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Discussion Starter #1
What do you do for your dogs' dental health?

Before I had my human children, I brushed their teeth every day. Then I had my first human baby and I started slacking and eventually stopped altogether. (Life gets busy and you get out of routine and don't remember to do it.. you know how it goes.)

We've started brushing again this week after Joon had a serious dental surgery (Dentigerous Cyst)-- not because I wasn't brushing her teeth, but because she had two adult teeth that never made it out of the gums. Weird, huh? Apparently, teeth don't like being in the gums. So they ate her jaw bone. She had several teeth removed for this surgery, and had them cleaned of course, so now I'm trying to better about keeping them clean (those pearly whites weren't cheap!).

Goose actually has pretty great teeth! He's a small dog, but his teeth have treated him well, surprisingly!

We brush teeth most days (though the vets recommend at least 3-5 days a week), and give a T/D treat (because it was a free sample after Joon's surgery) as a reward post-brushing, but this food is Science Diet and has lots of corn. I'm wanting a treat that's more natural and also has some dental benefits. Any ideas? Greenies are ridiculously expensive and I don't think they're very natural (but I haven't researched about them), so I'd like something else if possible.

We also bought a water additive that has raving reviews from the Veterinary community, but I'm also not sure if we'll continue it once it's gone (it was $50 for the bottle but it might last us a good while since we only have two small dogs)-- called Health Mouth by Dog Essential. I have no idea if it's helping, since I'm brushing most days anyway, I probably don't REALLY need it?

What do you do for your dogs' dental health?

Do you recommend any more natural dental treats?

Thanks!
 

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I'm a big fan of raw meaty bones... but not everyone is here. Some people have incidents of their dogs chipping their teeth on antlers, bones, and other popular chew/teeth cleaning treats so it really depends on what type of a chewer your dog is.

I give Meeko duck necks, chicken necks, chicken feet, lamb necks, beef necks, pork ribs... pretty much anything that is a soft bone, I will give him (nothing weight bearing if it is an animal bigger than a turkey). His teeth stay pristine without me having to brush them :)
 

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I have never brushed any of my dogs teeth. I always gave them raw meaty bones. The dogs never had a dental problem from me not brushing their teeth, they were always nice and white. People would always comment on how clean my twelve year old dog's teeth were, she did have to have three teeth removed from chewing rocks when she was a pup though. I'm too lazy to brush their teeth and they really seem to enjoy the bones. :)
 

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I use the water additive DentalFresh which seems to help prevent build-up and also makes brushing easier (the plaque comes off easier). Some of my friends use it too and their younger dog with nasty teeth and breath saw a lot of improvement. I don't brush much, I should, but I don't.

I give cow hooves to chew on, durable nylabones for the fosters (Chester ignores them) and sometimes raw meaty bones. I do give weight bearing bones to him BUT that's because I know my dog's chewing style is a scraping rather than a biting down type style.

Chester had a dental when he was under for another surgery. I would not have put him under anesthesia just for that given the generally good condition of his teeth. They gleam now and I doubt he'll have any need for another dental.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Taquitos- That's great! I'm not sure how I feel about it because I've seen a lot of dogs come in to the vets office having devoured a chicken bone and have severe intestinal blockages... I would monitor my dogs, of course, though. Where do you get your bones? Just stuff you've eaten? How do you keep the canines and incisors clean, since they're not chewing teeth? Maybe he just has good teeth like my Goose. :)


Wonderbreaddots- That's pretty neat! I don't mind brushing their teeth and I think they look forward to it because they get an extra treat afterwards.. I'll have to look into the bones, though, too!


Shell- I bet Chester looks mighty handsome with his pearly whites! My dogs only care for the edible nyla bones, so I don't know if that would really help with any potential build up. They eat them pretty fast and I want something more challenging, so I'll have to look into raw meaty bones.
 

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Taquitos- That's great! I'm not sure how I feel about it because I've seen a lot of dogs come in to the vets office having devoured a chicken bone and have severe intestinal blockages... I would monitor my dogs, of course, though. Where do you get your bones? Just stuff you've eaten? How do you keep the canines and incisors clean, since they're not chewing teeth? Maybe he just has good teeth like my Goose. :)
That really only happens when it is cooked. When bones are cooked, the dogs cannot break them down, and they splinter and can end up hurting the dog from the inside. You have to serve them raw, or it's very dangerous!

I feed raw so they will usually get the whole drumstick, or the whole neck (with the meat), etc. If you give them chunks of meaty bones, they have to use all of their teeth to eat it so it cleans them all.

Meeko came from a puppy mill situation, so his teeth were pretty yucky for a one year old dog. I don't have any "before" pictures, but here are his teeth now:
 

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That is awesome, Taquitos!

And oh my word is he ever cute! Love the last picture on the right! "Okay, Mom, I can show them to you by myself."

I'm definitely gonna have to try this! Do they sell duck necks, etc. at the grocery store? How big of one do you give to him since he's so little? And how often?
 

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I mostly stick to brushing. For me it is easier than having to buy chews. I'll do the occasional bully stick or raw trachea, not often enough that I think it makes a difference on their teeth... I don't usually do raw meaty bones because my guys tend to want to inhale instead of chew.

I've done the water additive stuff before and didn't notice a difference. Although I just got the cheap stuff from the pet store. And I probably didn't use the proper ratio lol. But if you're brushing you don't need it.

Right now we use this toothpaste:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3307+59+20505&pcatid=20505

And then after I brush with the toothpaste, I dunk the brush in this liquid and brush it on:
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3307+59+507&pcatid=507

Juno is my only dog who's teeth I've brushed consistently since she was a puppy, and she's 4 years old now... teeth are still nice and white, no tartar buildup, no gingivitis. At first I didn't give myself any credit and I thought she's still kind of young to have bad teeth, perhaps... but no, I've seen plenty of big dogs her age that have awfully diseased teeth. So, brushing is worth it!

Should also add that most of the time, I'm pretty good about brushing at least 4 times a week.
 

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That is awesome, Taquitos!

And oh my word is he ever cute! Love the last picture on the right! "Okay, Mom, I can show them to you by myself."

I'm definitely gonna have to try this! Do they sell duck necks, etc. at the grocery store? How big of one do you give to him since he's so little? And how often?
Yeap, the vet said his teeth were in perfect condition, minus the chipping from when he was at the mill (don't know what happened, maybe he was biting at the bars of his cage? Who knows..).

I buy my raw meaty bones at my local Asian grocery store. They have like, 6 duck necks for $3!!! So cheap! I can usually divide up each duck neck into 3s and serve it every other day. You could probably serve yours just a few times a week and it should be fine :) Duck necks are like, 30% bone, so if it's half his meal for one day, that is 15% of bone. So he is getting ~7.5% of his bone from the necks. I also give other things like chicken feet (those I cut in half too since one is too much for one sitting) to give him extra calcium. This is because he's on raw though. Since your dogs are on kibble, you don't need to be nearly as careful as I am in terms of making everything nutritionally balanced :) You could give it as a treat and it wouldn't be a problem. For the chicken feet, I got like 4 huge ones for $2 at the Asian grocery store too, so that's super cheap as well lol ^_^
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Moluno- I'm glad there are other brushers out there! Haha! I was just hoping there was a dental diet type treat out there (like the Science diet T/D) that was more natural-- something for my dogs to look forward to after their brushings that isn't too expensive.

I'm doing the water additive additionally because I was thinking it would probably help the bacteria that settles in the gums that the brushing doesn't reach?

Does your toothpaste have flavor to it? When I worked at the vet, the toothpaste I used was chicken or beef or mint flavor-- of course the dogs enjoyed the brushing more with the chicken and beef but the mint left their breath smelling the best.

Good for you for consistently brushing! I bet your Vets are so excited to see a dog come in that doesn't have dental disease. I've seen LOTS of 4 year old dogs (large and small) with awful dental disease.



Taquitos- I would've bitten the cage, too! Oh, Asian store! That makes sense! We have several here, so I'll have to run by there. :D The dogs might have a little heart attack with Momma giving them that kind of amazing treat, I'm sure they'll love it once they figure out what to do with it. Glad they're so cheap, too! Glad you said the part about giving them these as treats and not just for raw diets... I was like Uh oh. What have I gotten myself into! ;) :p
 

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Chicken/duck feet can also be good (and are good natural joint/coat supplements because of the cartilage in them).

As for dental treats - Snowball gets half a Kirkland dental/glucosamine chew after each meal. He LOVES them. We don't - they STINK!
 

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The only water additive I really trust is the one you have ... HealthyMouth. It's actually had trials and is approved by the VOHC. We have the gel stuff from them, and it seemed to work well (when I was using it :rolleyes:)

I did the same as you, slacked off (don't even have a new baby as an excuse! lol) and now I want to get Jackson another dental cleaning. He had one in Nov. 2011 (went under for another tooth issue, had them cleaned, too). But I haven't brushed in a few months and it's VERY noticeable to me. His back teeth aren't bad but the front ones are building up tarter/plaque pretty quickly. And I smell a faint smell in his breath and I am just forking up the $400 to get them cleaned professionally. It'll be worth it to me and I'm also getting OraVet applied while he's under (it's like a plaque barrier, best to be first applied when completely dry, or while under).

After his last dental, I was brushing almost every day and it was showing, pearly whites. Once I stopped, it amazed me how fast they became nasty. Little dogs are known for bad teeth anyway so I like to take care of them.

I use CET toothpaste and I also like the CET chews and bully sticks.
 

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Moluno- I'm glad there are other brushers out there! Haha! I was just hoping there was a dental diet type treat out there (like the Science diet T/D) that was more natural-- something for my dogs to look forward to after their brushings that isn't too expensive.

I'm doing the water additive additionally because I was thinking it would probably help the bacteria that settles in the gums that the brushing doesn't reach?

Does your toothpaste have flavor to it? When I worked at the vet, the toothpaste I used was chicken or beef or mint flavor-- of course the dogs enjoyed the brushing more with the chicken and beef but the mint left their breath smelling the best.

Good for you for consistently brushing! I bet your Vets are so excited to see a dog come in that doesn't have dental disease. I've seen LOTS of 4 year old dogs (large and small) with awful dental disease.
I have yet to find an inexpensive dental treat! I used to do the Zukes Z-Bones but I was only giving them once a week, it would just be too expensive to do it more frequently. RMBs would definitely be your best bet for something to chew on, and will be cheaper than any commercial, "dental specific" chews.

As long as you're brushing/giving chews on a consistent basis, there shouldn't really be bacteria settling anywhere. And since the water is just getting swallowed - they're not swishing with Listerine or anything haha - I don't know that it would really target that area any better than brushing would. It definitely won't hurt to use it, just wasn't something that I felt was doing anything for my dogs.

I usually get poultry or beef flavored toothpaste. I've tried mint before and the dogs really, really hated toothbrushing time then lol. I don't think that I even noticed a difference in their breath with the mint!
 

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Interesting comments from all! My pups are very small - 6 and 14 pounds. While Taquitos looked maybe 15 pounds what recommendations are out there for the very tiny teeth like my 6 pound Molly?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Jacksons Mom- I forgot about Oravet. The vet I worked with applied Oravet-- do you also use the go-home kit? I can't remember how it works, it's been too long.. My dogs have always loved the CET toothpaste & treats, so I'll have to start getting those again. They're a little pricey but not as crazy as greenies and stuff, I don't think. And the petite ones come 30 to a bag, if I remember correctly. $400 is a great price for a dental! I think ours is around $500 or so. Definitely worth it to get them a clean slate and motivates you to start brushing again.. :) I hate how quickly the plaque and tarter builds up! There's usually a good amount of crowding in small dogs' teeth, too, so that doesn't help.

Moluno- lol @ the mint toothpaste.. my dogs definitely seem to enjoy it more with something chicken or beef flavored! Thanks for your input! I think once I run out of the water additive I may just stick to brushing and make sure I do it consistently. It's nice to save money once in a while.. :)

Dog Mom 2 2- From what I remember, Taquitos dog only weighs 7.5 pounds! So I think her recommendations probably apply for your little ones as well! :)
 

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I brush her teeth as often as I think of it....usually a couple times a week. I should probably do it more often.

She also gets bones and antlers which I believe help a little bit. I've never really used any of the dental health specific treats like Greenies because I'm not sure how well they actually work.
 

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Awesome- thanks! My JD is scheduled for a teeth cleaning in May. I'm nervous but my vet assures me they do all the necessary precautionary checks for blood, vitals, etc.. And i love my vet practice- they are the best and ive been with them almost 7 years now. He has to get one tooth pulled too because its obstructing his bite so is back right side molar never gets utilized. Once his teeth are tip top I will be brushing both of them regularly!
 
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