Good for you: you got a doggy toothbrush at the pet supply shop to take an active role in keeping your dog's teeth healthy. Don't brush your dog's teeth with the toothpaste you use, as it could make him sick. Instead, use a natural toothpaste that's safe for dogs.
Using Products From Home
You can find dog toothpaste made from natural ingredients, but you can also concoct a natural dog toothpaste using 6 teaspoons of baking soda, 4 teaspoons of glycerin and 2 teaspoons of beef or chicken bouillon. Baking soda is safe, in small amounts, for your dog and the fine abrasiveness will help clean away plaque. Some dogs won't go for the taste or feel of baking soda, however, but you can still use items in your cupboard to encourage him to allow you to brush his teeth. Moisten his toothbrush with warm water and sprinkle some garlic powder onto it, or in place of the warm water and garlic, wet the toothbrush with warm bouillon. The tasty flavors and the absence of an odd texture should do the trick.
Although daily brushing might be optimal for a pristine environment in your dog's mouth, Vet Info says brushing once or twice a week is all that is necessary. Start at the top in the front of your dog's mouth and work toward the back of one side, then do the other side before moving to the lower teeth. Use a slow, circular motion and concentrate on the outsides of his teeth. You don't need to be concerned with the inside surfaces of your dog's teeth; the action of his tongue will help to keep the inside surfaces clean. Take care to brush close to the gums so plaque and tartar don't build up.
Other Natural Treatments
Vet Info outlines the importance of dental hygiene for dogs to reduce the risk of gum disease that can lead to other health issues. Among the natural treatments for dental care and gum health is a fragaria supplement to reduce tartar, myrrh in distilled oil form to alleviate pain and swelling, and echinacea and vitamin C to improve your dog's immune system and fight infection and bacteria.
Helpful Food and Toys
Dogs love to chew. It's their favorite hobby right after chasing the neighbor's cat. Take advantage of this natural tendency by feeding your dog a crunchy kibble formulated to give his teeth a scraping every time he eats a mouthful. There are also a number of chew toys on the market that encourage chewing and provide a dental cleaning in the process. Some are designed with tooth cleaning in mind, some are edible and some are just for playing with. Vet street cautions that if your dog tends to eat things whole, you should get him the dental chews that are digestible.
- The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Editors of Prevention Magazine Health Books
- Vet Info: Using a Dog Toothbrush
- Vet Info: Natural Dog Gum Disease Treatment
- Vet Street; Doggy Dental Care: 5 Steps Every Pet Owner Should Take; Carrie Sloane
- Vet Info: Can I Brush Dogs Teeth With Baking Soda?
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.