Dogs are born with pearly white teeth, but as they grow up, they develop yellow to brownish stains caused by tartar. If the dog also emits a stinking odor when he yawns, it might mean that you haven’t cleaned your dog’s teeth for a very long time. Plaque and tartar buildup in dogs must be removed, not just because of the stink and stains, but because it can lead to serious health problems. As a dog owner, you must also pay attention to your dog’s oral health – it’s one of the most neglected but also an important aspect of dog care.
What is the problem with tartar?
Tartar starts as plaque, which forms hours after a dog eats. As plaque combines with the salts found in a dog’s saliva, it hardens and turns into tartar. Tartar can cause gum diseases, irritation, and inflammation – and these can lead to gingivitis, periodontal disease, teeth loss, and abscesses. It also pushes the gums away from the teeth and exposes the roots, removing it from the covering of the enamel. When the roots are no longer protected, it makes it open to sensitivities.
How can I remove my dog’s tartar?
There are things you can do to get rid of tartar or minimize its presence in your dog’s mouth. It’s best to prevent it before you remove it by checking your dog’s teeth regularly and make teeth grooming a regular routine as early as possible. Here are some ways to prevent and remove tartar buildup:
1. Brush your dog’s teeth regularly
This is a tricky step, but you can get him used to the feeling of having his teeth brushed with a toothbrush and a doggy toothpaste by starting early. For puppies that have sharp baby teeth, you can buy a rubber brush that fits on your finger, or simply a piece of clean gauze. When they grow up, use a pet toothbrush that is softer and denser than human toothbrushes. Dog toothbrushes are available in various shapes and sizes to adapt to different sizes of dogs.
When it comes to your toothpaste choice, don’t use the toothpaste that you use. Human toothpaste contains fluoride that is poisonous to dogs, and they are not masters in spitting out toothpaste unlike us. Usually, dog toothpaste for tartar comes in canine favorite meat flavors, which makes dogs like them instantly. This helps soften plaque and tartar on dog’s teeth, making it easier to remove by brushing.
2. Give him chew toys
Chew toys are not only designed to prevent dogs from chewing your belongings and to keep them entertained – these toys also help in removing tartar as they can scrape plaque off dog’s teeth. Choose dental chew toys that are mildly textured, flexible enough so it won’t cause fractures, soft enough to prevent damage to dog’s teeth, and big enough so they won’t get swallowed. Make sure to always clean his chew toys regularly to control the bacteria buildup.
3. Give him doggy chews and treats
If your dog simply refuses to get his teeth brushed, dental chews are the perfect substitute. Dog chews come with anti-tartar ingredients, plus, they come in flavors that your dog would love, so he would think of it more of a treat than a dental aid. Using dental chews reduce the plaque buildup in your dog’s mouth by around 70%.
4. Give him raw bones
Raw bones don’t only taste good – the process of gnawing on them stimulates the dog’s gums, exercises his jaws, and removes tartar from teeth. Give your dog a raw bone as a treat and a dental aid for them. Just make sure you give them the right kind of bones; choose large knucklebones and thigh bones from cows to make it impossible for them to chip or swallow. Never give cooked bones – they are brittle and can be crushed by your dog’s teeth, which may cause splinters that might damage your dog’s throat.
5. Add water additives that control tartar
There are liquid tartar-control products that you can put in your dog’s water dish. These products contain chlorhexidine that is proven effective to lower the number of bacteria in their teeth and mouth.
6. Use plaque removal spray
Dog plaque removal sprays are also available to eliminate plaque, reverse gum diseases and freshen your dog’s breath. These products also contain ingredients that kill bacteria and help dissolve tartar.