Keeping teeth clean

Keeping teeth clean

Cheese!!!! Rain at nearly 5 years has a wonderful smile
Rain at nearly 5 years has a wonderful smile

We all know that oral hygiene and keeping our teeth clean is very important, but what about your dog’s teeth?  Some dog’s suffer terribly with a build up of tartar on their teeth, gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath – just as we would if our oral hygiene wasn’t up to scratch.  But how do you make sure your dog’s gnashers are in tip top shape?

Firstly look at what you feed your dog.  Raw-feeders who give their dogs a natural raw diet which includes meaty bones swear by it as the gnawing and scraping on the bones cleans their teeth naturally – please be aware that feeding bones is a contentious subject with people for and against on both sides of the argument.

I do have my own personal opinion on it but what I would say is that if you are going to feed bones, make sure they are RAW and never cooked.  As soon as all the meat has been removed from the bone, throw it away and watch very carefully for any splinters of bone which could be dangerous for your dog.

Axl at 21 weeks getting to grips handling a bone ... having buried and dug it up repeatedly!
Axl at 21 weeks getting to grips with handling a bone … having buried and dug it up repeatedly!


Toothpaste for dogs also comes in canine-friendly flavours like chicken or fish, to make the whole process less unpleasant for them.  If you are looking to brush your dog’s teeth, start very slowly by introducing them to a rubber thimble type toothbrush that fits on your finger as they will likely be more accepting of that than going straight for the bristles and the brush.  It’s a good idea to start when your dog is a puppy so this becomes the norm for him.

Finger toothbrush by
Finger toothbrush by

Please be aware that these pastes are designed to be abrasive and so shouldn’t be used every day.  Perhaps once a week would be enough and if you want to brush them more frequently, then simply taking a toothbrush and dipping it in good old water would be absolutely fine rather than resorting to the toothpaste each time.

If you do notice a build up of tartar on your dog’s teeth, then it possible to have them cleaned professionally by your vet.  Your vet will give him an anaesthetic and have a thorough check of his teeth, removing any he feels are diseased or decaying and cleaning up the remaining teeth to leave a Hollywood smile to be proud of.

Another thing you can try is a homeopathic treatment called Fragaria.   Fragaria (strawberry) appears to soften tartar on teeth.  Once softened, the normal action of brushing is more effective and can remove what would otherwise result in a heavy plaque build up.

Fragaria Homeopathic Remedy
Fragaria Homeopathic Remedy

This particular one is by Dorwest and I have tried it on my dog.  (No, I’m not on commission!)  It comes in at around £3.50 for  100 pillules.

The suggested dosage on encrusted teeth is to take one of the tiny pills per day for up to one month until tartar is significantly reduced.  Simply hold the pill in the lid so you don’t touch the surface of it with your fingers and pop it in the back of your dog’s mouth. Once you have the tartar under control, it can be used as a preventative against new tartar build-up in the dosage of one pill, Fragaria 3c once weekly.

I admit that I was sceptical when I purchased this remedy but, after using this for 2 weeks, the difference was clear.  After 3 weeks the teeth were perhaps 75% improved and by 4 weeks, they were virtually spotless.