Oral health is as important for your dog Sophie as it is for you. Even if she is an older dog with built-up tartar, she will benefit from daily brushing with enzymatic toothpaste. Daily use will reduce the amount of tartar and plaque on her teeth and the paste's mild polishing compound makes Sophie’s teeth whiter too. Enzymatic toothpastes come in flavors like beef and poultry to make daily brushing a palatable and enjoyable activity.
What Is in Enzymatic Toothpaste?
Enzymatic toothpaste contains an enzyme called glucose oxidase that is made from the same fungus that produces penicillin. When glucose oxidase is in the presence of glucose and oxygen, it becomes antibacterial.The enzymes generate hydrogen peroxide that targets plaque and tartar. Unlike human toothpaste, which will make your Sophie very ill, enzymatic toothpaste doesn’t have to be rinsed from her mouth because she can safely swallow it.
Why Use Enzymatic Toothpaste?
According to a 2011 study by Banfield Pet Hospital, the most common illness facing dogs is dental disease and 78 percent of dogs aged three and up have it. Symptoms of dental disease are bad breath, yellowed tartar at the gum line, broken teeth, loss of appetite, gum inflammation and heavy drooling—including bloody saliva. Dr. Patrick Mahaney contends that bacteria from inflamed gums enters your dog’s bloodstream and causes damage to the heart and other organs. Dental disease is preventable with daily brushing with enzymatic toothpaste. The enzymes only have to come into contact with your dog’s teeth to provide protection from infected teeth, gum disease, pain and inflammation.
Introduce Your Dog to Teeth Brushing
The best way to begin using enzymatic toothpaste is when your dog is still a puppy. Fear not, older dogs can get used to it too. Before you jump in your dog’s mouth armed with a toothbrush and enzymatic toothpaste, spend a couple of days letting her get used to you touching her mouth, teeth and gums. Then you can spread a dab of enzymatic toothpaste on a soft people toothbrush, a shorter handle doggie toothbrush, fingertip brush, wash cloth, small piece of clean fabric or gauze and massage Sophie’s teeth and gums. You won’t be able to reach every place in her mouth. Not to worry, the enzymatic toothpaste will remain in her mouth and her natural tongue movement will finish the job.
Check the label to insure the enzymatic toothpaste you’re buying doesn’t have xylitol listed as an ingredient. Even in small amounts, xylitol is toxic to dogs. Their liver becomes damaged because it can’t filter the xylitol out. According to veterinarian Dr. Jennifer Coates at Pet MD, there is no known anecdote for xylitol. So to be safe, opt for enzymatic toothpastes without this ingredient.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- Vet Info: Canine Dental Care With Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste
- Vet Info: Why Dog Toothpaste is Essential for Pet Care
- Banfield Pet Hospital: State of Pet Health 2011, Volume One
- Pet MD: The Importance of Oral Health Care for Dogs
- Pet MD: Importance of Periodontal Health in Maintaining Your Pet’s Healthy Heart
- Pet MD: Xylitol: A Menace to Dogdom That Deserves Its Place In the Garbage Heap of Products Gone Wrong
Based in Las Vegas, Sandy Vigil has been a writer and educator since 1980. She taught high school and middle school English and drama for 11 years. Vigil holds a Master of Science in teaching from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor of Arts in secondary English education from the University of Central Oklahoma.