A vast majority of dogs can be put under anesthesia safely for dental cleaning, but that does not mean that anesthetizing a dog does not carry any risk. At the same time, it is also equally dangerous to let plaque and tartar accumulate on teeth and gums. Build up of tartar is responsible for simple symptoms like bad breath to serious dental diseases including gingivitis and periodontitis.
Cleaning dog teeth is an essential part of dog grooming, and your pet’s teeth should ideally be cleaned daily if you want to avoid any dental complications. There is a huge range of products, manual as well as electric, that are available in the market that you can use to clean your dogs’ teeth at home.
- Toothpastes - It is important that you do not use toothpaste meant for humans. Dog-specific toothpaste is flavored differently, usually with beef or chicken flavor, so that it is easy for the dog to accept the taste. Make sure you choose one that does not foam or gets rinsed easily.
- Toothbrushes - There are manual toothbrushes that have a thimble-like shape that you can put on your finger and brush. There are also electric toothbrushes that involve very little hand movement and allow you to focus on the gum line and areas between the teeth. Some toothbrushes have oscillating sideways motion, while some of the newer brands have three-directional motions.
- Vibrating toothbrushes - These are ultrasonic devices where a transducer in the handle causes the brush-head and bristles to vibrate. You may also want to have a look at ultrasonic toothbrushes that come with tufts to aid the cleaning of gum pockets.
- Dog breath freshener - These are used for treating a case of occasional bad breath. Some of these fresheners have fungicidal and bactericide properties and therefore keep the flora in the mouth at manageable levels. These are normally meant for use after brushing the dog’s teeth. Most dog oral breath sprays and fresheners use chlorhexidine for its antiseptic properties. The other active ingredient that is also used these days are herbs that have antiseptic properties that cure bad dog breath.
Apart from the tools mentioned above, there are also specific teeth cleaning diets that play an important role in promoting oral health in dogs. Moist diets tend to stick to the gum line, while kibble is hard and therefore scrubs teeth, too.
While choosing any of the above products and tools for cleaning your dog’s teeth, always ensure that you use products that are specifically meant for dogs.