Dogs and humans are similar in that they enjoy good food. Dogs eat 2-3 meals a day, and snacks, just as humans do, so it makes sense their teeth would need brushing twice a day just as humans do.
If we are all being honest, sometimes it is a struggle to brush our own teeth twice a day, right?
The image of chasing a forty pound black labrador around with a toothpaste and a toothbrush two times a day is enough to beg the question, “Is it really necessary to my dog’s teeth two times a day?”
According to Greencross Vets, dogs can have build-up of plaque and tartar on their teeth in the exact same way humans do. If not removed, bad breath, inflamed gums and tooth decay can occur over time.
The director, Adam Sternberg, at Greencross Vets does believe in brushing your dog’s teeth twice a day.
He says, “We have clients who are very proud of brushing their dog’s teeth once a month, and although that’s good, it’s probably not going to be good enough.”
The American Kennel Club also believes in brushing a dog’s teeth as much as possible.
Their website says, “According to the American Veterinary Dental College, it’s estimated that the majority of dogs show signs of canine periodontal disease by just three years old.”
These facts can feel discouraging, but do not fret if you have not been brushing your dog’s teeth daily.
Brushing your dog’s teeth is best, however there are ways to keep your dog’s gum health without losing your mind brushing their teeth twice a day.
There are toothbrushes specifically made for dogs. One model is made of silicone-like material and fits on your finger. If you are wary of sticking your finger in an unwilling dog’s mouth, there are actual toothbrushes similar to human toothbrushes, however they are made longer so you do not have to stick your fingers so close to your dog’s mouth. The longer angled toothbrush will help you reach the back of your dog’s mouth with ease.
Keep in mind, toothpaste made specifically for humans is extremely toxic to dogs. There are ingredients such as fluoride which dog’s bodies cannot break down.
When buying a toothbrush for your dog, remember to buy toothpaste specifically made for dogs. A bonus is there are flavors such as chicken and beef, making it more likely your dog will enjoy his or her teeth-brushing.
Still, the thought of brushing a dog’s teeth everyday IS a chore, so there are alternatives.
Similar to toothbrushes, there are dog tooth wipes. These wipes clean inside your dog’s mouth and although you are sticking your hand in your dog’s mouth, they are a quick alternative to actually brushing your dog’s teeth.
There are treats specifically made for a dog’s dental care. The ingredients in these treats help break down plaque in your dog’s mouth and keep their breath fresh.
There are dog toys which help take plaque off a dog’s teeth. The American Kennel Association explains the gnawing in certain toys helps take the plaque off their teeth.
Dog tooth wipes, dog treats, and dog toys are alternatives to actually brushing your dog’s teeth twice a day, but keep in mind, the American Kennel club and Greencross Vets agree brushing your dog’s teeth twice a day is the most effective.