Doggie Dental Care
Tips and Demo by Tawnya Ann Bobst, RDH, BS
Just as in humans, gum disease and bacteria in the mouth can affect the organs and well being of the animal. Bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to all the organs. Routine dental care can extend your pets life, improve fertility and allow them to chew their food properly aiding in proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
Warning signs – gum disease doesn’t happen over night. Weekly exams will insure that the teeth are not being neglected. Gums should be pink and free of swelling, redness and deposits. Teeth should not be loose. Teeth that are not properly aligned can increase the chance of gum disease. Puppy teeth should be checked frequently when they are being shed to insure that they are removed when necessary. Bad breath can be a sign of gum problems.
Emotional support – If you make teeth checking and cleaning a relaxed bonding time with your pet, it can be less of a chore. Calm, assertive energy is a must. Soft music and aromatherapy can help to set the stage for a easy procedure. Pick a time when the dog is a little tired to work on the teeth.
Some people use a little benadryl or ace to help calm the dog. If you are not calm, the dog can feel it so take a few breaths before beginning.
Daily routine: Using a gentle colgate sensitive compact head toothbrush or child sonicare, gently brush the teeth at the gumline with a 45 degree angle into the gum sulcus area. Dry brush first and follow with a baking soda and water paste. If gum disease is present, you can add one drop of thieves or lavender essential oil to a baking soda solution. Use in very tiny amounts.
Avoid commercial toothpaste as they contain fluoride which is toxic.
Tooth brushing should start at an early age in short intervals with tons of praise to get the dog used to the feeling of the brush.
Tools needed for the cleaning –
1. Dental hand scaler- American Eagle H6/7 XP sickle tool.
2. 2 X 2 gauze sponges or soft thin wash cloth
3. Ultrasonic scaler like a cavitron is necessary for heavy deposits
4. Large towel to wrap dog in and smaller towel under the head
5. Alcohol to sterilize the tools.
Benadryl liquid– May be used to help make the dog sleepy.
Thieves essential oil – contains eucalyptus,lemon, rosemary,clove and cinnamon. Used in ancient times against the plague. May have antibacterial properties.
The thieves toothpaste without xylitol can be used in tiny amounts. Do not use xylitol in dogs.
Orange essential oil – lowers cortisol levels and helps with anxiety.
Diffuse in the room while working or place on a cotton ball near the work area.
Lavender essential oil – anti-anxiety and calming properties. Diffuse,rub on your wrists, or pet the dog with a drop before working on the dog. Lowers cortisol.
Thyme – This single essential oil has been used successfully as a mouth rinse and for sore throats in people. One drop in a glass of water used to gargle and spit out. It is a hot spice oil so topical use is to be avoided.