Unfortunately, dogs aren’t able to pick up a toothbrush every morning and evening to maintain proper oral hygiene. As such, they can start to develop some problems with plaque. Plaque is the build up of bacteria on teeth in such a way that they form a tough protein film over teeth, which can increase the likelihood of gum infections.
It’s not just dogs who are subject to plaque development, I’m sure your dentist has already made you aware of this problem as it affects humans too – and most other mammals! When dogs eat food, much like us, bacteria can be left on the teeth. If the bacteria aren’t removed by brushing then they can solidify on the teeth forming a tough protein layer that is difficult to remove by brushing. To effectively prevent the build up of plaque we need to brush at least twice a day, for up to 3 minutes. If bacteria are left on the teeth for around 24 hours, they solidify to form plaque which is extremely difficult to remove.
Brushing our own teeth is relatively easy to do morning and night, but there are valid reasons why brushing our dog’s teeth might not be so easy. For example, your dog may simply refuse to sit still for 3 minutes whilst you brush his teeth or you might just simply forget. Whatever the reason though, there is no major cause for concern as there are a number of ways we can help prevent and even reverse the build up of plaque.
One thing to bear in mind is that if plaque is left to build up without intervention it can become painful. Signs that your dog may be suffering pain from plaque build up include; reluctance to eat dry food, reduced interaction with chew toys and vocalisation when touching or going near teeth.
Before visiting your vet for the costly removal of painful plaque, why not try some of these alternatives that can cost you less than a £5 and be delivered to your door…
ProDen Plaque Off
ProDen Plaque Off is a highly successful and effective product used by both humans and animals to remove plaque. ProDen uses a patented recipe that includes a naturally rich source of iodine – Ascophyllum nodosum (an Arctic seaweed species). The active ingredients alter the pH and typical environment of the saliva, helping to prevent further build up of plaque and tartar, it also reduces the bad breath caused by the bacteria in the mouth.
Existing plaque is loosened and becomes porous – the plaque will eventually become loose enough to detach from affected teeth or you can speed up the process with a light brushing.
How to Use ProDen PlaqueOff
PlaqueOff comes in a 60g tub, which is filled with a fine green powder. Packed in the tub is a small scoop which you use to measure out the correct dosage of PlaqueOff. Because PlaqueOff needs to be ingested, the simplest way to do this is to take a scoopful from the tub and sprinkle it over your pet’s food. The mixture smells, as you might expect, like the sea – so by sprinkling the mix into your pet’s food you can mask the smell. However, when we tested this product, our dog actually really enjoyed the taste and ate it straight from our hand!
How Long Does a Tub Last and When Will I See Results?
The first thing you will notice when you get your tub is how small the dosage is! One scoop (the average dose size for most dogs) is such a small amount that your tub will endure months of usage. One scoop a day will last for at least three months. After around a month, you should start to notice some results, although it can vary depending on the dog and the severity of the plaque.
If your dog isn’t afraid of the toothbrush, after a month is up, try gently brushing at his or her teeth and you will likely see some of the softer, porous plaque come away from the teeth with ease.
ProDen has been clinically proven to reduce bad breath, tartar and plaque. ProDen was originally created for humans but is now used for animals too. On the ProDen website, they boast:
For once – a product that has been tested on people first!
It’s not just backed by scientific proof however, like myself, many other users of the product are extremely happy with the results. ProDen have managed to create an extremely happy fan base and many clean mouths.
ProDen PlaqueOff is now available for cats too!
Other Methods of Maintaining Oral Hygiene
The best way to maintain oral hygiene is twice-a-day brushing as this prevents the build up of bacteria and thus, plaque in the first place. But as we mentioned, brushing your dog’s teeth twice a day can sometimes be a difficult task. ProDen PlaqueOff is a great way to reduce and prevent a build up of plaque, but what about preventing plaque build up without the need for ProDen?
The best way to otherwise maintain oral hygiene is to use some of the dental chews and treats available for sale, for example:
- Pedigree DentaStix – A soft chew treat which stimulates teeth and gums and acts like an edible toothbrush
- Bakers Dental Delicious – A similar offering by Baker’s, a chew treat that acts as a toothbrush
- Royal Canin Veterinary Dental Diet – A specially formulated diet that promotes healthy teeth and gums
- Dental Toys – Toys are much longer lasting than chews, but work in a similar way by stimulating teeth and gums and acting as a toothbrush. There is a huge variety of dental toys, so it might be worth looking around to find one that is a suitable size and texture for your dog
- Specialised Toothbrush & Toothpaste – After considering all the other options, you might just want to stick with the traditional toothbrush. If this is the case, there are specialised toothbrushes available with a longer handle that makes brushing your dog’s teeth easier
From personal experience, I found that DentaStix and similar products aren’t useful for reversing plaque growth and should be used as a preventative measure, likewise toys and toothbrushes are also preventative. ProDen is the only product I have used which has reversed plaque growth.
Don’t forget that you can always visit your vet to get a build up of plaque removed, but this can often be a costly experience – especially if you dog will require general anaesthesia.
Why Oral Hygiene is Important
Oral hygiene is as important for dogs as it is for humans – and for the same reasons your dentist tells you. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum pain, gum inflammation or disease and in some extreme cases, the loss of teeth. Not only this, but a build up of plaque will lead to constant bad breath and dogs aren’t known to use chewing gum.
Have you tried any of the above products and noticed a reverse in plaque build up? What methods do you use to prevent plaque build up? Have you visited the vet to get plaque removed – what were your experiences? If you have anything to add, please let us know in the comments.