To keep your dog’s teeth clean it’s important to use dog dental care products at home on a daily basis. Use this as a guide to decide what type of product is best for your dog.
In 1994, a group of veterinary professionals formed The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). The purpose of this council was to establish a way to endorse dental products that were scientifically proven to decrease dental plaque and tartar. This council now awards a Seal of Acceptance for products that successfully meet their criteria.
There are so many products available to consumers and it’s important to look for products with the VOHC Seal of Acceptance. These products have been proven to reduce dental plaque and tartar buildup. This is a guide to help you decide what type of product is best for your dog dental care. For specific products, you can visit the VOHC website.
5 types of dog dental care:
Toothbrush and toothpaste: For medium and large size dogs, the VOHC standard brush’ is a flat profile, soft bristle brush, compliant with American Dental Association. Brushing your dog’s teeth daily is the best way to prevent plaque and tartar buildup.
Instructions for brushing teeth: Gently hold your dog’s mouth slightly open. Place the toothbrush in between the lips and the teeth. (This is the only tooth surface that needs to be brushed) The brush should be held at a 45-degree angle and pointed toward the gum line. Using light pressure, move the brush back and forth in a horizontal direction three times. On the fourth stroke, direct the brush away from the gum line and toward the crown of the teeth. Repeat this process until all teeth have been brushed. You can also watch this video.
Dental sealants: There is only one company that has a dental sealant and it is only available from your veterinarian. This product has been clinically proven to last for 6 months without any take-home application required. It is meant to be applied while your pet is under anesthesia. A great time to apply this product is when your pet is spayed or neuter and after a professional dental cleaning.
Oral gels and water additives: Oral gels, rinses, and water additives have a chemical (often an antibiotic) that reduces plaque and tartar buildup. This type of dog dental care product is great for dogs in which owners are unable to brush their teeth and in dog’s that are not active chewers.
Diet: Science Diet prescription t/d was the very first product to be given the VOHC seal of approval. Eukanuba, Purina and Royal Canin also have similar diets that are now available through your veterinarian. These diets have a unique kibble size and shape that helps to scrub plaque and tartar from the tooth. These diets are complete and balanced diets and can be feed as the primary diet but they also make great treats.
Rawhide chew treat: Rawhide products are made from the hide of animals. There are many dog dental care products available, but only a few with the VOHC seal of approval. My personal favorite is the Virbac C.E.T. Hextra chews. I think this product is superior to all the others because it contains an antibiotic that helps prevent tartar and plaque buildup. This product can only be purchased from your veterinarian.
Edible treat: There are thousands of edible treats available, so why not purchase a product that has a dual purpose? Greenies were the first edible treat to be given the VOHC seal of approval. There are many knock-offs and similar products but if they don’t have the seal of approval they have not been proven to help with dog dental care. Milk-bone brushing chews are the most recent product added to the VOHC list and will be available in a store near you soon.