Hopefully, you’re brushing your own teeth several times a day to keep them healthy and clean, but what about your Great Dane’s teeth?!
Research shows that good oral hygiene is incredibly important for dogs, but it is often neglected. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 80 percent of dogs show signs of oral disease by age 3.
How to clean a Great Dane’s teeth!
Good news! There are many options available for cleaning your dog’s (hopefully) pearly whites.
However, ideally, you can prevent this issue from occurring by introducing them to dental hygiene often from an early age.
You can even let Fido pitch in to clean their teeth clean by providing them with dental chews and bones. I can guarantee you that they won’t mind helping out
Our Favorite Dental Care Products for Great Danes
- Large breed-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste
- PetzLife spray
- PetzLife gel
- Petkin plaque tooth wipes
- Ark Naturals enzymatic solution
- XL dental chews from Virbac
You can also read more about these products on our recommended dental care products page.
Figure out which approach to dental care works best for you and your dog, then be sure to practice it every day. Plaque and tartar build up faster than you might think, so it is important to stay committed to your dog’s dental cleanings.
If needed, you could also combine or rotate multiple methods to ensure consistency. Keep wipes or sprays on hand for busy days when you don’t have time for a good brushing.
Alternatively, give your dog a dental chew daily and just perform brushing on the weekends when you have more time. Multiple options will help ensure that your dog’s teeth are taken care of, even on the most hectic days.
Steps for Brushing Teeth
First of all, you will need a toothbrush that is specially formulated for dogs. Long-handled toothbrushes are very efficient for cleaning a Great Dane’s teeth.
There are also finger brushes that you may find easier to use. These are rubber sleeves that fit over your finger and have soft nubs or bristles along the outside. You may want to try both and see which one you and your dog prefer.
A veterinarian recommended toothpaste is also essential. Never use human toothpaste on your dog’s teeth, as it can make him sick. Dog toothpaste comes in all different flavors, so you may want to experiment to find your dog’s favorite.
Ideally, you want to start getting your Great Dane used to a toothbrush and toothpaste when he is a puppy. If your dog has never had his teeth brushed, he will likely need a little time to adjust to the new sensation.
Start by rubbing a small amount of toothpaste on his teeth and gums, then reward or praise him. This will help him form a positive view of teeth cleanings. Slowly build up to a full brushing session, continuing with the rewards and praise, as he becomes more comfortable with the experience.
Dog saliva is actually pretty good at keeping teeth clean, so you really only need to clean the outside of your dog’s teeth. The outer side tends to stay dryer, allowing tartar and plaque to begin forming.
Brush gently, in a circular motion, and be sure to get each tooth completely. You should brush your dog’s gums as well but do so lightly. You just want to stimulate the gums to clean them and improve circulation. Abrasive brushing can damage your dog’s gums.
Dental chews and/or raw meaty bones
Some Great Danes simply will not let you brush their teeth, no matter how rewarding you try to make the experience. In this case, dental chews and bones are great options to keep your dog’s teeth shiny and clean.
Even if your dog loves having his teeth brushed, a daily dental chew is still a good way to ensure optimal oral health.
Chews and bones work by rubbing against the teeth, scraping off plaque and tartar. They also stimulate saliva production, and saliva is your dog’s built-in teeth cleaning system. This method is definitely the easiest option, and it is essentially just as effective as brushing.
There are many high-quality dental chews available, and some of them have the added benefit of freshening your dog’s breath. Some chews are better than others, so you may want to ask your veterinarian what they recommend.
If you go with bones instead, be sure to use raw bones that are large enough for your dog to get ample chewing time out of. Two raw bones per week are usually enough to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Remember, dental chews and meaty bones have fat and calories, so you may need to adjust your dog’s food accordingly.
High-quality food can make a huge difference in your dog’s dental health! A healthy body means a healthier mouth.
Cheaper foods with excess filler ingredients do not allow your dog’s body to operate at peak performance. These foods also tend to stick to dogs’ teeth, allowing plaque and tartar to form.
Better quality foods use superior ingredients and do not include filler components with limited nutritional value. They will help increase your dog’s overall health, including that of his teeth and gums.
Many quality foods also contain enzymes to help remove buildup and improve oral health. There are even foods available that are specially formulated to clean your dog’s teeth while they eat.
Professional teeth cleaning
If your Great Dane’s teeth are already showing excess tartar and plaque buildup, it may be time for a professional cleaning.
While your dog is under general anesthesia, the vet will give him a full dental examination and cleaning.
This includes removing any buildup and checking for cracked, broken, or unhealthy teeth and pulling them if needed.
Once the buildup is removed, be sure to stick to an oral care regimen to help ensure that it does not come back.
Additional tips for Great Dane dental care
Even with frequent brushing and other maintenance, your dog should still have yearly dental examinations and professional cleanings as needed. Unaddressed or unnoticed oral issues can severely impact your dog’s health.
It is easy to see if your dog’s teeth have excess tartar buildup or if their breath smells terrible. However, some dental issues can only be spotted by the trained eye of your veterinarian.
If your Great Dane is reaching senior status, he is at an even higher risk for dental problems. If he loses interest in eating or seems to have trouble chewing, it may be because of an issue with his teeth or gums.
Older dogs are not as resilient as younger dogs, so if your senior dog is showing signs of oral disease or issues, it is important to see a vet for a full dental examination.
Dental diseases can progress quickly and cause additional problems in older dogs with weakened immune systems.
Risks of skipping dental care
Cavities might be your biggest dental concern, but your dog is much more at risk for oral diseases. Many dogs are already beginning to show signs of gum disease by the time they reach adulthood.
Not only can gum disease cause tooth loss and bad breath, but it can also even affect your dog’s organs. Bad bacteria from diseased teeth and gums can migrate to your dog’s kidneys, liver, heart, and even his joints.
If left unchecked, oral diseases can severely impact your dog’s quality of life, and in some instances, can even become fatal. Studies show that up to 80% of dogs are affected by some type of oral disease.
However, many of these diseases can be easily prevented by basic dental care. By spending just a few minutes a day taking care of your dog’s teeth and gums, you can help protect him from dental diseases and all of the health issues that they can cause.
Baby teeth transition
Your Great Dane will start his life with about 28 baby teeth, but these will fall out and be replaced by 42 permanent, adult teeth.
This process will usually begin when your dog is about three months old, though some dogs start a bit later.
Typically, these baby teeth will come out all on their own, while your dog is eating, chewing, or playing. However, sometimes a permanent tooth will start to emerge before the baby tooth has fallen out.
It is important to examine your dog’s teeth often during this transition period and keep an eye out for irregularities like this. The permanent tooth may force the baby tooth out on its own in a few days.
If it doesn’t, or if your dog seems to be uncomfortable or in pain, a trip to the vet may be in order. They can extract the stubborn baby tooth, allowing the permanent tooth to come in normally.
Some Great Danes don’t develop all 42 adult teeth. As long as it is only a few teeth missing, this should not cause any issues. However, you should be careful when brushing around spots with missing teeth.
These areas may be more sensitive or easily damaged, so be extra gentle when brushing around these areas.