As humans, oral health and dental hygiene are a large part of lives. Healthy teeth and gums are essential not only to the longevity of our lives, but to social interaction as well. However, healthy teeth and gums is just as important for canines as it is for humans. For a guard dog, healthy teeth makes all the difference in maintaining a strong, confident bite. Maintaining healthy teeth becomes especially important as a dog ages.
There are a variety of store-bought products available to assist in cleaning your dog’s teeth; however, we have found that the best solution is most often the natural solution. When you give your dog a bone, you’re offering more than just a tasty treat. The act of chewing the bone actually helps to clean the teeth by scraping plaque off the surface as well as helping to strengthen the gums. To keep your dog’s teeth their strongest, one bone every other day, or about three to four bones per week is recommended. The best time to do this would be during your own meal times, when the family is sitting down and relaxed.
Preparation is simple: the bone should be raw, with at least a small amount of meat still attached. It is recommended that you do not give your dog a cooked bone, as the process of cooking will soften it and cause splintering which could hurt your dog’s mouth or cause choking. Freezing the bone before-hand is an effective way of killing any harmful bacteria that may have collected on the surface, but let the bone thaw before giving it to your dog. The size of the bone is, of course, relative to the size of your dog. For medium-sized working breeds such as German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois or Dutch Shepherds, we recommend a bone that is no larger than the size of your clenched fist.
On a day-to-day basis, a raw bone is all your protection dog or guard dog needs to keep its teeth clean, strong and healthy. For long-term care, most veterinarians perform short oral examinations as a part of your dog’s regular check ups. Your veterinarian should inform you when an extensive cleaning is necessary, or if any serious problems with the teeth and gums are apparent.