Clean teeth can boost the health and happiness of your dog, not to mention improving that breath! Bad teeth and gums can increase the chance of heart, liver and kidney disease. Healthy teeth also help prevent dribbling, toothache and any reluctance to eat.
Toothbrush & toothpaste
We stock finger brushes as well as small and large head toothbrushes with specifically designed long stems, allowing you to reach a dog’s back teeth.
As dogs tend to swallow some of the toothpaste, human toothpastes are best avoided as they can cause health problems. The Moorabbin Veterinary Hospital stocks specially made chicken and beef flavoured toothpastes that your dog will love and are completely safe to swallow.
How to brush teeth
Plaque on dog teeth takes 24 hours to begin converting to tartar (that hard brown stuff on the sides of teeth), so you only need to brush once daily. Brushing is best done after exercise since your dog is more inclined to sit still. Small dogs may feel more comfortable if they can sit on their owners lap while having their teeth brushed.
Try offering the toothbrush, with the paste, without brushing to start with. Don’t be too vigorous the first few times you brush. Start slowly and stop if your dog gets agitated, even if you don’t brush the whole mouth. Try brushing one or two strokes on a few front teeth, slowly increasing as your dog becomes more comfortable. Make sure to speak soothingly and pleasantly during the brushing, reward your dog with a treat afterwards and before too long your dog should even start looking forward to having their teeth brushed!
Once your dog is used to the procedure you can focus on proper technique. Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to the gumline, brush in a circular motion and apply gentle pressure on the teeth and gums. Brush for at least 30-60 seconds on each side of the mouth, remembering the back teeth. There is no need to clean the inside surfaces of the teeth as your dog’s tongue does this. Always remember to give your dog a treat at the end to reward a job well done.
Alternatives to teeth brushing
If your dog won’t tolerate brushing, put some dog toothpaste on a small section of old worn washcloth (the thinner the better) and wrap it around your finger. Then use the cloth to rub the outside of your dog’s teeth, concentrating on the largest tooth in the upper jaw. Don’t worry about the lower jaw. Even if you can only do this once a week it can make a big difference in your pet’s health.
Treats and chews
Large hard products such as pig’s ears, noses or trotters, rawhide bones and Dentabones encourage your pets to chew and are all stocked at the Moorabbin Veterinary Hospital. The chewing action aids in the removal of plaque and soft tartar via physical rubbing and the spread of protective saliva, not to mention reducing stress and keeping your dog entertained!
These treats should not be solely relied on for dental health as they are not nearly as effective as teeth brushing and raw bones.
Raw bones and a meaty diet
Raw meaty bones have always been a dog’s best friend and are a very effective way to keep your dog’s teeth clean. The abrasive texture has the ability to gently grind away on plaque.
Lamb necks, ribs (shanks) and brisket flaps are perfect and smaller dogs can be fed raw chicken wings or legs. Tough cuts of meat in long strips or large chunks can also provide good dental exercise.
Be sure to avoid cooked bones and bones from larger animals, such as beef, as they may lead to broken teeth. Cooked bones can also increase the chance of germ transmission and splinter more easily, causing harm to your dog’s mouth.
We stock two diets specifically designed to clean teeth while your dog chews. The biscuits are a structured mesh, which act like a brush as your dog eats. The recipe is a fully balanced diet and can be used as a sole food source or mixed with other food. We are so confident in the taste that both dental dog foods come with a money back guarantee if your dog refuses to eat them.
If your pet hasn’t started on these specially designed foods at an early age, it is best to introduce the diet after your dog’s teeth have been professionally scaled and polished.
Toys are a useful addition to a dental hygiene program as they encourage your dog to chew. Several are available at the Moorabbin Veterinary Hospital including the Kong range.
Veterinary dental treatments
If your dog simply will not allow you to clean their teeth just bring them in for a checkup so we can make sure their teeth and gums don’t show any signs of disease. A dental examination is included in any checkup at the Moorabbin Veterinary Hospital.