Doggy Dental Care: Looking After Your Dog’s Teeth

He may not take centre stage on the blog too often, but Dax is a pretty important part of the family. Since getting him as a puppy 3.5 years ago, it’s hard to think of life without him. I’m the first to admit that ‘I’m not really an animal person’, but there’s something about his stupidly long sausagey body, ridiculously short legs and duster-like tail which makes me pleased that the missus bullied me into getting him. Just don’t tell her that.

Although dogs can be awesome, they’re not always a walk in the park – that’s pretty ironic considering it’s their favourite pastime. After speaking to a few people and doing our research, there were two ‘issues’ we had to be wary of with dachshunds. Firstly, their long backs are prone to injury which can result in pain, mobility problems and even paralysis. Secondly, they’re notorious for having teeth issues. As such, both of these common sausage dog problems can end up costing a lot – both emotionally and financially.

As with most things, prevention is better than cure. Where possible, we’ve done what we can to reduce the risk. So, for his back, it’s things like stopping him from jumping and ensuring he’s not too fat – although a messy, weaning toddler has made the latter a challenge! For his dog dental care, we frequently give him dental sticks and raw hides for him to chew on, plus try to brush his teeth as often as we remember.

Me: “Have you been feeding the dog?” L: “No!” Me: “Why’s he got Cheerios on his back then?” L: “Erm…”

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Despite this attempted prevention, his dental hygiene is something we still worry about – and probably always will due to his sausage dog status. He’s not at the point of severe gum problems or tooth loss just yet, but he does have a few issues – namely bad breath and the build up of tartar.

In fact, just a few months ago, we chose to have his teeth professionally cleaned at the vets to get rid of this build up. This was great as it got on top of any issues and took them back to square one. However, sadly for him – and our wallet – this is probably something he’ll have to have done annually to keep his gnashers in good nick.

Since having this professional clean done, we’ve made a concerted effort to stay on top of his oral care. This has mainly involved two things. Firstly, we’ve been brushing his teeth more often. We’re not quite at the point of daily brushing (that’s the goal!), but we’re certainly doing it more than before. Like with most things, it’s about getting into the habit, so we’re trying to build it into the evening routine – often when he’s comfortably snuggled in-between us on the sofa.

Doggy Dental Hygiene Looking After Your Dog's Teeth brushing sausage dog's teeth

We started brushing his teeth when he was a puppy so that he got used to it – what’s that saying about old dogs and new tricks?! Although it’s not his favourite thing in the world, he doesn’t mind it too much. He’s a very placid dog, so he just gives in for the two minutes it takes to lift his lip (do dogs have lips?!) and give his teeth and gums a quick brush. It goes without saying, but obviously we use a proper doggy toothbrush and toothpaste – an electric toothbrush with mint toothpaste probably isn’t wise!

Secondly, we’ve been giving him a daily dental stick. He’s always had these, but they’ve been more ad hoc in nature than they are now. As we have to be conscious of his weight, we’ve tended to view them as a treat, rather than an important part of his oral care. However, by reducing his kibble slightly at mealtimes, we can give him a dental stick without making him too fat. This gives him something to chomp on as a means to cleaning his teeth.

Doggy Dental Hygiene Looking After Your Dog's Teeth dog eating pedigree dentastix

When it comes to dental stick, we’ve tried a lot of different brands. Dax is happy to eat anything, so he’s not particularly ‘brand loyal’. However, for us, we tend to buy Pedigree Dentastix – mainly because they’re scientifically proven to help reduce tartar build-up by 80%. In addition, they’re low in fat, have no added sugar and are free from artificial colours / flavourings – if we try to avoid things like this in our diets, it makes sense to do the same with him. As you’d expect from a dog who’s ruled by his belly, Dax usually wolfs down his daily Dentastix in minutes.

So that’s how we try to keep on top of Dax’s oral care. We still have more to do in order to ensure his teeth are the best they can be – namely brushing more often – but we’ve definitely stepped up our dental game. Ferne and Rory from My Pet And Me would be very proud!

How do you ensure your pet has good dental hygiene? Do you brush their teeth or give them regular dental sticks? Let me know below!

N.B. This is a commissioned post in collaboration with Pedigree, but all thoughts are my own. For additional dental care information you can read the following Pedigree Reviews article for tips and advice.