If you lead an all-natural lifestyle, it seems hypocritical to give your dog synthetic products. However, when it comes to keeping your pet's teeth clean, it can be hard to find natural alternatives to the big commercial items. Did you know that many pet dental products contain dangerous agents like BHA and BHT, which are proven to cause cancerous tumours in animals? Where possible, it's best to avoid these products at all costs. Here are 3 natural ways to reduce plaque and tartar on your dog's teeth and reduce their risk of dental disease.
Feed Raw Meaty Bones
Did you know that raw meaty bones can clean your dog's teeth? If you currently feed your pooch a raw diet, you may already be offering raw meaty bones as part of a balanced meal. If not, you may have avoided them due to supposed splintering risks. In reality, it's cooked bones that are the problem -- not raw. Cooked bones can become brittle, but raw bones do not break into sharp pieces. Aside from the general nutritional benefits, raw meaty bones help prevent plaque and tartar buildup. The bones polish and floss your dog's teeth as they chew. They also slow plaque formation by making your dog's mouth more acidic and providing much-needed calcium for healthy teeth and bones.
Brush with Natural Ingredients
It's important to brush your pet's teeth as often as possible. Daily brushing is ideal, but even a few seconds of brushing a week is better than nothing. While a wet toothbrush is adequate, there are better alternatives to commercial pet toothpaste. Why not try making your own homemade paste? Start with a base of kaolin clay; it's considered the best abrasive for cleaning teeth and is safe for dogs (often used as a pet diarrhoea treatment). Many people use baking soda to clean their dog's teeth. However, in large quantities, it can cause muscle spasms and heart failure, so use it sparingly. Consider adding natural, dog-safe antibacterial agents like parsley, and flavour with meat stock if necessary. Mix in just enough water or coconut oil to make a paste, and then brush your dog's teeth with it as normal.
Visit Your Veterinarian
Even with natural chews and homemade toothpaste, you may still feel like your pet's teeth aren't as clean as they should be. It's possible that there may already be a buildup of tartar on your pup's teeth already. The best way to deal with this is to visit a pet dentistry specialist for a professional cleaning. A dental veterinarian will examine your dog's mouth, then put them under anaesthetic for a deep clean and scale, similar to a professional scaling for humans. While you may be hesitant for your pooch to undergo anaesthesia, this is the safest way to remove hardened plaque. Non-professional treatments without anaesthetic only deal with surface-level problems, and can put pets at risk of dangerous bacteria entering the bloodstream.