Kirby has a bright white smile and rarely has bad breath which I believe is another great benefit from eating wholesome foods. Usually his bad breath comes from chewing on a smelly bully stick or those rare times he sneaks a litter crusted cat poop "treat". At almost seven years of age his teeth are strong and healthy. To keep them that way we brush daily.
Did you know plaque forms on your dog's teeth within 24 hours of eating? Studies have linked periodontal disease in pets to systemic diseases of the kidneys and liver, heart disease, lung disease, diabetes complications, problems during pregnancy, and even cancer. In addition to systemic diseases, infections in the mouth and gums often create other problems including tooth root abscesses, jaw fractures, nasal infection, eye loss and oral cancer.
Veterinary dental cleanings require general anesthesia which is always considered stressful and risky for dogs. Non-professional dental scaling (NPDS) known as anesthesia free dentistry isn’t a good substitute since a thorough oral exam and cleaning can't be accomplished on a dog who is awake. This is why daily brushing is considered a necessity.
It takes only a small amount of toothpaste so one small jar can easily last months making it inexpensive. Applying it with a toothbrush is best but your dog can still benefit from just rubbing it on their teeth and gums with your finger. I started Kirby with a finger brush when he was a pup and as he became accustomed to this ritual he tolerates we moved to a child's soft bristle brush.
I've also added flavorful herbs at the bottom which are totally optional since the coconut imparts a nice sweet flavor. Kirby likes mint in his baked treats but seems to hate it in his toothpaste. He does like anise or cinnamon. He also likes coconut so he's happy without an added flavor.
I know it doesn't look pretty so you'll have to trust me when I tell you it works and Kirby likes it.
DIY Doggie Toothpaste
Cook Time: 5 seconds
Nutrition facts: 4 calories, 4 calories from fat Total fat: 0.4g or 1% (0.4g saturated fat, 0.0g trans fat)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon bentonite clay
- 1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- Place the coconut oil in a small microwavable bowl and heat for 10 seconds to melt. Stir in the clay and sea salt. .
- Once thoroughly mixed add the optional herb. Try different flavors to discover your dog’s favorite.
- Place in a small glass jar with lid or a squeezable container.
- Once it hardens place a small amount of the mixture on a soft bristle toothbrush and brush. Kirby has his own labeled jar so I just scoop some up with the toothbrush.
You can store the toothpaste away from heat and light sources for several months. It's warm here so it doesn't harden to the point I can't scoop it. If it does harden, simply heat in the microwave a few seconds or place the jar in warm water. You can also add a few teaspoons of filtered water if you find it's too thick to work with.
Coconut Oil gives the toothpaste a nice consistency. It has antibacterial agents that help end gums disease which is a leading cause of bad breath, helps fight cavities, and whitens teeth. It improves skin conditions by removing toxins from the body through the mouth and supports the kidneys and liver by removing toxins from the bloodstream easing the amount of work they have to do.
Bentonite Clay binds and removes unhealthy substances around the teeth and on the tongue and gums. Holistic veterinarians recommend adding it to a pet’s food or water to detox the body since it has a negative ionic charge which pulls positively charged particles from the body via the bloodstream and then eliminates them through the kidneys and bowels. It may affect medications so check with your veterinarian first.
Sea Salt works as a gentle abrasive and neutralizes acids in the mouth from bacteria that cause bad breath and tooth decay. Sea salt is the only salt considered safe for dogs.
Optional flavors to add in powdered form (1/4 teaspoon) or extract form (a few drops):
There are alcohol free food grade extracts, however most extracts contain alcohol which is toxic for dogs. When using extracts in baked treats the alcohol is burned away making them safe. Make sure you use ONLY ALCOHOL FREE extracts in this toothpaste. I prefer to grind the herbs in a small coffee grinder labeled specifically for Kirby, meaning there is no chance of coffee grinds which are toxic for dogs.