' the oral cavity.

Stay away from "rawhides". They can impact the intestines or esophagus, killing your dog. Many are also produced now in China under questionable methods with poisons for curing.

I still brush as well. I've been brushing since before "pet toothpaste" and brushes became a thing, so nothing fancy here. They get what I use, which is a paste of water & baking soda, on a soft brush. My teeth lasted 'til the chemo from the 2nd cancer, but theirs have always done well.

sw
 

Labraguy5

Tourist
Stay away from "rawhides". They can impact the intestines or esophagus, killing your dog. Many are also produced now in China under questionable methods with poisons for curing.
Yep we had a near miss with a rawhide strip, my boy tried to swallow a big piece whole and it got stuck in his throat. Luckily back then I never let them have the strips unsupervised, I managed to carefully remove it and there was no injury, but after that they are not allowed to have them anymore.
 

FloofyNewfie

Esteemed Citizen of ZV
Yep we had a near miss with a rawhide strip, my boy tried to swallow a big piece whole and it got stuck in his throat. Luckily back then I never let them have the strips unsupervised, I managed to carefully remove it and there was no injury, but after that they are not allowed to have them anymore.
Here are some things that your dog should NOT be chewing on nor playing with...

1) Rawhide - As mentioned above dogs can chew off large pieces and swallow it whole.

2) Pigs ears - Same with rawhide, dogs can chew of large pieces and swallow it whole, leading to it getting stuck in their throat.

3) Deer, Elk, and Rams horns - Often dogs will chew on these and break off little pieces of them. These little pieces of horn are sharp and may cut or get lodged in your dog's throat.

4) Sticks and branches - Similar to horns, if a dog chews on sticks it will splinter. If a dog swallows these splinters it may lead to them cutting you dog's throat or the splinter getting lodged.

5) Cooked bones - Cooked bones will easily splinter, conventional wisdom tells us not to feed dogs chicken bones, but most cooked bones will splinter regardless of the species it came from.

6) Water bottles - The caps of which can often become dislodged. Dogs can also strip the plastic which will have sharp edges. If the dog swallows these pieces it can become stuck in their throat or cut their throat.
 

Labraguy5

Tourist
Here are some things that your dog should NOT be chewing on nor playing with...

1) Rawhide - As mentioned above dogs can chew off large pieces and swallow it whole.

2) Pigs ears - Same with rawhide, dogs can chew of large pieces and swallow it whole, leading to it getting stuck in their throat.

3) Deer, Elk, and Rams horns - Often dogs will chew on these and break off little pieces of them. These little pieces of horn are sharp and may cut or get lodged in your dog's throat.

4) Sticks and branches - Similar to horns, if a dog chews on sticks it will splinter. If a dog swallows these splinters it may lead to them cutting you dog's throat or the splinter getting lodged.

5) Cooked bones - Cooked bones will easily splinter, conventional wisdom tells us not to feed dogs chicken bones, but most cooked bones will splinter regardless of the species it came from.

6) Water bottles - The caps of which can often become dislodged. Dogs can also strip the plastic which will have sharp edges. If the dog swallows these pieces it can become stuck in their throat or cut their throat.
Yeah it pays to supervise your dogs, this incident was about six years ago when he was a silly young lab, I was always watched him with the strips but after that I stopped getting them. And the cooked bones are even worse, I gave my boy one to try but watched after a relative got him it, and he shattered it into spiked pieces with one bite.
 

silverwolf1

Tourist
Yeah it pays to supervise your dogs, this incident was about six years ago when he was a silly young lab, I was always watched him with the strips but after that I stopped getting them. And the cooked bones are even worse, I gave my boy one to try but watched after a relative got him it, and he shattered it into spiked pieces with one bite.
My dogs have never gotten a treat or chew, or access to a toy, unsupervised since a "totally safe" hard toy was gnawed to pieces by a rescue pup I was fostering and some lodged in her trachea. I was seconds away from her in another room when the choking sounds began, literally, but those seconds counted and I lost her. I won't take that chance with another's life again.

sw
 
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