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5 Steps To Cleaning Dog Teeth Naturally

Just as we worry about our dog’s general health and wellbeing, most of us also want to ensure we are taking the very best care of her teeth. While veterinary dentists can help deal with serious tartar build up, extractions, and oral injuries, dental problems in our dogs are entirely preventable. It may surprise you to know that the secrets to good dental health is in the food bowl rather than at the vet. It’s a lot easier and cheaper than you think to keep your dog teeth in top shape.

By paying attention to your dog’s diet and limiting carbohydrate rich foods such as commercial dry foods and cans, we can reduce the build-up of plaque and tartar and prevent gingivitis in our dog. One of the most common myths I like to dispel is that feeding dry food prevents dental problems and keeps teeth healthy.  Actually, the exact opposite is true.

Bad teeth and gums in our dog is the result of an inappropriate diet. The negative effects of gum disease are very serious. Along with tooth loss, discomfort and infection, gum disease can also lead to heart disease and organ dysfunction. The good news is that preventing tooth troubles is not only easy, it can be fun as well by following these surprising steps:

Pookie and Pepper

1. Chew, gnaw, tear

A natural, fresh, raw food diet will maintain a healthy and balanced oral environment and prevent plaque formation. The chewing, tearing, ripping and puncturing action associated with eating as nature intended massages gums and scales the teeth clean of tartar and build up. Soft, edible bones such as raw poultry carcasses, necks and other non-weight bearing bones are ideal for this purpose.  My two Pomeranians, Pookie and Pepper specially love their raw chicken necks.

I know this may bother some people, as we are aware of the risks of tooth damage and oral injury. But the pros of giving suitable bones outweigh the cons in significantly, and it’s about knowing your bones and what can and can’t be safely fed. If you are still worried about bones, try raw, stringy muscle meats like beef tongue or green tripe, that are chewy and tough.

2. Brush, brush, brush

If you have the time, discipline, and a cooperative pooch, nothing beats a daily routine of brushing. Doggy toothbrushes and toothpastes are readily available from pet shops but do your research and steer clear of nasty additives and ingredients such as artificial colourings, flavourings, preservatives, fillers, fluoride, parabens and sugar.

My Homemade Chicken Jerky

3. Chew, chew, chew

Hard, natural chews such as Kangaroo Tendons, Deer Antlers and Dehydrated Jerkies can really get in between the gaps in teeth and

massage and floss away plaque build up, as well as giving your dog something stimulating to do. But avoid rawhides and preservative and chemical-laden dental chews – contrary to their marketing, these are not healthy choices.  I bought an inexpensive food dehydrator and make my dog’s chicken jerky.  I stock up on chicken breasts when they are on sale at Publix.

4. Pull, tug, rip

Playing with your dog can play an important role in their dental hygiene. Watch the way your dog chews on her favorite fleecy, rope or rubber toy. It may surprise you to know that toys are a great way of wiping teeth clean after meals and massaging the gums. The next time you play tug of war, you know you are also giving your dog’s teeth a great floss.

5. Feed seaweed

A simple bit of seaweed can act as a powerful dental hygiene agent.   Atlantic Kelp is a very special type of seaweed powder that is not only amazing for the skin, digestion and joints, but has proven positive effects on teeth. Incorporating Atlantic Kelp in the food bowl is proven to reduce dental plaque and tartar and improve your dog’s breath. But, if your dog has thyroid problems or is pregnant or lactating, Atlantic Kelp is not advised.

If your dog has extreme tartar build up or infection, you’ll need to consult your vet. But with regular maintenance using these 5 simple steps, you can be sure that scaling and scraping under general anesthetic is a rare occurrence, and your dog’s stay healthy, white and clean.

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