How can I keep my dogs mouth healthy? - McDowell's Herbal Treatments

Oral health care is an essential part of keeping our dogs healthy. There are many schools of thought around how to keep your dogs teeth healthy but it is all about figuring out what works for your individual dog, and keeping their teeth monitored so if there is a problem, you can address this before it gets worse.

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Raw meaty bones are thought of as the key for healthy teeth and gums in our dogs, and I agree - mostly. But it’s not the whole story. I have seen dogs that have had access to bones to chew and they have still developed dental disease. Oral health is like any other aspect of health. It comes from what they eat, their genetics, what their puppyhood was like, what kinds of medical interventions they have had and even the nutrition of their parents and grandparents.

Here are some key points for optimal oral health for your dog:

Raw meaty bones are the best toothbrush for your dog!

When a dog gnaws on a meaty bone, the gums are massaged, and the plaque is moved off the teeth. The chewing increases the saliva production which also helps to protect the teeth from bacteria.

The most important part of using bones for oral health is to match the bone size to the dog.

For bones to clean the teeth, they need to take some time to chew. Two crunches and then swallowing is not going to clean the teeth! Keep an eye on dogs that gulp and always supervise bone chewing.

Small dogs can have chicken necks, chicken wings. 

Medium dogs can use chicken drumsticks and turkey necks, lamb ribs.

Large dogs might need beef ribs and bones, turkey drumsticks. 

Large weight-bearing bones are not suitable if your dog tries to crack through them. This can break teeth.

Nutritious diet

Teeth are made from living cells. They are supplied with a blood supply which carry nutrients and oxygen and have nerves. These cells all require the proper nutrients to function properly and produce strong health teeth. These nutrients have to come from the diet. They need adequate calcium, Phosphorus, potassium, vitamin D, K, C, A, E. If there is not adequate nutrition in the diet the teeth are not as strong and healthy and resistant to chipping, or cavities.

Fresh water

No one like a slobbery dog kiss, but saliva plays a really important role in protecting the teeth from acid, washing away food particles and reducing the ability of bacteria to adhere to the tooth surface. There are antibacterial agents in the saliva, and ions that help to nourish the tooth.

Dogs need to drink adequate water to be able to produce sufficient saliva. If the water is too warm, dirty, or chlorinated it can reduce the amount of water they consume.

Try to provide cool, fresh and filtered water. Wash their water pot out daily, and on hot days make sure they have more than one water pot to drink from.

Kibble does not clean teeth.

This is one of the great marketing myths dry dog food companies use.

There is no way a dry dog food cleans a dogs teeth any more than eating a cookie cleans yours.

Tooth brushing

Even when we do all the right things, there can still be plaque that forms on their teeth. It might be due to the shape of their face, where chewing just doesn’t move plaque as the teeth don’t meet in the right place. Brachycephalic (squashed face) dogs can be really prone to this. These dogs might need some extra help with a toothbrush. Giving them a little brush every day can really help prevent plaque build- up.

Sometimes we follow all the rules and do everything we can to help keep their teeth clean and healthy, they may still need a little more support. Some products that we find useful for dogs with poor oral health.


Made from 100% pure and natural rosehip granules, these are a natural anti-inflammatory, powerful antioxidant and rich source of natural vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.

Maritime Pine Bark

Maritime Pine Bark is a natural antioxidant. It is an excellent source of flavonoids and has anti-inflammatory properties that work to protect the body from harmful free radicals. Maritime Pine Bark helps boost the immune system and strengthens blood vessel walls and capillaries. This specialist antioxidant is nearly 25 times more powerful than Vitamin C. We believe that the Maritime Pine Bark extract also supports the circulatory system and when used as directed it may help reduced stiffness and soreness in your dog.


This blood cleansing mix contains alterative herbs which are high in iron and sulphur to detoxify the blood. The Herbs restore the proper function of the body, usually through altering metabolism by improving the tissues' ability to metabolise nutrients and eliminate wastes. Many of these herbs act through the kidneys, liver, lungs, bowels, or skin to eliminate wastes.

Blood cleansers are generally used in conditions of chronic inflammation, infection or degeneration. The mix includes; Echinacea, Garlic, Horsetail, Nettle, Pine Bark, Red Clover and Violet Leaves along with the Bach Flowers Crab Apple& Rescue Remedy.

If you are worried about your dogs oral health, please contact us for our FREE consultation service here

Kerrie Hyland
ATMS number 18350
Bachelor Health Science- Naturopathy
Bachelor Animal Science- Canine and Equine Science

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McDowell's staff Herbalists can not diagnose your disease or illness. What they can do is offer a herbal program to assist with healing, after you have had advice from your doctor or specialist. If you have unexplained pain or symptoms, seek medical advice.

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