How to look after your dog's teeth

Poor dental hygiene, just like in humans, can cause dogs to have bad breath, painful infections and even eventual tooth loss. We’ve curated some advice for all things doggy-dental, so you can learn how to look after your pooch’s pearly whites, how to spot any dental damage, and how to treat it so their mouths are kept happy and healthy. 

Start with a good diet

As with most things, prevention is better than cure, so the first place to look at is their diet. Making sure what they eat is healthy and full of nutrients so they’re well looked after from the inside, out. Avoid giving them food off your plate, no matter how much they give you the puppy eyes! Not only is it bad for their digestive system, but the food we eat can be much higher in sugars and fats than what they’re used to, which will damage their teeth over a period of time. 

Instead, choose a diet you know is packed full of the nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy and strong. Harringtons Just 6 range offers irresistibly tasty and crunchy low-baked kibbles using the finest ingredients such as lamb, chicken or salmon, blended with farm grown vegetables and oils rich in vitamins and nutrients. We use simple ingredients that you know and recognise so you can feel good knowing this tasty recipe gives all the natural goodness your dog needs - with no hidden nasties! 

How to clean your dog’s teeth

It’s important to clean your dog’s teeth every day, as just like in people, plaque build up can accumulate, leaving a thick layer of hard brown stuff called tartar on the surface which can’t be removed by brushing alone. Instead, your pooch will have to pay a visit to the vet for a scrape and clean under general anaesthetic. If left untreated it can cause gum inflammation, bleeding, gingivitis, decay and eventual tooth loss. Avoid the unnecessary stress and cost by getting into a consistent teeth cleaning routine. Here are some tips for keeping their teeth in tip-top shape:

  • Start brushing their teeth as a puppy, that way it becomes the norm and they settle into the routine of it alongside their other training. Try to pick a time of day when they are calm, then keep that timing consistent to build a regular routine. 
  • You can start by massaging their gums to get them used to the sensation of brushing, before moving onto the real thing.
  • Ask your vet to show you the ropes, that way you have a clear understanding of how to brush their teeth effectively and you can get their recommendations for good toothbrushes and toothpastes. 
  • Choose a toothbrush that is soft and the right size for your dog’s mouth. There are a range of materials and sizes to suit puppies all the way up to large breeds, so you’re sure to find the perfect fit. Make sure you change toothbrushes as they grow or if it becomes worn, as you would do for yourself.
  • DO NOT USE TOOTHPASTE MADE FOR HUMANS! It is made to be spat out and can be harmful to dogs. Instead, choose from the wide variety of dog-friendly toothpastes that are low foaming, meat flavoured and packed with enzymes to help break down the plaque on their teeth. Not only will it make the process easier for you, it’ll be more enjoyable for your pooch too!
  • Give them lots of praise after you’re done, it will help them accept it as part of their routine and not fear that time of day. 

Dental treats and chew toys

There are plenty of dental chews available that promote gum and teeth health. The chewing motion helps shift the plaque after an increase in saliva breaks it down, meaning they’re great for managing oral health. Chew toys work the same way, but be careful not to fill them with too many treats to avoid your dog becoming overweight and unhealthy. 

Please do not rely solely on dental chews or chew toys - they’re not enough to maintain a good level of dental hygiene - they should be used alongside regular brushing and not instead of. It’s also important to check the ingredients, as some may include ingredients that can upset your dog’s tummy. 

How to spot common dental diseases 

Developing a regular tooth brushing routine not only means your dog’s teeth are more likely to stay clean and healthy, it also means you’re more likely to spot when something is wrong. Keep an eye out for red and inflamed gums, any bleeding or bad breath. If your dog begins to drool heavily, avoid food or not want you to touch their mouth, it may be a sign that they have a tooth infection or gum disease. Seek medical attention immediately if you spot any problems to get treatment as soon as possible. 

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