Let’s face it: Some dogs are nearly impossible for teeth brushing. Fortunately, it is possible to clean a dog’s teeth without brushing so your pooch isn’t stressed out. Dogs, like people, live with a whole lot of bacteria in their mouths. Without taking care of a dog’s teeth and gums, bacteria finds its way into the bloodstream and ultimately, a dog’s organs. Not everyone is a fan of brushing their dog’s teeth, but there are ways to get around that.
You’ll always want to start with a clean slate in a dog’s mouth. A professional cleaning for heavy calculus and plaque buildup is necessary before implementing any sort of at-home doggy dental care regimen. Your dog’s veterinarian can decide if it’s time for a professional cleaning. That said, at 11-1/2 years of age, my dog has never required a professional dental cleaning nor did my first Cocker Spaniel. I’ll share with you my easy-to-replicate regimen plus a giveaway below, too.
I am not a veterinarian, but I am a diligent dog mom, dog writer, and dog advocate who has worked in this career for a dozen years. I like to share things that work for me and my dog. I cannot guarantee the same for your dog, as each dog is an individual being. Always check with your dog’s vet before starting a new health regimen.
This post contains some affiliate links for which I earn a small income if you click through and purchase something on the links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.
Why Does My Dog Need His Teeth Cleaned
When my Cocker Spaniel’s veterinarian told me my dog’s teeth are some of the cleanest she’s ever seen in a senior dog, I knew daily brushing was a big reason why. Not everyone can commit to teeth brushing, this I know. As yellowing, staining, and plaque start accumulating on a dog’s teeth, problems can occur.
Plaque is the enemy of teeth. It forms on a dog’s teeth after he eats and takes about 24 hours to start hardening. Plaque mixes with salts in saliva and finds a home on teeth. As plaque is allowed to harden, it gets tougher and mineralizes and becomes tartar. You don’t want tartar buildup, as it can wreak havoc on a canine gum line. That junky under-the-gum tartar and bacteria is the stuff you don’t want accumulating.
According to the Merck Manual for Veterinary Health, periodontal disease is classified in stages. By removing bacterial plaque on the tooth surface, gingivitis may be reversed so your dog’s gums return to a healthy, uninflamed state.
I’m all about my dog avoiding anesthesia. If something takes a few minutes once or twice a day, it’s worth doing to keep my pooch healthy.
Reasons People Don’t Clean A Dog’s Teeth
- I don’t have time
- My dog fights me
- I give him kibble or bones instead (no, that’s like cleaning your teeth by chewing pretzels)
- It’s too late to start
- He’s a puppy and doesn’t need it
- My friends and family don’t clean their dog’s teeth
- He bites me when I try to get in his mouth
- He’s older and doesn’t have many teeth anyway
If any of the above sounds like you, I’ve got you covered.
Home Care For Dog Teeth Without Brushing
You want something that is safe, effective, and easy to incorporate into a daily routine when it comes to canine tooth and gum care. After a thorough examination by your dog’s vet, start a routine with Oratene’s enzymatic brushless oral care. I’ve been using this product on Dexter once a day for six months. I used another dog-friendly toothpaste prior to this but will not recommend anything to my readers that I don’t use myself. Here’s what I did:
- Apply a half-inch strip of Oratene Brushless Oral Care toothpaste gel to his gums at least once a day. It is best to do this in the morning, at night, or after a meal for maximum efficacy. I did this before bed and first thing in the morning. When I applied it at bedtime, I used a child’s toothbrush but this was my own choice. It contains no alcohol, Xylitol, chlorhexidine, or detergent. Make sure it’s not right after a meal.
- Put a small dose of Oratene Brushless Oral Care water additive into my dog’s water bowl once daily. Again this contains no harmful Xylitol, alcohol, chlorhexidine, or detergent and helps to kill germs without brushing.
Dexter takes a few medications for mitral valve disease. He has been stable under the care of a board-certified cardiologist. In addition to meds, being diligent, and a healthy diet, I am taking care of my dog’s teeth and gums so bacteria can’t seep into his bloodstream and affect his heart.
Could Your Dog Have Dry Mouth
Something I discovered as a dog writer and dog mom is that dry mouth can affect dogs as it does people. I know because I am a dry mouth sufferer, and I use Biotene mouthwash to relieve this issue.
In 2008, GlaxoSmithKline acquired the Biotene line for humans accompanied by a brand name change for the pet products. The ZYMOX LP3 Enzyme System Oratene® Brushless Oral Care system was born. My dog and I both use products from the same company targeting the same issue.
Dogs affected by dry mouth may include tend to have one or more of these factors:
- Taking medications
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Autoimmune disease
- Anxious dogs
- Dogs who have had cancer/chemotherapy/radiation
Using the Zymox Oratene line of pet enzymatic products may help this problem, too. The official name for dry mouth is xerostomia (said like zero-stow-me-uh). Saliva does so many things for a dog including aiding in digestion, removing food debris from teeth, and controlling a dog’s oral ph. If your dog cannot produce enough saliva, oral issues can happen.
Lubricating Dexter’s mouth twice daily with the Oratene gel in addition to offering a clean, fresh supply of water has been very beneficial for him.
What If My Dog Won’t Let Me Near His Mouth
If you’ve never tried to get inside your dog’s mouth before, start very slowly with the Oratene brushless gel. Here’s a step-by-step guide to helping your pup acclimate to home oral care.
How Do I Get My Dog Used To Oral Care
Don’t use Oratene or any products at all for the first week or so. A few times a week, simply get your dog used to the idea of your finger(s) near his mouth.
Lift your pup’s lip and praise him for allowing you to do so. Never do this when the dog is sleeping or just finished eating. Your pup should be relaxed and you should have a few treats available to reward. Never scold your dog for not cooperating. Positive reinforcement is key. The goal is to make the entire experience rewarding. In fact, praise him like he just won the Dog of the Year award.
Purchase gauze and slowly begin rubbing your dog’s teeth with a dry gauze pad. Repeat the same behaviors as you did in the previous step. This is a happy experience and you want your pup to be told what a good boy or girl as you go. Lots of praise!
Once your dog accepts this, dampen the gauze pad with warm water (not cold, as it may irritate the dog’s teeth and gums). The goal is to accustom your pup to the idea of dental care.
Move from the dry gauze pad to Oratene toothpaste gel. Apply a half-inch strip to the top gums and the lower gums. You may need to simply start with just one section of the mouth and work up to the other three (top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right). I like to use a child’s toothbrush at least once but if you can at least get the gel into your dog’s mouth and at that key gum line area, this is most beneficial.
Don’t yell or shout at your dog. Scolding will defeat the purpose. You want this to be a super positive experience. I will say, “Dex, let’s do your teeth.” He comes right over to me because we’ve been making it a puppy party-like experience with “good boy” and treat time dispensed before, during, and after each use of the Oratene.
If at any time your dog puts up a fuss, stop and revert back to the previous step. Patience is key, but the brushless Oratene gel makes it much easier than trying to put a toothbrush into a super unwilling dog’s mouth.
If you made it this far, you are on your way to your dog living a lot healthier than he would have without a dental routine in place. Decide when you are going to brush your dog’s teeth. I recommend doing this once a week until the dog is used to it. The Oratene water additive comes in handy to support normal periodontal health.
Where To Buy Biotene Brushless Oral Care
Since I do most of my shopping on Amazon, I recommend checking out the line of Oratene products there:
Learn more by visiting the Zymox Oratene website.
Enter To Win Oratene Products For Your Dog
Enter to win a tube of Oratene Brushless Oral Care toothpaste gel and an Oratene water additive by commenting below and telling us the name of your dog who would benefit from these products.
One random winner will be selected from all entries received on Friday, 02/28/20. Winner will be notified by email and has 48 hours to reply. Zymox will ship the products directly to you.
Note: This post contains affiliate links from Amazon, meaning if you click on a link above and then make a purchase, Fidose of Reality will receive a small commission with no extra cost to you. You help us keep the site up and running and in exchange, you get to shop for items you love. Wags!