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I try to brush our little 5 month old's shih tzu's teeth at least 3 times a week and he refuses to let me brush them. I do give him plaque removing treats which work. I am currently trying the fresh breath by tropiclean and as soon as he takes a sniff he turns away and refuses to let me put it in is mouth.
any suggestions?
 

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I've tried that stuff and my dog hates it. He also really hates application nozzles going anywhere near his mouth because they can puff air and make weird noises.

Find an enzyme paste or gel that's got a more dog-friendly flavor, like chicken or peanut butter. Start with letting your pup lick a little from your finger, then work slowly up to touching one tooth, to running your finger over one side, to the whole mouth. I've found it easier to use a bit of gauze or a microfiber finger brush around my finger than to try to introduce a real toothbrush, but do whatever works best for you/your dog.
 

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Raw meaty bones once a week will do more to keep a dog's teeth clean and healthy than any dental chew or tooth brushing. For a dog 5 months old who is teething, I freeze the bones and give them to the dog frozen. For a small dog beef neck bones from the supermarket work really well.
 

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RMBs haven't saved my dog from needing 3 dentals in his 6 years of life. They help, but brushing with enzymatic dog toothpaste is the gold standard. Small breeds and breeds with flatter faces are particularly prone to tartar buildup, and there also appears to be a genetic component to how prone a dog is to bad teeth - I've known multiple households where they have dogs of the same breed with the same tooth care regime, but one has more plaque than the other.
 

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RMBs haven't saved my dog from needing 3 dentals in his 6 years of life. They help, but brushing with enzymatic dog toothpaste is the gold standard. Small breeds and breeds with flatter faces are particularly prone to tartar buildup, and there also appears to be a genetic component to how prone a dog is to bad teeth - I've known multiple households where they have dogs of the same breed with the same tooth care regime, but one has more plaque than the other.
True about the genetic factor. You may be correct on the flatter faced breeds. I have no idea. Never owned one.

I have found that since feeding RAW I have had zero plaque. Again, I chunk the raw off frozen and give it that way so I wonder if the gnawing on a frozen chicken breast or frozen chunk of raw pre-mix has anything to do with it? One person more versed in feeding RAW than I am (I have been feeding it for a year and a half) said that RAW mix contains bone and it is ingesting of bone that keeps the teeth cleaner (that never really added up in my mind, but I thought I would toss it out there).

Kibble sticks to the teeth. Kibble fed dogs with no access to raw bones or any kind of dental care often have really bad tartar and dental issues.

I know of someone with a Miniature Schnauzer that has a dental cleaning done by the vet every 6 months (I then wonder what all that anesthesia is doing to the dog's kidneys!).
 

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For us, frozen grind or muscle meat is better than nothing, but doesn't work as well as actual meaty bones. And even those only seem to extend the time between cleanings, whereas I've seen little to no plaque buildup during the time periods I've been really religious about daily 'brushing' (though like I said above, I don't actually use a brush). Even when I've been primarily feeding kibble.

Some dogs definitely seem to do great on RMBs alone, but others definitely need a combo, or primarily brushing. More crowded mouths means more/faster buildup, generally speaking, and both smaller sized and shorter noses contributes to that, so I'm absolutely on board for getting a shih tzu puppy used to a brushing routine!
 
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