When you’re looking for a new pet, dental disease probably isn’t at top of mind. But it is a fact that certain breeds are more prone to periodontal disease and bad breath than others. And if you knew the dangers of gum disease, you’d be worried.

Gingivitis is an infection of the mouth that can spread to the organs and eventually lead to death. Oral health is that serious.

This all isn’t to say that you should avoid getting dogs that are prone to dental disease, but you should know what you’re getting in to. If you have or are considering adopting one of the following breeds, it’s crucial to incorporate some form of dental maintenance into your daily routine.


Collies are a breed that’s prone to an overbite, and any bite problems can exacerbate poor oral hygiene. When the teeth aren’t lined up properly, it’s easier for food and particles to become lodged between teeth.

If you have the means, you may consider getting your Collie’s bite corrected with interceptive orthodontics. This must be done when the dog is young and his bones are still forming.


Pugs are notorious for having dental issues, including malocclusions and tooth crowding. Tooth crowding can lead to nooks and crannies in the mouth where particles and food get stuck. This causes a breeding ground for bacteria. If you have a pug, monitor the state of her mouth often. Look for areas where food may get stuck to see if there is any plaque or tartar buildup. If her mouth is clearly in poor health with a great deal of tartar, you may need to schedule a dental cleaning with the veterinarian.


Yorkies and all toy breed dogs are more likely to have dental disease than larger dogs. Deciduous teeth are the reason. These are baby teeth that never fall out of the mouth, and they’ll grow directly above the adult tooth. Naturally, this creates a space where bacteria will flourish. If your small breed puppy has deciduous teeth as an adult, you will need to visit the vet to have them removed.

Another reason why toy breeds have poor dental health is because their mouths are so small. They have the same number of teeth as larger dogs, and they have to fit all those teeth in a tiny mouth. This causes overcrowding, which can invite plaque and tartar.

If you have a breed that is more prone to dental disease and bad breath, good oral hygiene is crucial. You may need to discuss options with your vet, such as orthodontics or extractions, but you should also implement a daily care regimen. This may include tooth brushing, dental chews and a good all-natural dental spray.

Is your dog’s mouth cleaner than yours?This is something we’ve all head at one point or another: “It’s okay to share food or let your dog kiss you because your dog’s mouth is cleaner than your own.”

But is your dog’s mouth cleaner in reality? Or is that just another old tale?

This is a question we set out to answer once and for all. And here’s what we found:

The short answer is NO. Your dog’s mouth is not cleaner than your own. But like with most things, there’s more to this story. Let’s explore…

Dog Mouth vs. Human Mouth: Is a Dog’s Mouth Cleaner?

When your dog is a member of your family, it can be difficult to even see him as another type of being. But we have to remember that he is. As another species, your dog’s mouth is nothing like your own.

Here’s how we’re similar: The human mouth and the dog mouth are both teeming with microbes. You may even find some of the same microbes in your dog’s mouth that are in yours.

Interestingly, the microbes that cause periodontal disease in dogs and humans are in the same family, Porphyromonas. Dogs have a form of Porphyromonas called P. gulae while humans have P. gingivalis. Neither are desirable as they can both lead to dental disease.

Dogs and humans also have a similar number of bacteria in their mouths. Dogs have 600 known types while Harvard researchers have found 615 in the human mouth.

Can Humans Get Sick From Puppy Kisses?

Here’s where it’s a good thing that we’re two completely different species.

For the most part, we don’t swap diseases. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, the bacteria in your dog’s mouth is not zoonotic. This means that the bacteria cannot be spread from dogs to humans.

Salmonella is one common exception. If you feed your dog a raw diet, it’s probably best to skip the puppy kisses. You can get salmonella from your dog’s saliva.

Because we maintain two different sets of bacteria in our mouths, we aren’t likely to get sick from puppy kisses. This may be where the myth about a dog’s mouth being cleaner originated, but it simply isn’t true.

How Clean is Your Dog’s Mouth?

We all maintain a delicate balance of bacteria in our mouths. Naturally, we want more of the good stuff and less of the bad. This is also true for your dog.

To answer the question literally, is your dog’s mouth cleaner than yours, we would need more information. First, how clean is your mouth?

If you care for your dog’s mouth as well as you care for your own, you may maintain similar levels of cleanliness. Unfortunately, most dogs go without daily dental care, so it’s a good guess that your dog’s mouth isn’t quite as clean as your own.

To keep your dog’s mouth clean and breath fresh, start a daily routine of oral care. This may include tooth brushing, dental chews and dog breath spray. If you can only do one, we suggest opting for the dental spray. With a few sprays, you can deliver powerful antibacterial, antiseptic and  breath freshening ingredients to keep the balance of bacteria in check.

This may not be good news if you want your dog’s mouth cleaner than your own, but you but you can keep it just as clean with a little effort.

When you pour yourself a glass of wine, do you drop some in your dog’s bowl too?

Of course not!

With a healthy dose of common sense, you know that alcohol isn’t healthy for your dog. So, why do so many commercial dog dental sprays still contain alcohol?

The answer to this question is simple: It’s a cheap and highly-effective preservative.

But just because something works doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Some of the largest dog dental spray manufacturers add as much as 25% ethyl alcohol to their products. This is as much alcohol as a full shot of straight whisky.

Alcohol is such an effective preservative that it can add to the shelf-life of any dog dental spray. This means that manufacturers don’t have to worry about items going bad. Retailers can sell their inventory many years after it was made. This may sound like a good thing, and it certainly is for them, but it comes at a cost to your dog’s health.

Is Alcohol Really That Bad for Dogs?

When everyone is doing something, it begins to seem safe. So if some of the largest pet product manufacturers use alcohol in their dog mouth spray, it must be safe, right?

Let’s ask the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. You may know them as the ASPCA. Here’s what they have to say on the topic:

“Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol.”

Wow, that’s pretty cut and dry.

Alcohol instantly changes your dog’s blood chemistry and alters his body’s pH balance, driving it more towards acidic. In humans, excess alcohol in the system leads to hangovers. In dogs, it can quickly lead to a life-or-death situation.

Even without the extremes, alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing and decreased coordination.

Symptoms of alcohol toxicity in dogs

Because your dog is smaller than you, the stakes are higher. It’s not as simple as adjusting to a smaller dose. His body isn’t as capable of handling alcohol as yours is. Your body contains protective enzymes that help break down and protect your body from alcohol. Your dog doesn’t have these enzymes, so they can get into serious trouble with much smaller amounts.

If your dog ingested alcohol, look for the following symptoms of acute alcohol toxicity:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Dehydration
  • Fainting
  • Excessive panting
  • Trouble urinating
  • Lack of coordination
  • Seizures
  • Foaming at the mouth

Even if you don’t see these acute signs of alcohol toxicity, you’re not out of the woods. Continue giving small doses of alcohol to your dog over time, and she may experience the following issues:

  • Kidney failure
  • Liver damage
  • Digestive issues
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Respiratory impairment
  • Reduced quality of life

It’s natural to be skeptical when you read a post about the “dangers” of anything. These days, every headline seems to contain the word “dangerous.” But we’re not overstating danger here.

Alcohol is actually very dangerous for your dog, as noted by the ASPCA above. If your only dental spray option has alcohol, you may want to forgo dental spray altogether.

Fortunately, there are all-natural alcohol-free options that are safe and effective.

Cheerful Canine dog breath spray contains natural antibacterial agents (bee propolis, grape seed extract and grapefruit seed extract) that are proven to work against the bad bacteria in your dog’s mouth.

Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Without BrushingBrushing your teeth is the go-to action for dental hygiene, whether you’re a person or an animal, but is it always the best action?

If your dog doesn’t cooperate with teeth brushing, you may not really be cleaning his teeth at all. And if you aren’t actually cleaning anything, why bother with this exercise in futility? Let’s explore a few ways to clean your dog’s teeth without brushing.

Side note: There’s nothing wrong with brushing your dog’s teeth. If your dog cooperates and you enjoy the bonding time, keep on keepin’ on! You are working towards great oral hygiene and that’s a good thing. However, if this side note doesn’t apply to you, keep on readin’ on… We’ve got solutions.

Ways to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth Without Brushing

Oral hygiene is super important for your dog and rawhides simply aren’t going to cut the mustard here. If you want to clean your dog’s teeth without brushing, you must commit to a suitable alternative or combination of alternatives. Remember that consistency is key. Work towards your dog’s dental health daily, just as you do your own.

Dog dental spray

Our all-natural dog dental spray was designed to clean your dog’s teeth without brushing. Of course, you can still brush to add another level of clean, but it may not be necessary. Our spray is so effective because it uses various natural ingredients that have been scientifically proven to fight the bacteria that causes tartar and plaque. For best results, spray morning and night.

Dog dental chews

Dental chews, like the green kind, work well to rid your dog’s mouth of plaque while freshening his breath. Your dog probably won’t use all his teeth to gnaw on the dental chew, so this shouldn’t be the only method of cleaning you use – but it is a great complement to any oral hygiene protocol (including brushing).

Water additives

Water additives work much in the same way as dog breath spray, and they may even contain some of the same ingredients. To use water additives, you just put the recommended amount in your dog’s water and let her drink throughout the day. She will lap up the water with natural antibacterial and breath-freshening ingredients. Water additives are extremely convenient because your dog essentially serves herself, but they aren’t quite as effective as a dental spray that you would apply directly to your dog’s teeth.

Dog dental gels

Just like sprays and additives, dog dental gels contain natural breath-freshening and antibacterial ingredients to help clean your dog’s mouth. Dental gels are highly effective but they can be a bit of a challenge to apply. Look for one in a flavor that your dog loves to make the application process easier.

Most people don’t like brushing their dog’s teeth. Most dog’s don’t like getting their teeth brushed. So, if you can find an alternative that works for you, it’s a win-win.

Remember that oral hygiene is extremely important. If you want to avoid trips to the vet for a dental cleaning, be sure to monitor your dog’s teeth regularly for signs of tartar or plaque.

If you’re looking to get out of brushing your dog’s teeth, you’re in luck.

With the right dog breath spray, you don’t necessarily have to brush – or you don’t have to brush as often. This is a relief for most dog owners who struggle to get that brush into their dog’s mouth without a fight. But not all dog dental sprays can replace brushing.

Here’s what you need to know….

How to Find the Right Dog Breath Spray

Full disclosure: We do sell a dog breath spray, so we definitely have a preference. Still, this post isn’t meant to be a sales pitch. We want you to have all the information you need to make a smart decision  about your dog’s dental health. If you choose our product, great. If not, that’s okay too.

Breath Masking Sprays

Different dog breath sprays work in different ways. Just like mints, some dog breath sprays will purely mask your dog’s bad breath. If you’re looking for a temporary solution, these sprays are perfect. For example, if you have a hot date and just want to freshen your dog’s breath before he meets your guy or gal, a breath masking spray can help. On the other hand, if you’re looking to cure your dog’s bad breath without brushing, this isn’t going to work.

Natural Dog Dental Sprays

Like ours, all-natural dog dental sprays use pure ingredients from nature to help attack bacteria, fight plaque and tartar, and freshen breath. Ingredients vary based on the brand, but we use a blend of grapeseed extract, grapefruit seed extract bee propolis, peppermint oil and natural sweeteners to attack plaque and fight bad breath. The natural sweeteners make the spray a bit more pleasant for your dog.

Combination Dog Dental Sprays

Most dog dental sprays on the market contain some natural ingredients because natural ingredients are best for balancing the bacteria in your dog’s mouth and freshening breath. However, many commercial dog mouth sprays also contain harmful ingredients. Check the section below for ingredients to avoid.

Dog Dental Sprays to Avoid

Alcohol-Based Dog Dental Sprays

Unless they are labeled as natural (and sometimes even when they are), they may contain ingredients that can be harmful to your dog. Alcohol is an example of a common ingredient in dog dental sprays that do more harm than good. As a society, we’re well-versed in alcohol dosage for humans. We’re not quite as savvy with limits for dogs. Because of this, adding alcohol to dog care products can have harmful side effects like vomiting, fainting and diarrhea. Alcohol-based dog dental sprays are generally considered safe when taken in their recommended doses, but do you really want to give any amount of alcohol to your dog?

Dog Dental Sprays with Sodium Benzoate

Many commercial dog breath sprays on the market contain the preservative sodium benzoate. Sodium benzoate has been linked to cancer and is known to deprive mitochondria cells (the powerhouse of the body) of oxygen. To put simply, it’s bad stuff. Unfortunately, you’ll find sodium benzoate in many animal and human products. Be sure to read labels before you put anything into your dog’s body.

Dog Dental Sprays with Food Coloring

Did you know that food colors are tested on animals? Researchers test food coloring on animals to find the level at which these chemicals will cause cancer. Food coloring is known to cause cancer; that’s not a question. It must be tested, however, to find out exactly how much of it you can take before you get cancer. Is this something you want for your dog? Or yourself?

How to Use Dog Breath Spray

One of the reasons people love dog breath spray is because they offer an easy way to care for your pet’s dental health. They all work in the same general way (point and spray), but be sure to check the label on your product for instructions. You may need to spray one to three times daily, and the number of pumps you use will also vary based on brand. Typically, you must spray directly into the dog’s mouth for dog breath sprays to work best (adding to water may dilute the formula too much).

How Dog Breath Sprays Work

Nature has given us a wealth of antiseptic and antibiotic ingredients, and natural dog breath sprays take full advantage. These ingredients fight bacteria, which can break down the plaque and tartar in your dog’s mouth. Both plaque and tartar contain mostly of anaerobic bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria respond to ingredients like grape seed oil and bee propolis.

A great deal of research went into choosing the ingredients for our dog breath spray. We were looking for the strongest natural bacteria fighting soldiers that would be gentle enough for your dog’s mouth. Anecdotal stories are great (e.g. Aunt Fannie used bee propolis on her dog’s mouth religiously and he lived 20 years without tartar). But we were looking for something a bit more concrete for our ingredients.

We promised this wouldn’t be a sales pitch, so that’s all we’ll say here. If you want to learn more about the science behind our dog dental spray ingredients, click here.

dog dental cleaningsYou and I have regular dental cleanings (or at least, we know we should). So it makes sense that your dog would have the same, right? Well, maybe. There’s one thing you must understand about dog dental cleanings before you can make your decision: Dog dental cleanings are a form of surgery.

If you knew you’d have to go under anesthesia for a dental cleaning, you might take pause. That’s basically where most pet owners stand on dental cleanings.

Unfortunately, many people don’t give serious thought to their dog’s dental health is after plaque or gingivitis has taken over. At this point, dental cleanings may be necessary, but they are still a decision.

If you currently find yourself trying to weigh the pros and cons, you’re definitely not alone. Let’s explore the risks and rewards of dog dental cleanings.

Risks of dog dental cleanings

Because a doggie dental cleaning is a form of surgery, there are some risks involved.


Let’s first discuss the elephant in the room. Whenever you administer anesthesia, death is a risk but it is also very rare. One study shows that 1.35% of dogs and cats died under anesthesia, and this includes healthy and sick pets that underwent anesthesia. The rates were obviously higher for sick animals, but they still weren’t alarmingly high at 4.77%. Of course, these numbers are no consolation if your pet happens to be among the unfortunate minority.

Other complications

Complications from anesthesia are rare but can include blood clotting disorders, eyesight problems, seizures, and liver, kidney or heart failure.

Financial burden

A teeth cleaning procedure for your dog can cost anywhere between $70 and $350 with the average cost being $292. If your dog needs one or more teeth extracted, the cost can range between $150 and $600. The challenge with extractions is that you may not know whether your dog needs one or more teeth extracted until after the procedure. This makes it difficult to create a financial plan for your dog’s teeth cleanings.

Rewards of dog dental cleanings

There are some definite rewards to getting your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned.

Peace of mind

With a professional dental cleaning, you’ll know that the bacteria in your dog’s mouth has been addressed and the germs are not likely to spread within your dog’s body. Cleanings may also help you avoid future extractions.

Quick fix

If your dog has gingivitis, you’ll want to address it right away. Gingivitis and periodontal disease can be deadly, so it’s important to take action if you’re seeing the signs.

How to care for your dog’s dental health at home

Whether you’re still deciding on the professional cleanings or you want to learn how to avoid costly future cleanings, there’s some good news. If you take good care of your dog’s teeth at home, he or she will be less likely to develop tartar, plaque or periodontal disease that requires surgery.

Teeth brushing

Your dog will get used to getting his teeth brushed, even if it sounds like torture now. It will get easier over time. For best results, brush your dog’s teeth daily – just as you would your own.

Dental chews

Dental chews are great for cleaning dog’s teeth because they typically include ingredients that fresh your dog’s breath while the gnawing action helps remove plaque and tartar.

Dog Dental spray

Our dental spray contains all-natural ingredients that can fight the type of harmful bacteria found in your dog’s mouth.

dog tartarWhen you imagined owning a puppy of your own, you probably had thoughts of frolicking in a field of sunflowers …not wrestling a grown dog with a toothbrush in-hand. But dental health and dog tartar are realities of pet ownership. It is a great honor to own a dog, but it is also a great responsibility.

What happens if you ignore your dog’s dental hygiene

If you’ve been lax about dental hygiene, you may start to notice a sticky yellowish-white substance on your dog’s teeth. This is plaque. Spoiler alert: It’s not good.

Here’s the good news: Plaque is completely treatable. You simply have to start caring for your dog’s dental hygiene. We’ll cover a few ways to do this in a moment. For now, let’s take a look at what happens if you ignore plaque.

If you ignore your dog’s plaque, it will most certainly lead to tartar. Tartar is a buildup of plaque that’s hard and ugly. If your dog is especially gentle, he may even allow you to scrap the tartar from his teeth. It will likely come off with a little effort. This isn’t the ideal situation and should not be attempted if you’re unsure how your dog will react. Let’s not lose any fingers today. An alternative would be to have a professional dental cleaning at the vet.

Finally, if you ignore your dog’s tartar, it will eventually lead to gingivitis. This is when the bacteria spreads to infect the gums. Signs of gingivitis include red, puss-filled and/or bleeding gums. Another tell-tale sign is bad breath. Gingivitis is an infection, and as such, it can spread within the body and infect your dog’s organs. If left untreated, gingivitis can be deadly.

How to treat dog tartar at the vet

Many veterinarians will recommend regular cleanings for your dog as part of maintenance. We don’t agree with this practice because dog teeth cleanings require anesthesia, which comes with its own set of dangers, and cleanings can be quite costly. Most vets will recommend professional cleanings at any sign of plaque or tartar. Again, we don’t believe this is completely necessary. As a dog owner, it’s up to you to weigh the risks with the benefits. To our friends and family, we always recommend taking action at home first. If you cannot curb your dog’s tartar, plaque or gingivitis yourself, it may be time for a professional cleaning.

How to treat dog tartar at home

Now you know why it’s so important to nip that dog tartar in the bud. So, let’s get straight to it. There are a few ways you can blast your dog’s plaque and tartar. Choose one or all to ensure your dog’s mouth is squeaky clean and free of harmful bacterial buildup.

  1. Tooth brushing – Just like when you brush your own teeth, dog tooth brushing should be a daily habit. It’s best to start this practice with a puppy, but it’s really never too late. Choose a toothbrush that was specifically made for a dog and get a toothpaste in a flavor she’ll like. This will make the process a lot easier.
  2. Dental chews – Dental chews shouldn’t be the only dental care your dog receives, especially if he’s only getting them occasionally. They are, however, a great way to freshen your dog’s breath and knock of some of that tartar or plaque. As for the type, go with the ones your dog likes best.
  3. Dental spray – All dental sprays are not equal. There are many on the market that merely freshen breath. Others have some gentle cleaning properties. These are better than nothing, but if you’re going to go through the effort, why not use a natural dental spray that has some powerful tartar-busting capabilities? Our dog dental spray contains natural ingredients that can fight bacteria and keep the mouth healthy. For example, grapefruit seed extract has been found to disrupt bacterial membranes and strengthen dentin. Bee propolis is an interesting ingredient that’s been proven to be highly effective at killing gram-positive bacteria, which makes up most of the bacteria in the mouth.



dog’s breath smells like deathRegardless of where you stand on puppy kisses, you’re going to notice if your dog’s breath smells like death. Whenever you’re left to wonder whether your dog ate a dead rat, it’s safe to assume there’s a problem.

Usually, bad doggie breath is a sign of tartar or gingivitis and nothing more. However, there are some rarer cases where you may need a visit to the vet stat. We’ll cover what to look for and what to do in either case.

Signs Your Dog’s Teeth Need Cleaning

We’ve already established that your dog has the number one sign that his teeth need care: Bad breath. But this isn’t the only sign. Actually, you should be able to look at your dog’s teeth to determine whether her teeth are the problem. If you see a sticky yellowish-white film on your dog’s teeth, that’s plaque and it’s likely the reason your dog’s breath smells like death.

The problem with plaque is that it leads to tartar over time. If you don’t remove the plaque, it calcifies and hardens. This is tartar. Unfortunately, if you don’t remove the tartar, things continue to get worse from here.

Clumps of bacterial plaque at the gum line create a breeding ground for even more hostile bacteria to flourish. When this happens, the bacteria release toxins that damage your dog’s gums. This is called gingivitis, and it is a major cause of stinky dog breath. You’ll know your dog has gingivitis if you see plaque and/or tartar with red, swollen or bleeding gums.

How to Treat Your Dog’s Plaque, Tartar or Gingivitis

Your plan of attack will vary based on the condition of your dog’s teeth. If your dog only has plaque, you may get rid of his bad breath by brushing his teeth and/or using a good dental spray.

If your dog has tartar, meaning that the plaque has already hardened, brushing her teeth won’t solve the problem. In this case, you may need a dental cleaning by a veterinarian. In some cases, using a good dental spray over time can treat tartar by breaking down the bacteria. Not every dental spray will do this, so be sure to look for one that contains ingredients like grapefruit seed extract, which has been found to disrupt bacterial membranes. A dental spray with grape seed extract will also help strengthen dentin (the layer beneath the enamel) and promote healthier teeth overall.

If you believe things may have already progressed to gingivitis, your best course of action would be to see your dog’s veterinarian. Gingivitis is a serious and sometimes life-threatening condition that should not be taken lightly. If can’t see the vet for whatever reason, or if it may take some time for you to get there, start using a dental spray with bee propolis right away. Bee propolis has been found to have a strong antibacterial effect and it may help treat the infection before it gets worse.

One study found that bee propolis is most effective for treating gram-positive bacteria, which makes up the majority of bacteria in the mouth.

Cheerful Canine dog breath spray contains all the ingredients mentioned here because they have been scientifically proven to have antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties that can help attack the root cause of his bad breath.

What to Do If Your Dog’s Teeth Are Already Clean

It’s never a bad time for good dog oral hygiene, but if your dog’s mouth is emitting a strong odor and you know her teeth are clean, get her to the vet right away. Although bad dog breath is most commonly a sign of poor dental health, it could also be a sign of liver or kidney disease. It could also be a sign that there’s something wrong with your dog’s gastrointestinal tract.

If your dog’s breath smells like death AND he or she is experiencing any of the following symptoms, make an appointment for an evaluation with the vet.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depression

How to Get Your Dog’s Breath Smelling Fresh Again

Most veterinarians will recommend that you brush your dog’s teeth daily. If you start this practice when your dog is a puppy, it’ll be a lot easier to make it stick. Brushing your dog’s teeth is a good practice, but it can definitely be a hassle. That’s why we developed the Cheerful Canine Dog Breath Spray.

We made our dog breath spray for owners who aren’t fond of wrestling animals to clean their teeth.

Many pet owners have used our spray to remove plaque and tartar from their dog’s teeth without brushing, but we cannot guarantee this will happen for your dog. It all depends on the condition of your dog’s mouth and the consistency of use. Other pet owners love the breath spray because it helps them cut down on brushings. Either way, most agree that it’s nice to have an all-natural alternative to expensive and potentially dangerous dental cleanings.

When your dog’s breath smells like death, there’s already a problem with tartar and plaque. Start a daily practice to clean your dog’s teeth right away.