Why Your Dog's Dental Hygiene Matters & How To Make It Eco-friendly
Why Your Dog's Dental Hygiene Matters & How To Make It Eco-friendly
Since childhood, you’ve probably been told to brush your teeth every day, twice a day, right? And with good reason! According to the CDC, 65 million American adults have some form of gum disease. Do you know what can help prevent gum disease? Maintaining good dental hygiene.
Do you know who can also get gum disease? Our pups! Dogs have the potential to get a variety of dental diseases and corresponding tooth pain just the same as humans, which means teeth cleanings and optimal dental hygiene are just as important for our dogs as they are for us!
Why Doggy Dental Hygiene Matters
Like human teeth, a plaque build-up on a dog's teeth can have severe consequences if left unchecked. Plaque contains bacteria and food particles that stay on your teeth and eventually harden into tartar (Pet MD).
Not all bacteria are good. When bad bacteria enter your dog’s bloodstream, that bacteria can spread to their organs, causing severe damages that will make your poor pup very sick. Let’s keep this from happening by staying on top of our pup’s dental hygiene!
Why Tarter Is Bad
Tarter itself can usually be removed at your dog’s annual (or semi-annual) teeth cleaning appointments or with regular brushing. But tarter that goes below the gumline can damage the structures supporting your dog’s teeth and can potentially cause infection leading to loose teeth, broken teeth, bad breath, bleeding mouth, or pain.
Note: When a dog is in mouth pain, they often reduce their intake of water and food, which can lead to other health issues. So the loss of appetite is something we, as dog-owners, should definitely watch out for.
Now, when tarter is left unchecked, it can cause inflammation and gum infection for your dog, eventually leading to gingivitis or periodontal disease. A study showed that periodontal disease is prevalent in 86% of dogs tested. Don’t let your dog be a part of this percentage!
The best way to mitigate these issues is to stay on top of your dog’s dental hygiene, preferably using eco-friendly dental products!
How To Keep Up With Your Dog’s Dental Hygiene (Plus Eco-friendly Products To Use)
We know quite a few dogs can’t stand their teeth brushed, so not all options below will be accessible for your pup. Luckily there are other alternatives for them –but we will go through all of the options out there so that hopefully, one of these will be accessible for you and your canine.
If you can–start brushing your dog’s teeth!
We recommend getting your dog accustomed to brushing as early as possible, so they’re used to you being in their mouth. If you can start brushing their teeth as a puppy, they’re more likely to become accustomed to it.
Once your dog has accepted teeth brushing as a frequent ritual, you want to focus on brushing the gumline where the tooth meets the gum so you can keep their gums healthy and prevent any dental diseases.
If you can, try to make your dog’s brushing experience as fun (and environmentally friendly) as possible by using eco-friendly toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Eco-friendly Dog toothbrush
Good oral health starts with brushing away the plaque before it becomes tartar. Luckily, there are some great doggy toothbrushes out there to help!
Doggy toothbrushes aren’t that much different than human toothbrushes. For instance, you could use traditional eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes like Isshah’s charcoal bamboo toothbrush, or you can opt for the Gentle Earth Pet’s Eco-Friendly Bamboo Dog Toothbrush.
Some dog toothbrushes even go on your finger for easier mouth insertion, but these are usually made from plastic which is obviously not very environmentally friendly.
Eco-friendly Dog toothpaste
Maybe you’re already aware of this, but we should never give our dogs human toothpaste as most of our toothpaste contains fluoride and detergents that are meant to be spat out. Unfortunately, your dog might not be familiar with the “spit” command and likely will end up swallowing some of the toothpaste, which is not good! Additionally, Xylitol is a common ingredient in human toothpaste and is very dangerous for dogs to ingest.
Enter dog toothpaste!
Philadelphia-based company Best Friend Beauty makes eco-friendly dog-specific toothpaste and they have some fantastic reviews. There are other great dog-friendly toothpastes out there like Pure And Natural Pet’s Organic Dental Solution, but most, like this one, come in a plastic tube.
But whether your dog’s toothpaste comes in a glass container or plastic tube, always be sure to look at the ingredients before giving some to your pup!
Give your dog dental treats!
As we mentioned earlier, not all dogs enjoy getting their teeth brushed. For those that don’t (or if you want to step up your pup’s dental hygiene), use dental treats!
Himalayan Pet Supply makes a lactose-free, grain-free, and gluten-free dental chew treat for dogs, and it’s paw-fect for your pup’s dental hygiene!
Other eco-friendly dental treat options include raw sweet potatoes, cut up apples, and chopped carrots. Bonus points for these dental treats boosting your dog’s diet and helping keep their teeth healthy and plaque-free!
Give your dog dental toys!
Some dog toys are designed to clean your dog’s teeth, making them an excellent option for your pup’s dental health and overall happiness.
Most dog chew toys are naturally good for your dog’s teeth because they work your dog’s jaw and help scrape tartar off their teeth at the same time! Instead of spending hours browsing online dog toy stores or buying specific “dental” chews, just opt for hard-wearing dog toys.
For example, Beco Pet’s Hemp Rope Ball is a hardy toy that can get the dental job done! Plus, Hemp is an excellent material to use in various products as it’s one of the strongest natural fibers available on the market, it’s fast-growing, making it an environmentally friendly plant-based option, and it’s naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial, and hypoallergenic.
Deer antlers (which deer shed every year) are another great option for dog chewing if you have those available!
Maintain regular checkups!
Dog’s are surprisingly good at hiding pain, so you might not realize they have a severe dental problem until it’s advanced. Take your pup for regular checkups to your local veterinarian so they can make sure your dog has a healthy mouth, or at the very least, catch any problems early on.
Understanding the importance of your dog’s dental health can help your pup avoid dental diseases and keep them healthy and happy so you can enjoy their company for a long time to come! And, as we’ve pointed out, you can still maintain your eco-friendly habits –even with your dog’s dental hygiene– using some of our eco products and tips from above!
Do you have any dental recommendations for dogs that we forgot to include? Comment below! We’d love to hear from you.