I realized people seemed to like my 5 Toughest Dog Toys for Aggressive Chewers post. So, I wanted to try another roundup. Today we’re looking at my top 5 teeth cleaning products for dogs.
Our little Schnauzer, Mollie, is not even two years old yet. Our vet said she had one of the worst cases of buildup he’d ever seen. Simply because she uses her front teeth to chew her bones, they don’t work to crack off the plaque on her back teeth. Although many people may not consider teeth cleaning for dogs essential, your dog can develop periodontal disease. Sure, their teeth and diet are different, without the sugary foods which cause people so much trouble.
However, according to studies, periodontal disease is the number one health problem in small animal patients of veterinarians. And, as many as 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease by two years old.
A buildup of plaque, a film of bacteria, can develop around the teeth, causing periodontal disease. Most dog owners will immediately notice the bad breath, but there are also serious problems that can occur. When the gums bleed, the bacteria can enter the body and cause numerous health problems, just like in people.
Even though as few as 7 percent of dog owners may brush their dog’s teeth, veterinarians suggest we should be doing it as part of our daily routines. While it might be harder to start using a toothbrush on older dogs, there are teeth cleaning toys for dogs and other products that make it easier.
Now, let’s begin by taking a closer look at cleaning products for dogs.
Toothpaste for Dogs
First, it’s important to note that toothpaste intended for humans can contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs. So, you must use toothpaste designed for canines. Plus, they come in yummy flavors like poultry so your dog might learn to enjoy the process. Hey, it might sound gross, but it works.
The best toothpaste will freshen Fido’s breath, prevent plaque, and tartar. Thus, it serves the same purpose as human toothpaste to avoid tooth decay and gum disease.
Toothbrushes for Dogs
Dogs tend to chew the brush as you go, so the bristles should hold up well and be soft enough to avoid irritating the gums. However, the brush doesn’t have to be expensive. Affordable toothbrushes come in varying sizes for different sized dogs. Just like your own brush, you’ll prefer an ergonomic design and a long handle to reach the back teeth.
Water Additives and Dental Gel
If your dog hates it when you try to brush his teeth (like my old Schnauzer, Ace), then you might try a water additive and dental gel. A water additive acts as an edible mouthwash, killing the bacteria that cause plaque in your dog’s water bowl. The additive alters the pH of your dog’s saliva, inhibiting the bacteria while refreshing the breath.
Plus, it’s a safe choice for dogs of all ages and breeds. However, a water additive shouldn’t replace brushing altogether.
Also, you can try dental gel for dogs. If you aren’t brushing, neither gel nor water additives will be as effective. However, it’s a solution if your dog clenches their teeth at the sight of a brush. Best of all, it’s simple to apply and takes just seconds but can help reduce tartar and plaque over time.
Now we’ll look at our top choices in teeth cleaning for dogs to help your beloved pet avoid periodontal disease.
Now On To Our Top 5 Teeth Cleaning Products
First, we’ll start with our top-rated dog toothpaste. This one was recommended by one of our vets, and the reviews online seemed to back him up. We had tried some others, but this one has shown the best results with Mollie. This is the only one we tested that she seemed to like.
With thousands of favorable customer reviews, Sentry Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste for Dogs is my top choice. The non-foaming formula doesn’t require rinsing and does the job of getting rid of plaque and tartar. Plus, it fights bad breath even though it apparently tastes like chicken.
- No rinsing required
- Yummy poultry flavor!
- Patented enzyme formula
- The poultry flavor may not please all dogs
- Some dogs may like it too much and chew the brush (we found this out the hard way!)
- Some dogs may not let you brush their teeth
With one purchase, you can buy a kit with two dual-sided toothbrushes and four brushes that go on your finger if you prefer. The variety definitely helps. Your dog will favor one over the others. The dual sides make it easy to reach all areas of your dog’s teeth. Plus, the smaller side will work for smaller dogs. Even better, Pet Republique promises to donate 15 percent of proceeds to animal shelters.
The 60-day money-back guarantee means you can try the brushes without risk.
- Variety of brushes to try
- Easy to hold long handles
- Switch easily between a large and small head
- Finger brushes if your dog allows it
- Needs regular replacing
- Some dogs may not let you use them in their mouth
It’s not often that you see a pet product that works equally well for cats and dogs, but this is a rare exception. Although you can pay more for the water additives endorsed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council, this product has thousands of favorable reviews at an affordable price. Plus, it does the job of combating bad breath, tartar, and plaque.
With a tasteless and odorless formula, your dog probably won’t notice it’s in the water bowl. Notably, all water additives contain chemicals, and it’s important to avoid chemicals like Xylitol and Chlorhexidine gluconate. Fortunately, the Oxyfresh doesn’t contain these, but there could be occasional cases of pets that are sensitive to the product. As always, it’s best to ask your veterinarian for their advice.
- Odorless and tasteless
- Recommended by some veterinarians
- Simple to use
- No mint
- No alcohol
- Contains chemicals
- Doesn’t replace brushing
As the next best thing to brushing your dog’s teeth, a dental gel may be easier to apply with no brushing required. It’s thicker than toothpaste and stays in your dog’s mouth for about 30 minutes. Then, you can rinse your dog’s mouth. After daily use for about 30 days, you may begin to see impressive results. Plus, it can be used in addition to brushing and water additives.
If your dog seems to dislike the regular formula, you might try the peanut butter flavor instead.
- Easier if your dog hates brushing
- Removes plaque and tartar
- Helps avoid gum disease
- Fights bad breath
- Dogs may not like it.
- Not as effective as brushing
- Some dogs may not let you apply it.
Recommended by the Veterinary Oral Health Council, Greenies dental chews may be just the thing. Most dogs love teeth cleaning toys for dogs, even those that resist your attempts to brush or apply a dental gel. The treats work to freshen breath and help clean the teeth to combat plaque and tartar.
Once more, they aren’t a substitute for brushing but great as an additional measure. Of course, if your dog hates all attempts to touch her teeth, it’s better than nothing.
- Different flavors and recipes for all ages and weights
- Cleans as it keeps your dog from chewing the furniture
- Helps with bad breath
- No brushing necessary
- Discourages plaque, tartar, and thus, gum disease
- Expensive to use often
- Can contribute to weight gain
- May not agree with some dogs’ digestive systems. (like any product)
- Not as targeted as brushing
Teeth Cleaning for Healthier, Happier Companions
As you can see, there are many ways to improve your dog’s oral health with our top five teeth cleaning products for dogs. Even if your pet refuses to let you brush, there are ways to help combat periodontal disease. In the end, doing something is better than doing nothing.
On the other hand, you could try all of these products in combination as long as you don’t go overboard. It’s all about happier, healthier companions – and better breath sure helps too!
(Image credit: Shallowford)