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We just had an anesthesia free dental cleaning at the store this past weekend, and undoubtedly the subject of doggie (and kitty) home dental hygiene came up.

I know a lot of us balk at brushing our pets’ teeth. I’m not going to lie, I’m terrible at remembering to brush my own teeth, let alone my pet’s. But it’s something we must do, not just for sparkling white “canines” (haha), but for our pet’s general health.

Poor pet dental hygiene can lead to tooth loss, bad breath, bacterial infections, bone infections — or worse. Caring for your pet’s teeth is much more than cosmetic, it’s one of the simplest ways you can preserve their good health!

I learn a lot from chatting with Dr. Eugene Pei, DVM, who practices in Denver, CO, and one half of the dental cleaning team. He has actually debunked a lot of teeth cleaning myths that I, and I’m sure many of our customers, have long held onto.

So I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve learned from my Sundays with the Anesthesia Free Dental Cleaning gang. Some of it may surprise you!

FACT or FICTION: When brushing your pet’s teeth, you really need to scrub them with toothpaste to get them clean.


With a good toothpaste, you just need to spread the paste (or gel) on all surfaces of the teeth, and then the solution will go to work getting rid of the plaque and tartar build-up. A toothbrush allows you to reach all of your pet’s teeth, or perhaps dislodge some stuck food detritus in their mouth, but the brush is not doing the work, the toothpaste is. There are also sprays that work in much the same way if your pet will not let you get a toothbrush in their mouth. Try to find a simple toothpaste or dental spray that is palatable to your pet, but does not contain sugar.

Many of the toothpastes we sell, that we are confident in, contain the following safe and natural cleaning agents for your dog or cat’s teeth: grape fruit seed extract, grain alcohol, grape seed extract, peppermint oil, baking soda, kaolin clay, tea tree oil, sodium chlorite, tetrasodium phosphate, tetrapotassium phosphate, witch hazel, and aloe.

FACT OR FICTION: Kibble is better than raw pet food for keeping my pet’s teeth clean, because the crunchiness of the kibble scrapes their teeth.


This may be the most common misconception we face in the store. It makes sense no? If something is harder, it will scrape and clean their teeth right? Not necessarily.

But kibble is hard and raw food is soft? How can raw food clean my pet’s teeth?

Because raw meat, vegetables and fruits (ingredients found in most raw pet foods), are still “alive” so to speak. Unlike kibble, which has been cooked, raw pet food still has active enzymes and good bacteria that can eat away at the plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth. Once a food is cooked, enzymes and bacteria are killed, leaving perhaps a healthy food, but one that is “dead”.

Canine Dental Service told us that across the board, dogs who eat raw food have cleaner, healthier, whiter teeth than dogs that eat cooked kibble (this goes for cats too!). The higher quality kibbles, some that contain raw freeze dried ingredients or raw enzymes (like Orijen/Acana or Great Life) contribute to healthier teeth and gums, but overall, it’s hard to beat raw food for dental health.

One more reason to consider feeding, or supplementing with, raw food!

FACT or FICTION: I brush my dog’s teeth a few times a week, I don’t need to get their teeth professionally cleaned.


I tried this reasoning with my mom when I was 10, about my own teeth.

Just like we all suck it up and go to the dentist every six months or so, so must our dogs.

Brushing is great, but there are nooks and crannies in your dog’s teeth, and up into the gumline, that a doggie dental technician can get to, that you cannot. Also, they can examine the health of your dog’s teeth and gums with a trained eye and warn you if there is anything to be concerned about.

A vet or dental technician can also offer professional advice on any issues they seeing popping up down the road. For example, certain breeds are prone to more teeth problems than others, and a dental technician can provide insight as to how to keep your dog’s mouth healthy.

Dogs and people alike can benefit from a deep cleaning and a check up!

Pretty simple huh?

Actually, most people are surprised by how easy it can be to keep their pet’s teeth clean.

With the right food, some toothpaste (or tooth gel or spray), dental check-ups, and even some yummy dental chew treats for dogs (Customer favorites at Calvin & Susie are deer antlers and Terrabones!), your pet can have a lifetime of healthy, sparkly teeth!

~Your Loyal Calvin & Susie Blogger

NOTE: Please, always check with your vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet or health care regimen. The Calvin & Susie Blogger always researches to the best of her ability, but she is not a vet. This blog is not in any way meant to replace veterinary advice or care. When in doubt always ask a vet.
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