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Ryli's back teeth are really gunky ... I tried brushing, he gets rawhide, he wont use knobby bones, now I have him on dentisticks ( I am trying anything I can) what else can I do ? He has a little mouth so I cant get teeth but its not awful ... its just not good.
Have you tried a raw bone with meat on it? My dogs didn't like inedible chews at all, broke and swallowed manmade bones in big chunks but love raw bones. Dogs chew off the meat and connective tissues which scrapes teeth clean if the bone lasts long enough. I gave my kibble fed dogs a raw beef rib once a week. There could be enough meat on it to count as a meal, I cut most of the meat off the ones Ginger gets and save for another meal so she isn't overfed and skip the usual meal.
Also look into bully sticks and cow ears. Edible and they last long enough to help scrape gunk off teeth. For your small dog there are also lamb and pig ears. Get plain ones if possible so they aren't greasy. My dogs loved 'Texas Toothpicks' from Merrick although they only had the small ones found in the giant assorted bag, they are the tips of tails.
Something like a raw chicken neck, wing or quarter doesn't last long enough to help scrape teeth clean. Bones that might work are whole pork necks [big pieces, not sawn chunks meant for a stew], pork feet [cut lengthwise works], turkey necks and possibly pork ribs. I also will buy a joint for the human half of the family and bone it leaving quite a bit of meat on the bone. That works for pork shoulder, leg and rib roasts, and leg of lamb.
Do not offer bones small enough to fit inside the dog's mouth as they will likely swallow it whole. Do not offer the round bones from beef or other huge animals as that bone is older, denser and harder than dog teeth and will cause damage.
Ginger is estimated to be 5, now nearly 6 years old and arrived with green/gray/brown teeth plus damage to front teeth. Inside a month on raw one side of her mouth was clean but after 5 months her bottom left side was still gunky because there was a rotten tooth. Once pulled her teeth have remained very nice. She is fed raw, it gets the gunk off!
Annual cleaning @ the vet. Although I didn't need to start that until she was 3 or so. Also petite Virbac C.E.T. Hextra chews w/chlorhexidine a couple of times a week, alternate w/oral rinse by the same manufacturer & brushing. After a couple of broken canines & root canals, I have been advised by the doggie dentist that if you cannot bend it, don't give it to your dog. One of her vital canines was broken on a bone (not raw), the other on a Vegident dental stick. Daschunds (my little senior girl, now 11) are known for bad teeth due to a standard's size teeth in a mini's mouth. Her dental issues began @ about age 6. Had her on dental kibble for awhile as well. So in spite of all this, we have had problems. Was giving the medium chews to her every day for quite awhile since she ate the petites like candy. Again, that "standard" size mouth. Have slacked off a bit due to enamel wearing down on the "eyeteeth". So who knows; maybe raw is the way to go. But if he is "gunked up" @ this young age, you may need to be very proactive (which sounds like you are).
Brushing doesn't work if he doesnt really let me get to his back teeth.
You didn't say he wouldn't let you brush them. You said in another thread that you worked with him to be tolerant of any sort of handling - seems you need more work on teeth brushing! Really, nothing is going to be better than brushing his teeth. He's still young, you've got a bunch of years with him. It would be worth working out. If you absolutely can't but there's any non-plush toy he likes to chew on, you can put toothpaste on a toy that he chews to get it into his mouth.
I was recommended not to as they can cause intestinal blockages. Both the woman I work for ( a dog trainer, evaluator.. and more) and my vet said they could cause issues, they also recommend against bully sticks and hard nylabones.