PROTECT THE TEETH OF YOUR DOG
“How This Toothbrush Saved My Dog’s Life”
By Lisa Finley
I felt so embarrassed. How could I let my poor dog’s teeth get noticed?
Mia is our 4-year-old retriever-mix rescue. She doesn’t have bad breath, and her teeth are white. At least that’s what I thought.
Then one day, Mia yawned really big. I finally saw those WAY back teeth in her mouth. And they… were… gross.
“We may need to pull some of them out…”
I immediately made an appointment with our vet. He took one look and said, “Yeah, these are bad. We’re gonna need to do a cleaning and maybe pull some of them out”.
Pulling her teeth out? I was shocked. Was this really necessary?
I talked to a friend about this, and she shared a scary story. It turned out that when she was a kid, she had a dog who became very ill.
So of course, her parents took the dog to the vet. The bloodwork showed nothing. The X-rays showed nothing. It was only by chance that the vet happened to catch a glimpse of something in the dog’s mouth.
“The tooth was pulled and the poor pup was put on some heavy-duty antibiotics…”
One of the teeth had gone bad and had become infected. The tooth was pulled and the poor pup was put on some heavy-duty antibiotics. But it was too late. He died just a few weeks later. To this day, my friend is sure it was due to the infected tooth. And she may be right — when you consider the following.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 83% of dogs have oral health problems by the age of 3. That’s not surprising — gums and teeth are a breeding ground for bacteria. Over time, this can lead to bad breath, receding gums, significant pain, and tooth loss. But it gets worse.
BACTERIA IN THE MOUTH CAN INFECT YOUR DOG’S HEART, LIVER, AND KIDNEY
That’s because bacteria in the mouth can enter your dog’s bloodstream, leading to life-threatening conditions affecting the heart, liver, and kidneys. This is probably why my friend’s dog got sick so suddenly — and why she wound up dying within weeks.
PERIODONTAL DISEASE IN A DOG
When you put all this together, it becomes clear that a dog’s oral health is serious stuff. That’s why the AVMA recommends taking care of your dog’s dental health from puppyhood — and dealing with it every day. The only question is how.
MY TOOTH-BRUSHING FAIL
Fortunately, it turned out Mia didn’t need to have any teeth pulled. The vet cleaned her teeth, but now it was up to me to maintain this every day. Easier said than done.
You see, there are lots of proposed solutions for cleaning your dog’s teeth — but most of them don’t work. Chew toys are designed for fun and do not have cleaning ability. Chew bones are also not a solution — they might actually shear the tartar and drive it into the gums, making gingivitis worse.
“Mia, like many dogs, absolutely hated the tooth-brushing experience…”
The only real solution is tooth brushing. The problem was Mia, like many dogs, absolutely hated the tooth-brushing experience. She refused to let me get in there with the finger toothbrush I had. I couldn’t get the back of her teeth at all. It usually turned into a game of her running and hiding under a chair.
This is the look I used to get when I took out the finger toothbrush
I felt guilty because I knew now how important dental hygiene was for Mia. At the same time, I hated chasing her around and stressing her out — without even achieving anything. It looked like a hopeless situation. And then I got lucky.
WORKS WITH YOUR DOG’S PSYCHOLOGY
The groomer I take Mia to recommended a standalone, your-dog-does-all-the-work toothbrush called PawSafe Dog Toothbrush Chew Toy. I was a little skeptical but also intrigued. So I decided to dig in and research what this is all about.
The PawSafe Dog Toothbrush is not a real chew toy, but a real toothbrush designed to remove tartar and plaque. It’s even been recommended by vets. In a nutshell, it’s a large rubber cylinder with really soft rubber bristles on the side. As your dog chews it and bites it, the bristles clean the dog’s teeth all the way to the gum line.
PawSafe’s Clever “Dog Bone” Design
“Dogs want to chew on a bone and this toothbrush taps into that…”
And here’s the best part. This toothbrush is completely natural for dogs to use, because it works with their psychology. Dogs want to chew on a bone and this toothbrush taps into that. It even works your dog’s chew muscles to get your pup nice and relaxed — unlike the trauma that regular tooth brushing was causing Mia.
It all sounded promising. But there was no way to know if this toothbrush would work without trying it. Here’s what happened when I got it.
THE FIRST ATTEMPT
When the PawSafe Dog Toothbrush arrived, Mia was a little skeptical. So just for good measure, I added in a generous portion of the “dog toothpaste” (more on this in a sec) and gave it to Mia to work on.
At first she was just licking the dog toothpaste from the ridges on the side of the toothbrush. But eventually she carried the toothbrush over to the carpet, flopped her paw over one side, and started chewing and gnawing at it from every angle.
Mia took to the toothbrush naturally
It was working! And the way she was going at it, I figured it must feel really good to her mouth. At least that was the theory — the real test was over the coming weeks and months.
10 minutes every day
I give it to her for 10 minutes at a time to keep it novel and interesting. Often when I try to take it away so I can wash it, she won’t let it go. It then turns into a game. And all the while the toothbrush is making her teeth squeaky clean, without my having to do much.
We’ve been using the toothbrush for over two months now. Mia is a big chewer, this is important because some other toothbrushes break off into small rubber pieces over time, which could be dangerous. This one has stayed completely solid. And it’s fun for her, so it’s been easy to make it into a daily routine.
“It’s a game that makes her teeth squeaky clean, without my having to do much…”
Warning: not for dogs!
I mentioned earlier that I give “dog toothpaste” to Mia each time I have her work on the toothbrush. This is a bit of beef-flavored goop that goes on the sides of the toothbrush and that helps Mia stay interested. Plus it’s supposed to contain antimicrobials and enzymes to additionally help clean her teeth.
But there’s one important point. While the “dog toothpaste” comes in a normal tube just like human toothpaste, that’s where the similarities end. You should NOT use human toothpaste on your pup, because humankind contains fluoride and various surfactants, which can be toxic to dogs if ingested.
In other words, if you don’t have dog toothpaste, it’s better not to use anything than to use human toothpaste. And using nothing might be ok. I personally got the dog toothpaste just because they were offering a special buy 2 get 1 free deal along with the toothbrush, but now I think it was a smart decision.
Sometimes Mia eats and there’s food stuck in her teeth. I then give her the toothbrush and I can literally see the food get removed. And when we meet other dogs at the park, it’s obvious Mia’s teeth are visibly in better shape than theirs.
The soft rubber bristles clean all the way to the gum line
And it’s not all just in my head. We were at the vet recently and he did a full checkup. He commented on how healthy Mia’s teeth are, and told me to keep doing whatever I’m doing. Which brings me to the final point I want to make.
Avoid pulled teeth
A friend of mine thought oral health for dogs was a ridiculous idea. She thought this right up to the point she paid $600 to have seven of her dog’s teeth removed. And that’s not the only issue.
The fact is, your dog’s teeth are a good sign of their overall health. White teeth and pink gums mean a healthy pup. Gunky, uncared-for teeth could mean dangerous bacteria spreading from the mouth to the bloodstream and infecting your dog’s vital organs.
30 Day Results With PawSafe’s Toothbrush
The good news is it’s easy to prevent. This hands-free toothbrush has been a lifesaver for me personally. It makes Mia’s teeth sparkling clean without me having to stick my finger in her mouth. I can’t recommend it enough.