Did you know that you’re supposed to brush your dog’s teeth every day?
Our canine companions are renowned for their bad breath. With a simple yawn, a dog can spew forth an atrocious odor so strong it can drive a human out of the room.
Yet stinky breath isn’t the top reason why you should brush your dog’s teeth. Just like humans, plaque buildup in a dog’s mouth can reflect plaque buildup in its arteries – foreshadowing a heart problem or other serious health issues later in life. Having your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned is a very disruptive and expensive endeavor, as they have to be put to sleep in order for the doggie dentist to work.
The best defense is to get in the habit of brushing your dog’s teeth every day. While it seems like a silly habit to adopt, it will help your dog be healthier and happier in the long run – and it will reduce the level of stank breath you have to deal with on a daily basis. Plan to brush your dog’s teeth every day, so that if you skip a tooth here or miss a day there, your dog will still be getting fairly routine dental care.
You most likely brush your own teeth every night and every morning, so just choose one of those times to include your dog in the dental fun. My dog knows that every night after I brush my teeth, I’m coming for him. Though he doesn’t enjoy having his teeth brushed as much as digging through the trash or eating bird poop, he puts up with the quick brush because the toothpaste tastes good and he knows there’s a crunchy treat waiting for him when it’s over.
The secret to a happy dog with clean teeth is to find a type of toothpaste that it likes. Some commercial dog toothpastes feature a spearmint or peppermint flavor; this is good for humans, but not so much for an animal that prefers the smell of rotten garbage to essential oils. Eschew the pricey dog toothpastes on the market and instead, make your own natural dog toothpaste. It’s quick, easy and inexpensive.
Put a small amount of paste on a special toothbrush, let your dog taste it first with a little lick, and then gently cram the toothbrush in its mouth and scrub away. I find that the quicker I can get in and out of my dog’s mouth, the happier everyone is. You may have to start by using your finger or a cotton ball as a toothbrush if you have a puppy or dog that is new to dental hygiene. Make soft, cooing noises while you brush, and talk in easy tones the whole time. Let your pup know that this is really more like a treat than anything else (wink wink). Good boy!
6 tablespoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cube of beef bouillon (or vegetable for a vegan version)
1 teaspoon dried or fresh parsley
1 teaspoon water
1. Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly in a small bowl, adding a bit more water if necessary to make a paste.
2. Store in an airtight container and use daily.
Note: NEVER use human toothpaste on a dog. It contains fluoride, which can be fatal to all animals including humans if ingested.