February is National Pet Dental Health Month. You might not give a lot of thought to your pet’s dental hygiene, but it’s more important than you might think. Did you know that:
- Dental disease impacts 89 percent of dogs and 83 percent of cats over 3 years of age;
- Only one in 3 pet owners provides proper dental care for her pet;
- Poor dental health can actually shorten your pet’s life.
With statistics like those, it’s clear we really need to be doing a lot more than talking about our pets’ dental hygiene and focusing on what we can do to make sure they’re getting the absolute best care possible.
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Nobody likes the idea of brushing their dogs’ teeth, and I totally get it. Unless it’s something you started when your dog was very young, introducing tooth brushing can be a real challenge – but it’s not impossible.
Here are a few tips:
- Choose a time when your dog has been well exercised, which will make him a bit more relaxed and maybe a little more willing to sit still and cooperate with tooth brushing.
- Go slow. The first time you try brushing your dog’s teeth might be a bit tricky, and that’s okay. It’s to be expected, and you’re not a failure if your dog puts up a little bit of resistance. If he’s super agitated, take a break. Try again another time. He’ll just need time to get used to it all, and if you’re consistent and you don’t give up, he will.
- Start with a good dog toothbrush. It’s the act of brushing that is most important in this exercise. Using a toothbrush will help to loosen plaque, tartar, and food particles on your dog’s teeth.
- When choosing a toothpaste, of course you’ll want to get something that your dog will like. Trust me, if he enjoys the taste of the toothpaste, he’s going to be far more cooperative than if you’re using something that he doesn’t like.
Whatever you do, don’t use human toothpaste! The fluoride and xylitol contained in many commercial people toothpastes can be toxic to dogs, so just don’t do it.
Today I’m sharing my recipe for DIY dog toothpaste, and I think you and your dog will love it. You’ll find it below.
But first, please note that I highly recommend that you consult your veterinarian in regard to your dog’s health and wellness, especially if you have any questions about using this DIY dog toothpaste.
Other things to keep in mind when it comes to your dog’s dental health:
- Dry dog food is preferable to canned food because it is less likely to stick to your pet’s teeth;
- Some toys and treats are designed to assist with your dog’s dental hygiene. We like Greenies and the Dog Bone Toothbrush;
- See your veterinarian at least every 6 months, and sooner if your dog presents any dental hygiene issues like severe bad breath, broken or chipped teeth, swollen or bleeding gums, or pawing at her mouth or face.
When I’ve shared this recipe in the past, I got several comments about the salt content in the bouillon cubes. Yes, there’s some salt in it but it’s not enough to harm your dog. The point of the bouillon is to give the toothpaste a flavor that your dog will find appetizing, so it really is a necessary – and harmless – part of the recipe.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp chicken or beef bouillon granules
- 3 T baking soda
- 6 mint leaves, chopped
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.
- Mix until it forms a paste.
- Store the finished product in a covered container.
- Use with a wet washcloth or a toothbrush on your dog's teeth and gums.
- Use up to 2-3 times a week.
- Keeps for 7 days on the counter or 2 weeks in the fridge.
- If you keep in the fridge, you will need to let it set out for about 20 on the counter to soften up before using.
Do you brush your dog’s teeth?
I’d love for you to share any tips or tricks that have helped you successfully master this important health care task for your pet. Leave a comment below or stop by my private Facebook group for dog moms and join in the conversation there!