No pet parent would want their dog to experience bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay.
Just like humans, the best way to keep your furry friend’s whites in the best shape and avoid cavities is by brushing its teeth as often as possible.
However, most pet parents struggle with the art of brushing their pet’s teeth.
Brushing your dog’s teeth can be a tough chore, especially with uncooperative dogs (some dog owners liken this cleaning activity to a professional wrestling match).
This article gives an astute breakdown of how to clean dog teeth without brushing.
Dog Dental Care Myths Debunked
There is a misconception that dogs don’t need oral hygiene care because their teeth are kept clean naturally by chewing.
Dental care is just as important for dogs as it is for their human companions.
Without proper dental maintenance, you are exposing your dog to painful infections which can become severe and cause life-threatening issues.
Just like humans, plaque builds up on dog teeth over time, which can cause inflammation of the gums, also known as gingivitis.
Without proper treatment, dogs with gingivitis would bleed easily, have bad breath, and end up with periodontitis.1
So, how do you clean your dog’s teeth without shoving a toothbrush in its mouth?
How to Clean Dog Teeth Without Brushing
You might have exhausted all “pawsitive” reinforcement in brushing your dog’s teeth, but there’s good news!
While brushing your dog’s teeth is the best way to keep them clean, other effective and healthy alternatives that do not require shoving a toothbrush in your dog’s mouth also work.
1. Enzymatic Toothpaste
Do not try to clean your dog’s teeth with toothpaste made for humans. It contains fluoride or even xylitol, which is toxic and can poison your dog.
The Enzymatic Toothpaste is a dog-friendly toothpaste that works without brushing and assists in preventing the buildup of plaque; plus, it eliminates bad breath.
Add it to your dog’s saliva and watch it work magic!
It is a non-foaming paste and does not require rinsing afterward. Your dog will certainly love the taste and enjoy cleaning moments.
2. Food Supplements
Cleaning your dog’s teeth doesn’t have to feel like a chore anymore with dietary supplements.
You don’t have to do much, and voila! Plaque and tartar are on their way to extinction.
Food supplements like ProDen PlaqueOff Powder, which is 100% made of a specific kind of seaweed, not only help to reduce plaque and tartar but also freshen bad breath and improve gum and teeth health.
3. Dog Dental Wipes
Using dental wipes like Petkin Plaque Toothwipes is a great way to decrease the microbe burden in the mouth and can help take out what’s on the surface of the tooth.
It is not as effective as tooth brushing, but it is a viable option for dogs that won’t tolerate having a toothbrush shoved in their mouth.
4. Chew Toys
Dogs love chew toys. Something to sink their teeth in and gnaw on can make your dog excited.
Chew toys also double as a tool to clean your dog’s whites and massage its gums.
5. Dog Dental Chews
Most dog dental chews like the DentaLife Daily Oral Care Dog Treats have been scientifically proven to improve dental health. You can get it online, in pet stores, and in a veterinary clinic.
These dental chews scrape the surface of the dog’s teeth, thereby removing plaques and reducing tartar down to the gumline.
Some dental chews for dogs contain anti-plaque enzymes and compounds, which improve dental hygiene; plus, they double as dog treats.
The active ingredients reduce plaque in one of two ways:
- Anti-plaque compound delmopinol reduces the ability of plaque to attach to the surface of the tooth by making plaque less sticky.
- Enzyme cleaners degrade the plaque cells before it binds to the surface of the tooth.
6. Dog Dental Water Additives
Adding additives like the TropiClean Fresh Breath Dental Health Solution to your dog’s water is a really nice idea!
It helps promote a healthy mouth by cleaning the teeth and fighting against plaque and tartar buildup without brushing.
Also, the unique blend of ingredients in dog dental water additives helps to get rid of bad breath in dogs.
7. Dental Sprays & Gels for Dogs
Dental gels will dissolve tartar on a dog’s teeth, neutralize bacteria, and mollify pains in the gums.
Using oral sprays like the Arm & Hammer Dental Spray for Dogs is a fast and effective way to reduce plaque and tartar, leaving your dog with a fresh breath.
8. Healthy Fruits and Vegetables
Carrots, apples, celery sticks, green beans, and pumpkins are healthy fruits and veggies that can improve your dog’s dental health.
They contain important vitamins and acids that can strengthen your dog’s tooth enamel, keep its breath fresh, and clean its teeth as it chews.
Do not give your dog soft and cooked bones! Raw bones are a great option for cleaning your dog’s teeth.
However, you must supervise it as it gnaws on its bone because there’s the risk of damaging its teeth and choking while chewing.
10. Coconut Oil
You can substitute tooth brushing with using a soft cloth dipped in coconut oil to remove tartar from your dog’s teeth.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid that can clear bad breath and tooth decay.
You can apply a small amount of the oil on your finger and rub it on its teeth if you’re bold enough.
There’s another option of mixing it into their food. Pick the one that works for you and your furry best friend.
Why You Should Clean Your Dog’s Teeth
Regular cleaning of your dog’s teeth is the best way to prevent dental disease, eliminate bad breath, and boost the overall health of your pooch.
You don’t have to wait until your dog starts hurting from gum troubles before you take action.
Ask any veterinary dentist around you the cost of treating severe dental issues, and you’d be shocked at how expensive it is.
When you properly maintain your dog’s teeth, it’ll save you a lot of money, time, and resources in the long run.
Dental Problems Your Dog Can Develop When They Don’t Clean Their Teeth
Imagine humans staying years without oral hygiene care with all the cavity-causing food we enjoy!
I’m so sure we won’t have teeth in our mouths anymore because everything would’ve fallen out.
The same thing applies to your dogs. Without proper dental care, your dog is prone to experience dental problems.
Some of the problems your dog can develop without regular dental care includes:
- Periodontal disease (also known as gum disease)
- Tartar buildup
- Tooth loss
- Broken jaw
- Tooth decay (cavities)
Signs of Dental Problems in Dogs
It can be so hard to detect dental disease in dogs because they won’t show pains from it.
They will go on with their normal treasure hunting routine and won’t stop eating.
Your dog might be hurting, but due to the slow progression of the dental disease, they get used to the pain and act like nothing is wrong.
Experts advise you to take your dog on regular dental exams and cleaning to detect a dental problem fast before it spreads.
Here are some tell-tale signs of dog dental problems to look out for:
- Bad breath/ Halitosis
- Loss of appetite
- Tooth discoloration and tartar crust around the gum line
- Fractured and missing teeth
- Bumps in the mouth
- Red, swollen and bleeding gums
- Excessive drooling
- Occasional pawing at the face
Is it OK to not clean your dog’s teeth?
The simple and short answer is NO! Your dog is your furry baby, and you should take care of it.
Some dogs are always glad to get their teeth cleaned, but others flat-out won’t tolerate it. That is when you should apply a little bit of “tough love.”
You don’t want to lose your baby to dental problems, do you?
How often should dog teeth be cleaned?
At the bare minimum, cleaning your dog’s teeth two to three times a week will make a significant difference.
When should my dog see a veterinarian dentist?
You should schedule a dental exam with a veterinarian dentist when you see signs of oral disease in your pet.
Also, do not neglect to go for regular professional dental cleaning.
Larger breeds may need professional dental care every few years, but smaller breeds should go for yearly dental exams and cleanings.
When should I start cleaning my dog’s teeth?
You should start cleaning your furry friend’s teeth at an early age so that they get accustomed to the whole teeth cleaning routine.
Tooth brushing is the best way to keep our dogs’ teeth clean, but it can be tiring at times when our pets become fussy and uncooperative.
That’s why we decided to look for other healthy and effective ways to clean dog teeth without brushing.
Dental problems will naturally ensue when you neglect cleaning your furry friend’s teeth.
By taking puppy steps and applying the proven tips in this article, your dog will be on its way to achieving “pawfect” and clean teeth.
Remember, Health is Wealth. Clean now and save yourself the trouble later.
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References & Notes
- Anna Burke, AKC. “Dog Myths Debunked: Do Dogs Need Dental Care?,” May 08, 2020, https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/dog-myths-debunked-dog-dental-care/
Featured Image: Tetiana Garkusha / Getty Images