Indiana Dog Mom: It Might Seem a Bit ‘Extra’ But There’s a Reason Why I Brush My Dog’s Teeth Every Day
I Didn't Always Brush My Dogs' Teeth
About twenty years ago, I adopted a chihuahua mix named Chaz. I loved that dog. I still love that dog even though he passed about three years ago. Within only a week, I came across the exact dog I had always dreamed of adopting. He was a very young chihuahua mix that was black and tan and housetrained. I wasn't really ready for a new dog but I drove all the way to Newton, IL, to meet him. Then foster him. And guess what, he never left and now I love this dog too!
Though my dog Chaz was killed when he blindly walked in front of a moving vehicle, he suffered from both kidney failure and heart failure. We had the kidney failure under control using Amber Technologies Kidney Rejuvenator. I highly recommend if you have a pet in renal failure. But we knew it was only a matter of time. He was on a few medications for congestive heart failure and it was progressively getting worse.
Why I Started Brushing My Dog's Teeth
Chaz was 17-years-old when he died and luckily had all his teeth. (All the better to bite people!) And even though I regularly took him in for cleanings, his teeth were nasty. Nasty nasty. At the time, I didn't know any better. Who brushes their dog's teeth? But when I had him at the vet for multiple appointments, his doctor continued to remind me that good oral hygiene could have prevented his organ failure and dental issues. I mean, I should have known when he started smelling like a dumpster when he opened his mouth but again, dogs are dogs, right?!
According to thewholepetvet.com,
Periodontal disease is the progressive inflammation of the supporting structures of the teeth. It causes bad breath, gingivitis, and tooth loss. Even worse, bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to your pet’s internal organs, causing liver, heart, and kidney problems.
What I Use to Brush MY Dog's Teeth
When I adopted Bruiser, I decided that our nightly ritual would be: brush my teeth - brush his teeth. We've been doing this for three years and he comes running when he hears me brushing my teeth. I chose a toothpaste that he likes and I'm incredibly gentle. I knew he liked mint so I chose Arm & Hammer vanilla ginger enzyme toothpaste and brush. (It tastes minty. Yes, I tasted it.) I even make sure my husband brushes his teeth when I'm out of town.
And then a couple of times a week, I use Vets Best enzyme toothpaste (which is flavorless) with the 360 toothbrush. He's not a fan of this brush but since we've been doing it since he was little, he tolerates it.
*NOTE: Do not use human toothpaste for your dog or cat. It can be lethal.
Diet Can Affect Your Dog's Teeth Too
Another way to control plaque is a raw diet. Shebangs Natural Selection in Reo, IN, sells a great selection and educated me on all the benefits of a raw diet which includes clean teeth. I met a little 15-year-old Jack Russell Terrier that belongs to one of the gals who works there. Even as a senior, the dog had clear eyes and clean teeth. Her owner credit her health to the raw diet.
According to dogsnaturallymagazine.com,
Raw foods contain naturally occurring enzymes that help protect the teeth and gums. They don’t contain unnatural and damaging starches and sugars that promote unhealthy bacterial growth in the mouth.
Unfortunately, my dog is also very picky and won't touch a raw diet. He won't even eat cooked meat so I have to mix it in with a gravy canned food that he loves. Yeah, I really love this dog. I even made him a coyote coat last week!