For the last post in my Pet Dental Health Month series I’m going to show you a wide range of dental health products currently available. I don’t think any one item is perfect or will solve all your pet’s dental needs, so I personally like to use a variety of different methods and products to cover all my bases. Many of these products I have used myself and others are popular with customers at the pet store where I work.
Pet toothpaste is probably the most prolific product on the market and most people are familiar with it so I won’t go too in-depth here. One thing to remember is that you absolutely cannot use human toothpaste with dogs or cats! Human toothpastes can contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, and they are not designed to be swallowed (source: Dr. Jeff Nichols). Furthermore, if you have a cat you’ll want to pay attention to your labels. Some toothpastes are designed for “pets” while some are specifically for dogs and could contain ingredients not safe for cats.
I am currently using Sentry Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste . My dogs seem to prefer the poultry flavored varieties.
People often ask me which type of toothbrush is better, and I always tell them that it’s personal preference. I started off with a finger brush assuming it would be the easiest but found later that Pug did slightly better (very slightly) with a standard style toothbrush. I am currently using the Triple Pet EZDOG Toothbrush for Small Breeds. With Pug I’m only able to keep the brush in his mouth a short amount of time and I want to get as many angles as possible. The same brand makes an upgraded finger brush on the right that extends down into your palm for extra control.
I suggest starting off with the cheaper versions of a regular toothbrush or finger brush (well sell ours for $1, which is pretty standard) and then upgrade once you figure out what works best for your dog.
Water additives are a really popular item and for good reason – they clean your pet’s teeth passively. The water additive is added right to your pet’s water bowl and they never know they’re getting a dental treatment. This is a really good alternative for dogs that simply will not tolerate tooth brushing. I personally still recommend that people use dental treats and bones in addition to the water additive to scrape the plaque that is softened. My favorite water additive is made by Tropiclean.
If you’d rather use a food additive, Animal Apawthecary makes a powdered product called SeaDent For Dogs. It is made from organic kelp with added enzymes. I have not used this products personally, but I am a huge fan of Animal Apawthecary and swear by several of their products, so it’s worth a shot if you prefer a powdered product.
Gel and foam products are the middle ground between a passive product like the water additive and toothpaste and toothbrush. You still have to get them in the pet’s mouth, but they’re designed to be effective without brushing. That said, if your dog will let you use a toothbrush they work great as a toothpaste too.
Tropiclean Gel or Foam is a popular choice with a strong minty flavor. So, not only is it good for breaking down plaque and tartar, it will give your dog an instant breath freshening as well. For applying the foam I think it’s easiest to squirt directly in their mouth. For the gel, I apply it to my finger and then wipe it across their teeth.
Zymox and PetzLife both make similar products that are a liquid spray and work much the same way.
There are a lot of dental treats on the market and not all are created equal. But even the best quality dental chews aren’t the end all be all of dental health. I think they’re a great addition to your dental arsenal but I wouldn’t rely on them exclusively.
My two favorite dental chews right now are Zuke’s Z-Bones (which have been a long-time favorite) and Whimzees. Both of these are grain-free and limited ingredient. Z-Bones come in three different flavors (apple, cherry or carrot) and four different sizes. Whimzees come in super adorable shapes like toothbrush, alligator (my personal fave) and a hedgehog. My dogs love both of these chews and I frequently use them as part of my overall dental health routine.
Raw Feeding: Of course feeding exclusively raw food is amazing for your dog’s dental (and overall) health, but supplementing with a small amount each day has its benefits too! My dogs get about 1-ounce per day of raw food in the form of frozen or freeze-dried prepared raw diets from brands such as Bravo, Stella and Chewy’s, Nature’s Variety and Primal. I noticed a huge difference in Molly’s teeth especially after just one month of adding raw to her diet. Raw meat has naturally occurring enzymes that help break down plaque and tartar AND my dogs go absolutely crazy for it.
Raw Meaty Bones: In the wild, raw bones from their prey would serve as a natural toothbrush. You can recreate this with raw meaty bones purchased at natural pet food stores. Raw bones have an abrasive texture and maintain some of their flex (source: Dog Food Advisor) For my dogs (20 and 40 pounds respectively) I feed raw rib bones. My mom feeds her larger dogs (ranging from 50-140 pounds) larger shank bones.
Check out Pug going to town on a raw bison rib!
That wraps up my Pet Dental Health Month Series. I hope you found it informative!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links."This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will addvalue to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”