Love These Brilliant Holistic Tips For Your Dog's Dental Health

How healthy do you think your dog's teeth are?



Despite the importance of good dental health, it's something we can overlook in our dogs. According to the NHS, a person should brush their teeth twice a day. But there isn't the same definitive advice for dogs! Although the Royal Veterinary College advises that brushing is one of the best ways to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy.

Do you know what the signs of good canine dental health are?



There are several signs to look for, including:
  1. No bad breath! Smelly breath can be a sign of poor dental health.
  2. No drooling. Some dogs drool more than others. However, drooling can be a sign of dental health issues.
  3. Struggling to eat. Is your dog being "fussy" eating? If they seem to pick at their food, it may not be fussiness. Instead it maybe due to dental issues!

There are other signs. But if you notice any of the above, or have any inkling that your dog may have a dental issue. Then speak to your veterinary surgeon for professional advice.

Why Is Dental Health Important For Your Dog?


There are direct reasons for good dental health being essential for your dog. Including:
  1. Prevent tooth loss. Dogs can lose teeth due to poor dental health. This can mean a change of diet might be necessary
  2. Prevent dental pain due to gum disease and teeth irregularities. Remember dogs are amazing animals and can be very tolerant of discomfort. Even if it means they have to endure pain to eat! Never assume that your dog's teeth must be ok as he or she is eating. Dogs can get gum disease and have jagged or loose teeth amongst other issues, which means they are in pain.

Indirect reasons for good dental health for your dog are:
  1. Maintaining healthy digestion. If your dog is in pain due to dental pain he or she may not be eating efficiently. Not chewing food well, can make a difference.
  2. Organ health. According to VCA hospitals "When a pet develops dental disease, significant quantities of bacteria reside within the mouth and the oral tissues. These bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel to other areas within the body, causing distant or systemic effects. There are three organs that are especially susceptible to the spread of oral bacteria: the heart, the liver, and the kidneys."
  3. Behavioural issues. If your dog has dental pain, he or she may find it difficult to not show discomfort. Although you may not realise it's due to the teeth of course! If your dog's behaviour changes. Or doesn't want to do activities that he or she used to. It could be due to dental health issues. Remember that if you've dental issues, your emotional and physical health are often affected. The same is true for your dog.

There are of course many other reasons. But these 3 reasons show why canine dental health is important.

Dog Dental Health Tip #1 - Brushing



As with many health conditions, including dental issues. Prevention is better than cure. So brushing your dog's teeth is definitely a good idea. This is my first top tip for your dog's dental health. But how should you go about this?

  1. Use a suitable toothbrush. A gentle soft bristled children's toothbrush is ideal. Or you can get specialist toothbrushes. But you can also use your finger with a bit of toothpaste.
  2. Use a good toothpaste. Many human toothpaste's are unsuitable, but you can get special dog toothpastes. At the time of writing, Dorwest Herbs have a Roast Dinner Toothpaste for dogs! You can get online here. Some holistic veterinary surgeons also recommend using a small amount of coconut oil too.
  3. Practice. Your dog may not like his or her teeth brushed straight away. So do a little at a time, and let them get used to it over time. Remember to reward your dog with praise and a tasty treat when they let you brush their teeth. And start young! If you have a puppy then get them used to having their mouth gently handled regularly.
  4. Try and brush at least once a week. If you can do daily great. But as often as possible is fine. Try and be regular, so for instance in the evening or first thing in the morning. Most animals like some routine, including our canine companions.

If your dog has tartar build up or signs of dental disease, then get your dog's teeth checked professionally by veterinary surgeon first. It maybe a dental exam and treatment (like descaling) is required first.

Dog Dental Health Tip #2 - Nutrition


What you feed your dog can make a huge difference to dental health. This is in both terms of the type of food. But also in what nutrients the food contains.

Canine nutrition can be a controversial subject. This is largely because it's a multi-million or multi-billion pound/dollar industry. Unfortunately this means:
  • Large companies with massive marketing budgets can promote products which aren't actually that ideal for your dog. But nevertheless are very convincing to you as the dog owner that they are beneficial.
  • Opinions even by professionals aren't always as "independent" you may think. This can sometimes be due to the lack of substantial research evidencing benefits (or not) of different foods and products.

Should you use dry food or moist food for your dog's dental health?



This isn't a straightforward answer. Many holistic vets do recommend a raw food diet which is usually moist, as being better for overall health. However, there are some dry foods which can be beneficial. Not all dog feed is the same, that is an important message to remember!

According to this Vet Times article (Marge Chandler, DVM) "Actually, moist foods may perform similarly to a typical dry food in their effect on plaque and calculus accumulation".

Should you use "dental sticks" for your dog?

Yes and no…! Yes they can be very beneficial, the chewing action can help with promoting dental health.

But not all of them are helpful! From personal experience I know this is the case. I fed my beautiful dog a well-known brand of dental stick every day for years. He loved them. I believed (at the time) the marketing that they help care for the teeth. But nope. He ended up with periodontal disease in his mid-teenage years, and had to have teeth removed. I was so upset. I'd thought i'd been doing the right thing feeding him these dental sticks! I know my experience isn't isolated.

So my top tip is to yes use a dental chew. But use ones that are natural. In the UK there are some available using natural ingredients from Lilly's Kitchen, Forthglade and many other manufacturers too.

What nutrients can help your dog's dental health?


  • Antioxidants - These are beneficial in helping your dog to maintain good health. And they too can help with good dental care. One of their roles is to help reduce inflammation. So can help with maintaining good gum health. There's many foods which contain good sources of antioxidants, including fruits and vegetables.
  • Seaweed - Veterinary research in 2018 looked at the effect of edible treats containing Ascophyllum nodosum. This is the latin name for a type of seaweed. This research found that "The consumption of edible treats containing A. nodosum efficiently decreased plaque and calculus accumulation in the investigated dogs".
  • Fennel - Fennel contains a variety of nutrients that can help promote good dental health.

Should you use a raw food diet for your dog's dental health?


A raw food diet is becoming more commonly used around the world. Although in reality many dogs until the 20th century were largely on raw food diets, as there weren't the mass production of dog foods that we have now!

Many holistic veterinary surgeons recommend a raw food diet. This is for general health reasons, including to promote good dental health.There can be some scepticism. However, as is the case with anything, it's the type of food you use and how you use it which makes a difference. Not all raw food diets are the same. Get more information on raw feeding including how to find a veterinary surgeon at the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society here.

If you're unsure if your dog has the right diet to help maintain the best possible health, then speak to your vet for advice. You can also find holistic veterinary surgeon's who use an integrated approach to veterinary care around the world. If you'd like help finding a holistic veterinary surgeon near you, please email info at taranet.co.uk


Dog Dental Tip #3 - Use Complementary Therapies



There's many complementary therapies that can be used to promote good dental health for your dog.

This includes veterinary homeopathy and herbal medicine.

You can find many veterinary surgeon's around the world who specialise in homeopathy and herbal medicine. Always get professional advice, so your dog can get the most benefit from these therapies.

Other integrated approaches such as veterinarians using a type of laser therapy to help treat dental conditions are also becoming common.

In conclusion..

Your dog's dental health is really important. It can be considered the foundation for overall good health. There's many ways you can care for your dog's dental health including using a holistic approach.

Veterinary Research Links for Canine Dental Health



Like help finding a veterinary surgeon or therapist for your animal?
Please email me at info at taranet . co. uk

Please remember that if your horse, dog or other animal is unwell. Or on any kind of medication or other supplement. Then always speak to your Veterinary Surgeon first before using any supplement or therapy. Even natural ones. To avoid any possible issues.

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About the Author
Suzanne Harris is an equestrian and canine entrepreneurial coach and consultant to veterinarians who want to help prevent animals being affected by domestic abuse.