If only pets could talk. It wasn’t until my pet dog, Rufus, started whining at mealtimes that I knew something was wrong. He’d been pawing at his mouth a lot (which I later discovered was another warning sign) and when I opened his mouth I had to stifle a yelp myself when I saw how swollen his gums had become.
Trying not to panic, I took him down to the vet for advice on what to do.
The vet told me that I hadn’t been cleaning his teeth enough and that poor Rufus was at risk of a bacterial infection. This could result in gingivitis, a kidney infection or even heart disease.
I knew I’d never forgive myself if Rufus suffered because of poor oral hygiene. So I set out creating a dental action plan to keep my poor dog’s teeth clean and healthy.
My 3 step dog dental health plan
Brush teeth daily with pet formulated toothpaste
Going from every few weeks to daily would be a challenge. I knew Rufus wouldn’t be too thrilled with me poking around his mouth each morning. So I started gently brushing his teeth a few days a week and stopping when I could tell Rufus had had enough.
Using human toothpaste for a dog is a major ‘no, no’. This is because it contains fluoride which is pure poison for our canine companions. Thankfully, the vet had a range of tasty toothpastes just for dogs. I got a selection and at the moment Rufus seems very happy with seafood flavor.
Replace hard bones with chewy toys
When I told the vet I’d been giving Rufus leftover bones to chew on he didn’t look too impressed.
The vet told me that hard bones can wear down a dog’s teeth or even break them. Not only that, they can cause serious digestive issues. So I got Rufus a squeaky toy to chew on instead. This will help strengthen his teeth and gums as well as clean out bits of food.
Add mouthwash to their water
Perhaps the biggest and quickest improvement was from giving him mouthwash daily.
I use mouthwash twice a day for my own teeth and have noticed a big improvement. Naturally, it makes sense to give our pets mouthwash, too.
I use a vet formulated mouthwash called ‘Advanced Oral Care’ for dogs. All I do is add one tablespoon to his water and it helps to keep Rufus’ teeth clean and free from plaque and bacteria.
The mouthwash was super fast acting. It only took a week for me to notice his teeth looked whiter and his gums much healthier. His breath is actually bearable now, too and doesn’t make me want to make a trip to the bathroom.
Most of all, Rufus has stopped whining when he eats his food and wags his tail at dinner time, instead!
Start a dental health plan for your dog
Before I saw the vet, I had no idea how important oral care is to a dog’s health. I dread to think of poor Rufus developing kidney problems or getting heart disease, so I’m happy I took steps when I did.
If you want to keep your dog’s teeth and gums clean, strong, and healthy, make sure you brush their teeth at least 3 times a week (daily is better), give them a soft toy to chew on and add mouthwash to their drinking water every day.
Your dog may not be able to talk. But their happiness from cleaner teeth and healthier gums will be obvious.
Disclaimer – This article has been provided for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for professional advice. If your pet is showing swollen gums or any signs of illness please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible. The stories featured are fictional and for illustrative purposes. Any similarity to real people is coincidental. Some of the links in this article are affiliate links and we will earn commission for products purchased via these links. However, we only recommend products that have a proven track record of helping to improve a pet’s teeth, gums and oral health.