How important is your dog’s oral hygiene to his overall health? The answer is that it’s very important! In fact, dental disease in dogs is a common problem and if you don’t maintain your dog’s oral health, it can have a direct impact on your dog’s vital organs like his heart, kidneys, liver and digestive system.
In this article, Patricia Jordon DVM discusses the importance of maintaining your dog’s oral health, the causes of dental disease in dogs and provides ten natural remedies to help prevent and remedy canine dental and/or gum problems …
The Importance Of Oral Hygiene To Your Dog
Your dog’s mouth health is essential to his overall health. Dental disease in dogs is tied to systemic disease and can affect the heart, kidneys, liver and may even be linked to cancer or diabetes. And it’s a two-way street: organs like the kidneys can be affected by poor oral health … but your dog’s oral health can also suffer if he has kidney disease.
Dental Health And Your Dog … The Big Picture
Do your dog’s teeth and gums look like this, with beautiful white teeth and healthy looking pink gums?
Or more like this poor dog?
Hopefully there aren’t too many dogs out there with teeth and gums this bad. But even if your dog’s mouth is somewhere in between – like the one below – with a bit of tartar and gum inflammation, maybe some bad breath … you’ll want to keep reading to find about the causes of poor oral health, what you can do to improve it – and how important oral health is to your dog’s overall health.
3 Major Causes of Dental Disease In Dogs
So, what causes poor oral health in the first place?
The strength of your dog’s teeth and gums comes mainly from the right diet.
- Dogs fed a natural diet with chewy muscle meat as well as raw meaty bones and recreational bones usually have healthy mouths.
- Natural diets provide the right habitat for your dog’s healthy oral microbiome. Natural live enzymes and “good” bacteria help prevent tartar build up.
- Gnawing on bones is not only nutritious and good for your dog’s teeth and gums, but also provides hours of enjoyment (chewing = mental health!), exercises your dog’s neck and shoulder muscles as well as his mouth, and even stimulates his neurotransmitters.
A bad diet (meaning any kibble diet, however “premium” it is) can be a direct cause of weak teeth and weak gums. Don’t take my word for it. Just read this story about a shocking study done by Australian veterinarian Dr Tom Lonsdale. Dr Lonsdale temporarily switched a group of raw fed dogs onto a kibble diet. After just 17 days, dogs who’d started out with perfectly healthy teeth and gums got stinky breath, yellow teeth and sore bleeding gums. After just 17 days on kibble!
Avoid Veterinary Dental Cleanings
Aside from the fact that a healthy mouth is good for your dog’s overall health, there’s another strong incentive to keep your dog’s mouth healthy …
… you’ll avoid having to put him through dental cleanings under anesthesia. Some dogs go through this every year! It’s expensive, it’s risky (dogs can and do die under anesthesia) and it shouldn’t be necessary if you take a few simple steps to keep your dog’s mouth healthy.
There are lots of steps you can take at home to keep your dog’s mouth healthy.
10 Tips To Maintain Your Dog’s Dental Health
We’ve already talked about diet, so besides feeding your dog a species appropriate raw meat-based, whole food diet, here are some of my favorite ways to prevent and treat dental disease in dogs.
#1 Give Your Dog Ozonated Water
Buy an ozone maker and create your own ozonated water. You can give it to your dog as drinking water or use it to flush out your dog’s mouth.
#2 Apply Ozonated Oils To Teeth And Gums
Buy ozonated oil (Pur03 is a brand I like, available at amazon.com and other places online). The oils are infused with ozone until they take on a gel consistency. Ozone has powerful antibacterial properties and has been shown to promote healing. The oils don’t taste great, but they come in several different oils so you can experiment and see which you and your dog like best. My favorite is sunflower oil as it holds the most ozone, is a natural source of vitamin D, and has a long shelf life.
The best way to use the oil on your dog is to place it on a Q-tip and paint it on any teeth that have plaque to remove the plaque.
#3 Give A Daily Probiotic Supplement
Probiotic supplements can help create a healthy bacterial environment in your dog’s mouth. I prefer soil based probiotics like Garden of Life’s Primal Defense. You can also use probiotic foods and here are some of my favorite ways to feed these to your dog.
#4 Feed Bone Broth
Make bone broth for your dog and feed it several times a week. It’s chock-full of minerals that really help strengthen teeth and gums. My favorite is oxtail for its powerful nutritional benefits.
Bone broth is really easy to make [Just follow this recipe]
#5 Make Your Own Eggshell Toothpaste
This is a remineralizing toothpaste that’s easy to make for your dog. It’ll strengthen his teeth and help prevent or repair any cavities.
You can use a finger brush or a piece of gauze wrapped around your index finger to apply the toothpaste daily to your dog’s teeth.
#6 Bee Propolis Tincture For Healing
Bee propolis is very healing and highly concentrated. It’s sticky, almost like a resin. It’s antibacterial, anti-parasitic and anti-viral. Bees use it to patch their hives! But you can use it in your dog’s mouth.
I use it to patch over areas of teeth that look really bad. Apply it if your dog looks like he might be getting an abscess, or use it to cover an exposed root. If you need to apply it to a tooth, hold your dog’s lip out to let the tooth dry before applying the tincture, and it will stay on much longer.
#7 Coconut Oil For Gums
Coconut oil is antibacterial and is excellent for gums. You can use it on a finger brush or gauze wrapped around your finger and brush your dog’s teeth and gums with it instead of toothpaste.
#8 Aloe Vera For Pain
Aloe vera gel is tremendously soothing. Buy a natural, organic brand without any additives, not the stuff in a tube at the drugstore. Or just keep an aloe vera plant in your house and break off a leaf to use the gel inside. Place the gel directly on teeth and gums if your dog has any pain or inflammation in his mouth.
I can’t say enough good things about calendula. It’s antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and it soothes the mucous membranes. Calendula promotes normal healing of the skin and can be used for gingivitis. A 2013 study 0f 240 patients in India found that calendula was effective in reducing dental plaque and gingivitis as a adjunct to oral prophylaxis.
Use an alcohol tincture diluted 1 part calendula to three parts spring water, and apply to the affected areas of your dog’s mouth.
#10 Homeopathic Remedies
In natural human dentistry these homeopathic remedies are taking the place of fillings for cavities. They’ll work to remineralize your dog’s teeth too.
- Calcarea phosphorica 6X
- Calcarea fluorica 6X
Place one tablet of each of these two remedies in a small bowl of spring (not tap) water and give it to your dog every day for a month to strengthen teeth and bones and help prevent tooth decay.
We’ve got loads more on homeopathic remedies [Click here to read more]
Check your dog’s mouth at least weekly so you can catch any problem areas quickly, and use these tips to help with any issues that come up. Keep your dog’s mouth healthy and you’ll protect his overall health too. Remember – dental disease can be serious, so try for pearly whites for a healthy life!