“My pet WON’T let me clean their teeth!”
“I don’t have the time to clean my pet’s teeth!”
You’re right, you’re right. Every pet is different and some pets just WILL NOT allow you to clean their teeth. Even with our fancy step-by-step guide Don’t despair and give up! Anything is better than nothing. Every little bit you do towards your pet’s dental health counts. And you would be surprised how many cats are willing to chew a chicken wing, or eat a Greenie so this applies in part to cats as well.
You want something that holds its shape while being chewed. This can come in 3 distinct categories: food, treats, and toys. Regardless of the category, the basic theory is if it holds its shape while being chewed, it can wipe the teeth clean – a little like when we bite into an apple.
Alternatively there are some treatments that may be of limited use as well. Nothing is as good as a professional clean, but every little thing you do helps!
In general dry food is better than wet food, as it doesn’t cake around teeth, but certain dry foods are specifically designed to clean teeth while being eaten. The following ones arr complete diets – your pet doesnt even need anthing extra, and they are available for cats and dogs:
a) Hill’s T/D
b) Royal Canin Dental
c) most other “dental” labelled diets (although they are not necessarily complete and balanced, an may not be as effective a the above
When it comes to treats, anything that they have to chew on is good for teeth – usually better at cleaning back teeth than front ones though, so you may need to think about what to do about front teeth. They also add in extra calories – and those calories do count! If your dog gets extra treats, they need less food at meal times. ) Raw Bones – bones are a double edged sword. While great for cleaning teeth, they can also crack teeth. Your best best is large marrow bones, too big to eat, but big enough to chew on. Avoid all forms of chop bones, as they are sharp and can be small enough to swallow and cause troubles in the stomach. Bones are also high in fat so should be avoided for dogs with sensitive stomachs.
b) Chicken necks and wings. These can be fatty so be aware of the calories you add into your dog’s diet.
c) Carrots, Apples, other sweet crunchy veges – some dogs love them, others hate it.
d) Pigs Ears, pig’s snouts, pig trotters – all good for chewing on.
e) Roo tendons and tails
f) Greenies – these contain chlorophyll, which can potentially kill bad breath bacteria (and cats love these!)
g) Dentastix and other assorted dental chews. There is a whole range out there. Go nuts!
h) Ice – crunching on ice seems to be something that some dogs love doing. Mad, but we love those labs & staffies anyway!
When it comes to toys, anything that your dog can chew on, wihtout chewing bits off, is perfect. There are some specially shaped chew toys out there that are specifically designed for cleaning teeth. Some even have a hidey-hole to place dental treats so you can encourage your pet to chew the toy.
There are some additives for water, gels for killing bacteria in the mouth and other various dental treatments. These are of limited use. They may kill bacteria and temporarily freshen breath, but they cannot remove tartar or plaque with any effectiveness. However if this is all you can convince your pet to take, they are better than nothing if used regularly!