How to Care for Your Dog’s Teeth + Dental Cost Breakdowns | Pupford
June 6th, 2023
Filed under Health + Wellness
When it comes to our dogs, there’s nothing we wouldn’t do to keep them healthy. We give them high quality food and treats, exercise and train them -- we’re happy to go the extra mile.
But sometimes we fall short in one particular area: dental hygiene. But caring for our dog’s teeth and mouth is super important. After all, it’s the difference between a shining smile and a painful or dangerous condition.
If your dog’s mouth looks like that -- great! If it’s a little off the mark, don’t worry. There’s plenty you can do to improve oral health before major issues arise.
But for those who aren’t prioritizing caring for their dog’s teeth, it’s important to understand the consequences.
COSTS OF MAJOR PROCEDURES FOR NOT CARING FOR YOUR DOG'S TEETH
Not caring for your dog’s teeth can lead to medical conditions that are not only uncomfortable for your dog, but carry a hefty price tag for you. Some include:
- Cysts and tumors - poor oral care can cause tumors and cysts to develop. They may need to be removed, drained, or biopsied. This will likely cost between $250-$450 per growth.
- Periodontal disease - this is an infection between the teeth and gums. It can cause swelling, loose teeth, pain, and a lot of discomfort.
- Proliferating gum disease - this is when a dog’s gum grows over their teeth, and is a result of lack of gum and tooth care. This often leads to infection that requires antibiotics, costing anywhere from $200-$300 total.
- Tooth extractions - sometimes a tooth gets in such bad condition that removing it is best for your dog’s health. Depending on the severity and whether or not your dog needs anesthesia, it can cost anywhere from $20-$3,000 per tooth.
While these are just a few examples of procedures that can happen when you don’t care for your dog’s teeth, it paints a pretty clear picture: failure to prioritize oral care can lead to some really uncomfortable, and expensive conditions. Dogs can cost us a pretty penny, so looking into different options is also a good idea.
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HOW TO PROPERLY CARE FOR YOUR DOG'S TEETH
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to care for your dog’s teeth to prevent these and other issues. Let’s talk about them!
HOW TO BRUSH YOUR DOG'S TEETH
The most effective way to care for your dog’s teeth is similar to how you take care of your own teeth: brushing them regularly!
Yeah, we get it, brushing your dog’s teeth is about as easy to work into your daily schedule as giving a porcupine a massage, but if you take baby steps, it will be a simple part of your routine.
Here’s how to get your dog comfortable with tooth brushing:
- Get a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically for dogs. The toothpaste will be more appealing to them and not contain any ingredients that can potentially harm them. The toothbrush will be the appropriate size and shape for your dog’s mouth, which helps too. (PS- )
- Get your dog used to you touching their teeth. Touch the outside of their mouths, then slowly move to you rubbing your finger along their teeth and gums.
- Now you can introduce a finger toothbrush or introduce the regular toothbrush. Either way, let your dog smell the toothbrush and get used to it.
- Next, do the same with toothpaste on the brush. Make sure to give verbal praise and show positive body language when they lick the toothbrush or let you put it near their mouths.
- Finally, you should be able to put the toothbrush into their mouths and gently rub it along their teeth.
Once they’re comfortable with the toothbrush, you can work on mastering your brushing technique:
- Lift your dog’s lips to better access their front teeth.
- Work your way from front teeth to back teeth.
- Pay careful attention to the outer surface of the teeth
- Avoid using human toothpaste at all costs
OTHER WAYS TO KEEP YOUR DOG'S MOUTH HEALTHY
While brushing your dog’s teeth is the most effective way to keep them healthy, there are other ways to provide oral care -- some of which your dog may find more enjoyable than a toothbrush.
1. DENTAL WIPES
Pros: Less of a foreign object than a toothbrush Less of a foreign object than a toothbrush
Cons: Without brush bristles, there’s less plaque removal
Pros: Enzymes remove plaque and freshen breath naturally without putting anything in your dog’s mouth
Cons: Needs to be given daily and some dogs don’t like the taste
Pros: In addition to cleaning teeth, they keep your dog engaged and happy
Cons: Dogs can go through them quickly, and not all chews are made with natural ingredients. (!)
4. SPRAYS AND GELS
Pros: Very effective at controlling bad breath
Cons: Can be expensive and some dogs don’t love the taste
5. CHEW TOYS
Pros: Encourages proper chewing behavior and keeps dogs busy
Cons: Can be destroyed easily and may pose choking risk
6. DENTAL TREATS
Pros: A tasty treat that removes tartar and plaque
Cons: Can be expensive, single use, and not all dental chews/treats are made with natural ingredients ()
7. DENTAL TOYS
Pros: Easy to use and no clean up
Cons: Can be destroyed by super chewers
COST COMPARISON OF DIFFERENT DENTAL CARE METHODS
While each method carries a different price point, we can all agree on one thing: preventive care is much less expensive than treating the health conditions that can arise from poor oral care.
- Lowest cost - High-quality chews and chew toys are the least expensive method of dental care. They often cost between $10-$20.
- Mid-range cost - Dental-specific chews, toys, wipes, sprays, and gels are slightly more expensive, but won’t break the bank. They usually cost around $30-$50.
- Highest cost - having veterinarians treat health conditions that result from poor oral care, like tooth extractions and medication. These cost $200 or more.
Let’s see those healthy smiles! Tell us about your dog’s oral care routine in the comments below and tag us on Instagram @pupford!