Gum disease affects many adult dogs. By cleaning your puppy's teeth regularly, you're setting him up for good oral hygiene in the future. If you don't have any commercial doggy toothpaste on hand, several home concoctions can work.
If you prefer not to use commercial varieties, or if you can't get hold of any locally, you can make your own puppy toothpaste from scratch. Mix together 1/4 cup food-grade calcium montmorillonite clay, 2 tablespoons thyme leaf powder, 2 tablespoons powdered seaweed, 1/4 teaspoons turmeric, 1/2 cup food-grade vegetable glycerin, 3 drops myrrh essential oil and 2 drops goldenseal essential oil. Brush your puppy's teeth with it as you would with a regular toothpaste.
If you're in a pinch and you need to make a quick toothpaste for your puppy, mix together 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 teaspoon of water or vegetable, beef or chicken broth. This mixture will clean his teeth, but not as thoroughly as commercial or carefully homemade dog toothpaste, so use it only occasionally.
Crunchy dog biscuits are great for your puppy's teeth, as they help to scrape off plaque. Make your own by mixing together 1/4 cup honey, 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup white flour, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1/4 cup spinach powder, 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup bran, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 1/2 cups water and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract. Roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, then turn off the oven but leave the treats in there for at least another few hours (up to overnight). This will increase their crunchiness.
It might sound a little unusual, but raw carrots can be extremely effective in tooth cleaning. They scrape plaque and food particles from your pup's teeth, as well as stimulating his gums and triggering saliva production, which can balance out acidic, cavity-creating bacteria. Most puppies will happily accept a raw carrot—either whole or in slices, depending on their size—because of its sweet taste.
- David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images