We do our best to brush Gren’s teeth almost every day. Granted, it’s a two-person operation: one person has to put the dog in a headlock and the other risks getting covered in paste and dog saliva on “scrubby duty,” but we do it because we love our little fiend.
I finally came to the end of the supply of dog toothpaste (vanilla flavoured, if you must know) that came with the latest doggy toothbrush (which I have since abandoned for a soft people toothbrush). As I was about to go out and get some more, I chanced to look at the “all-natural” ingredients list. Sorbitol? I don’t even know what that is, but it’s the second ingredient. And why does it need to be sweetened with stevia? Since when do dogs need sugar?
So I’m going to make my own. And there’s a ton of recipes on the internet. Many of them require you to use glycerin, which I guess is the sticky-togethery ingredient that actually makes the paste into a pasty substance. But that sounds like a pain in the ass, so I’m going to go with a version that uses coconut oil instead (used in small quantities coconut oil is beneficial to your pet’s health), and modify it a wee bit.
Start with a bouillon cube, and dissolve that in 1 tablespoon water. Or, in my case, use this gel-like one instead. This is mostly for flavour, so use something your dog will like. Gren has issues with chicken and beef so I would use pork or vegetable.
Add in 2 tablespoons baking soda (a deodorizing abrasive), and 1 teaspoon cinnamon (a fragrant abrasive).
I also ground up about 1 teaspoon dried parsley (for fresh breath) and added a pinch of ground cloves (an anti-parasitic).
A drop or two of tea tree oil (for fresh breath and as an anti-bacterial agent) won’t go amiss, either.
Looks tasty! Actually it didn’t smell as awful as I thought it might: just like vegetable soup with too much cinnamon added. Not bad in the end.
Then you need to work in about 1/2 cup coconut oil. If you have trouble mixing everything up you can soften the oil or melt it, but you want it to be solid in the end.
You can store this mixture at room temperature in a sealed container for several weeks. Brush often!
Many sites actually recommend using your finger and a clean washcloth instead of a toothbrush for maximum efficacy, so we might try that at some point. Fortunately, Gren seems to like the taste of this stuff better than what we were using before, so he struggles a lot less.
Immediately after we brush his teeth Grenadier goes and gets his Tricky Treat Ball, which we fill with the other half of his dinner. Trundling around with the ball, he will snarf up the kibble that falls out of the hole, and in gulping it down he will produce more saliva to further aid in cleaning his teeth. When he’s done he usually drinks a whole whack of water too, to wash everything down. And then he goes to sleep.