10 ways to clean your dog’s teeth naturally

Scrumbles have kindly shared with us their top tips for keeping your dog’s mouth clean and healthy in this wonderful guest blog. 

Cleaning your dog’s teeth may not be the first thing you’d think of doing. However, just like humans, a large number of pooches suffer from gum and tooth issues – up to 80%. We previously wrote a post about dog teeth cleaning and why it matters, highlighting the importance of regular canine dental care.

Of course, if we had a toothache, we’d book a visit to our local dentist. Unfortunately, our furry friends aren’t always able to communicate their discomfort, sometimes leading to serious dental issues such as gum disease. If these go untreated, they can become very serious and even life-threatening.

If your dog has serious tartar build-up, we would recommend taking a trip to the vet for a thorough clean. However, this can be expensive and stressful for your dog, particularly if it involves anesthetic. It’s best to nip any problems in the bud through daily preventative measures at home.

Thankfully, there are plenty of simple and natural ways to clean your dog’s teeth naturally.

Tooth brushing
Admittedly, using a brush on your dog’s teeth can be tricky, especially if you’ve never tried it before- our dog Smudge wasn’t overly keen at first. Luckily, there are a variety of different brush options to suit the size of your dog’s mouth. Perhaps start by rubbing your finger on their gums at a time when they feel relaxed, such as after a walk or play. Once they get used to that, you can bring out a brush. Start at the back, brushing softly in circular motions over the teeth and gum line and work to the front. 30 seconds a side for the top and the same on the bottom is a good guide for a regular clean. Brushing every day is the best way to prevent dental issues, so we’d advise doing it as often as you can. Warning: never use human toothpaste- it usually contains fluoride which is toxic to dogs.

Toys
Not only do toys provide much-needed entertainment for your pooch, but they’re also a sneaky way to clean their teeth naturally without them even realising – perfect if your dog makes a fuss when you attempt to use a brush. Most toys contain bumps and grooves that can clear away plaque when rubbed against teeth and gums during play. There are even toys out there that are specifically designed for teeth cleaning. The challenge may be finding one that your dog will want to chew on quite vigorously without getting bored.

Dental chews
Dental chews will probably be the top natural tooth brushing option from your dog’s perspective. Of course, there are many dental chews out there that could be counter-productive to your pooch’s oral hygiene. That’s because they contain dubious ingredients like sugar, and we all know that sweets aren’t good for our teeth. However, Gnashers Daily Dental Chews have been specially formulated to help clean your dog’s teeth naturally. The crunchy texture and tooth-friendly ingredients such as pumpkin seeds, coconut oil, and clinically proven sodium hexametaphosphate will help keep their pearly whites gleaming. We recommend feeding one a day to your furry friend to supplement regular brushing.

Bones
Bones can be a great option as they are very appealing to most dogs. They also provide essential nutrients alongside a good tooth clean. Be careful though: some furry friends get so excited when chewing a bone that they actually damage their teeth. There’s also the risk of choking. For these reasons, make sure to supervise your dog whilst they gnaw away. Remember, bones should always be raw and pork, chicken and fish avoided to prevent splintering. They should also match the size of the dog.

Antlers
Another alternative to bones for doggie teeth cleaning is deer antlers. Like bones, most dogs love them. Additionally, they normally last longer- sometimes even weeks- and are less likely to splinter. Again, just keep an eye on your dog to prevent choking.

Natural dental sprays
There are a number of specially formulated natural dental sprays on the market. A bit like a mouth wash, this helps destroy plaque and freshen breath. Pull back the lips and concentrate on problem areas. For best results, you may need to prevent your dog from eating or drinking just before and after an application.

Grapefruit seed extract
The grapefruit seed extract is a powerful antimicrobial and is often a key ingredient in natural dental sprays. The name is actually quite misleading as it also contains parts of the grapefruit membrane and pulp. Diluting the extract and dabbing it on the teeth after brushing using a cotton bud will provide extra protection against inflammation and infection.

Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains acids that can kill fungus and bacteria. This makes it ideal for removing nasties in your dog’s mouth. What’s more, dogs seem to go crazy for its nutty taste. You can apply a small amount to a toothbrush or your finger- a great way to clean your dog’s teeth naturally. Alternatively, you can soak a bone in the oil, making sure to let it dry before serving to your doggo. A third option is mixing it into their food.

Cinnamon
You may just think of cinnamon as a tasty addition to your morning porridge. It’s certainly not the first thing you’d think to feed your dog. However, it’s actually full of antioxidants and is an effective antibacterial. As well as preventing tooth decay, it can freshen your dog’s breath, making that goodnight kiss an even more enjoyable experience. Simply scatter half a teaspoon into their food once a day. An added bonus is its ability to slow down food spoiling. Just be careful not to feed excessive amounts as it contains a compound which can damage the liver at high levels. Steer clear of cinnamon for pregnant dogs or those with bleeding disorders.

Watching their diet
Like for humans, unhealthy foods can damage canine teeth and gums. For this reason, and for their general health, it’s important to restrict the number of treats you give your dog. It’s also vital to choose a high-quality food with lots of meat and nutritious natural ingredients which will help develop strong teeth. We recommend including a high-quality dry food in their diet, such as Scrumbles Daring Dogs or Playful Puppies to help scrape off tartar.

A big thank you to Scrumbles and their doggie dental muse (and boss) Smudge and the team for all of their hard work and research on this!

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