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Nothing ruins a kiss from your dog quite like bad dog breath
We’ve all been there. You make eye contact with your dog from across the room.
Those big puppy dog eyes pull you in and all of the sudden – you are overcome with the urge to plant a kiss right on your pup’s nose.
You pucker your lips, lean down, take a deep breath in, and….Yuck! Bad breath is a sure-fire way to kill a mood.
Am I right?
Unfortunately, bad dog breath isn’t just gross.
It can also be a sign of a much bigger problem: Canine Periodontitis.
Canine periodontitis is a bacterial infection of the mouth and it can lead to a number of serious health problems for your dog!
The Dangers of Canine Periodontitis
Periodontal disease starts when the bacteria from the mouth develop into plaque, which then adheres to the surface of your dog’s teeth.
When the minerals found in your dog’s saliva meet that plaque, the plaque hardens into tartar.
Tartar will make its way under the gum line and wreak havoc on the tissue and bone that support your dog’s teeth.
If left untreated, that decay will result in tooth, tissue, and bone loss.
With nothing left to protect your dog’s bloodstream, the bacteria found in your dog’s mouth will enter the bloodstream and thus travel all over the body.
Pets with periodontal disease are more likely to develop heart disease as well as other forms of organ damage as the bacteria from the mouth constantly enters the bloodstream and adheres to the arteries surrounding the heart – which then circulate to organs throughout the body.
As I said, bad breath isn’t just gross – it is dangerous!
Does your dog suffer from Periodontal disease?
If so, you’re not alone.
Over 75% of dogs over the age of three have canine periodontitis.
That is 3 out of every 4 dogs!
Canine Periodontitis is the most common clinical condition occurring in dogs, yet it is entirely preventable.
How We Prevent Canine Periodontitis
Moose and Koda just turned 2 and I have come to realize that the days of cute puppy breath are long gone.
Granted, I am thankful to be past the puppy teething phase… but their adult teeth come a whole new set of challenges.
Namely plaque and tartar.
The best way to prevent Canine Periodontal disease is to combat plaque before it has the chance to harden into tartar.
The damage caused by periodontal disease in dogs is irreversible, therefore, prevention is always better than treatment
Here are 5 ways you can control, reduce, or eliminate plaque and tartar in your dog’s mouth:
1. Healthy Diet
The foundation of a healthy mouth starts with a healthy diet.
It is important to avoid foods with highly processed ingredients such as corn and soy glutens.
Bacteria are known to thrive on carbohydrates (namely sugar and starches).
So, when your dog’s food gets stuck in their teeth, it provides a place for plaque to feast and tartar to develop.
By feeding your dog a balanced, high-quality diet, you can drastically reduce the risk of canine periodontitis developing.
Puppies are known for chewing on EVERYTHING, but just because your dog grows older and learns what not to chew on — doesn’t mean they don’t want to chew.
Dogs have a strong natural desire to chew.
Chewing is a great source of mental stimulation for dogs of all ages.
Providing your dog with a healthy–natural chew can be an effortless way to brush your dog’s teeth, reduce plaque build-up, and provide mental stimulation.
There are a variety of safe, natural chews on the market that help prevent plaque build-up
- Bully sticks
3. Meal Additives
A great way to combat plaque is to stop it at the source by using a meal additive — such as Plaqueoff (or kelp/seaweed).
Plaqueoff is made from 100% natural seaweed which has been shown to significantly reduce plaque and tartar build-up in dogs.
It inhibits the plaque from ‘sticking’ to surfaces in the mouth as well as softens the already existing tartar.
Solutions like additives don’t work overnight – but improvements should be seen anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks.
We all know that the best way to clean teeth is to brush them. After all, isn’t that how we clean our own teeth? Ideally, a dog’s teeth should be brushed twice a day.
Homemade Doggy Toothpaste
– Baking Soda (2 tbsp)
– Coconut Oil (2 tbsp)
– Peppermint Oil (1 drop) *optional
But let’s be honest, we all get busy and we don’t brush our dog’s teeth nearly as much as we should. I used to brush my dogs’ teeth 2-3 times a week.
Over time, life caught up to me and that level of maintenance just wasn’t an option for me anymore.
I do my best to utilize chews and additives instead, and when things need some serious TLC, I will go in with a toothbrush and give their teeth a good scrub.
I only brush Moose and Koda’s teeth roughly 1 or 2 times a month now — instead, I rely mostly on additives and chews.
5. Dental Cleanings
For many dogs, periodontal disease has already set in under the gum line — and no amount of brushing, chewing, or meal additives will help.
At this point, it is best to take your dog in for an oral exam, x-rays, and cleaning with a licensed veterinarian.
There are always risks associated with anesthesia, but the risks of canine periodontitis far overshadow the risks involved with anesthesia.
If a vet recommends a dental cleaning for your pet, it is always in their best interest to get one done.
So far, we have been very successful with our prevention methods.
Our vet said he doesn’t foresee Moose or Koda needing a cleaning anytime in the near future.
But, I always check their teeth every day to make sure we don’t fall behind on dental hygiene.
When it comes to Canine Periodontitis — Prevention is always better than treatment!
After reading the reviews on the kelp supplement, I’m wondering if your babies got diarrhea? How much and how often do you give it to them? Thanks for all your helpful articles!
– That is a great question. For Plaque Off, I follow the feeding instructions on the back of the bottle. (for dogs >25lbs = 1/2 to 1 scoop per day) Since Moose is roughly 25 lbs, he gets 1 scoop. Koda is around 14 lbs so she only gets 1/2 a scoop.
– I have never had an issue with loose stool from this particular supplement, but I have certainly expeirenced it with others I use. When you are adding new supplements to your dog’s diet, it is important to transition it in slowly. Adding something new can be a shock to some sensative stomachs.
– No matter what you are adding to their diet, you should start by only serving only 1/4 of the recommended amount. If they don’t experience any negative effects on day 1 or 2, you can gradually increase the amount each day until you reach the full recommended portion.
Let me know if you have any other questions, and keep me updated on how the transition goes 🙂
Do you have a doggie toothbrush you recommend? We have both a finger brush, and a brush with two sets of bristles on it. I don’t love it, so wondering if you have other recommendations! Thanks!
Actually, I don’t have a specific toothbrush to recommend. I used to use a toothbrush, but I have moved onto something else.
My favorite teeth cleaning tool NOW is medical gauze. I wrap the medical gauze around my index finger, dip it into my homemade toothpaste, and "brush". I can get into all those nooks and crannies much easier with my finger than with a toothbrush.
If you specifically want to brush your dogs teeth with a toothbrush, I would recommend a children’s toothbrush with SOFT bristles. Those work the best in my opinion.
Hope this helps!
Can my toy 5lb. Maltese use the kelp supplement and how much do I use? Thank you.
My dog has a dark plaque on her canines.. is it safe to scratch it off at home or can that cause any health issues for her?