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Author Topic: Brushing dog teeth?  (Read 14992 times)
Tapeworm
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Yonder


« on: September 16, 2012, 06:48:35 AM »

Despite a lifetime of a tooth friendly diet, old Finn's teeth are having issues.  He's got some serious dragon breath going.  The vet gave his teeth a clean while he was anesthetized for removal of a benign hemorrhoidal tumor, and the dragon breath disappeared.  So it seems like a question of cleanliness rather than severe tooth rot at this point.

Unfortunately, I can't get the vet to knock him out and do a teeth clean every so often since anesthetic is risky for an older dog.  I was advised to use my finger wrapped in a gauze-like product which is available for the purpose, but that's not going to work since he insists on doing a sort of rhythmic chewing thing when you get to his back teeth (where the problem is), and it'll mean a lost fingertip in no time.

So I'm using a toothbrush that I beat the hell out of to soften up the bristles, moving it slightly for upper teeth and letting him chew his way past it for lower teeth.  Blood appears on the brush immediately so we're only spending a few seconds on each side.  Hopefully his gums will toughen up and his gingivitis will improve.  Naturally, no toothpaste on there, just a bare wetted brush.

Any advices or recommended procedures for this sort of far back teeth cleaning?
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knny187
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2012, 07:52:59 AM »

Not sure the size of your dog, but sometimes a good bone or knuckle bone does a better job at cleaning the back teeth & stimulating the gums better than anything.  My male (almost 7 years old) has the whitest teeth & the healthiest gums. 

As for actual teeth cleaning products, I have never used them before.

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Butterbean
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2012, 09:53:31 AM »



Since you don't want to stick your finger in Mr. Lousy's Angry Cheesy Smiley mouth, maybe you could put dog toothpaste on your brush.

But like knny said those bones can be good.  My dogs have those available in the backyard pretty much all the time.  I also feed "greenies"  (shaped like toothbrushes)...not sure if those are for breath/teeth but they love them.
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Yonder


« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2012, 05:52:47 PM »

Thanks guys.  I guess he doesn't get as many bones as he used to which might be a factor.  I'll also look into the doggie dentifrice & greenies!  Smiley
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Princess L
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« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2012, 04:39:08 PM »

Are you feeding a wet or dry food?
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Tapeworm
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2012, 02:35:02 AM »

Hey PL.  He gets dry food for breakfast and in the evening usually gets a mix of dry food and raw beef or cooked chicken with ground up veggies.

I picked up some dental chews the other day but he's too spoiled to eat them, haha.  Also got some toothpaste but he was spared a brushing yesterday by work deadlines.  Finally going to get to the supermarket this evening so I'll grab some bones.  No question about him eating those.
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Princess L
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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2012, 04:29:40 PM »

Hey PL.  He gets dry food for breakfast and in the evening usually gets a mix of dry food and raw beef or cooked chicken with ground up veggies.

I picked up some dental chews the other day but he's too spoiled to eat them, haha.  Also got some toothpaste but he was spared a brushing yesterday by work deadlines.  Finally going to get to the supermarket this evening so I'll grab some bones.  No question about him eating those.

I never got in the habit of brushing Scout & Shelby's teeth (I should've), but their breath NEVER stinks.  It smells like nothing.  Since your's has no dental issues that you're aware of, I'd consider changing the diet.  What is the kibble you feed?
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Jonny34
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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2012, 06:03:24 PM »

Despite a lifetime of a tooth friendly diet, old Finn's teeth are having issues.  He's got some serious dragon breath going.  The vet gave his teeth a clean while he was anesthetized for removal of a benign hemorrhoidal tumor, and the dragon breath disappeared.  So it seems like a question of cleanliness rather than severe tooth rot at this point.

Unfortunately, I can't get the vet to knock him out and do a teeth clean every so often since anesthetic is risky for an older dog.  I was advised to use my finger wrapped in a gauze-like product which is available for the purpose, but that's not going to work since he insists on doing a sort of rhythmic chewing thing when you get to his back teeth (where the problem is), and it'll mean a lost fingertip in no time.

So I'm using a toothbrush that I beat the hell out of to soften up the bristles, moving it slightly for upper teeth and letting him chew his way past it for lower teeth.  Blood appears on the brush immediately so we're only spending a few seconds on each side.  Hopefully his gums will toughen up and his gingivitis will improve.  Naturally, no toothpaste on there, just a bare wetted brush.

Any advices or recommended procedures for this sort of far back teeth cleaning?

They make a treat called "greenies", works great for their breath and keeps their teeth white.
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Princess L
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2012, 06:46:58 PM »

They make a treat called "greenies", works great for their breath and keeps their teeth white.

I'd be REALLY careful giving those.  I've given Scout them a couple of times and he practically inhales them.   Despite their healthy appearance, Greenies are not a healthy or safe dog treat.  It's widely known that Greenies are made of mostly unnatural ingredients.  Being undigestible, Greenies have a tendency to get caught in the throat or in the bowels of dogs, causing anything from mild coughing to needing emergency surgery to death.  I will not give them anymore.
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Jonny34
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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2012, 07:08:56 PM »


I'd be REALLY careful giving those.  I've given Scout them a couple of times and he practically inhales them.   Despite their healthy appearance, Greenies are not a healthy or safe dog treat.  It's widely known that Greenies are made of mostly unnatural ingredients.  Being undigestible, Greenies have a tendency to get caught in the throat or in the bowels of dogs, causing anything from mild coughing to needing emergency surgery to death.  I will not give them anymore.


Did you copy and paste that,  I saw that on some organic natural blog for dog food. They are healthy actually, and tons of people use them for their dogs and cats. They work wonders actually for pets. Just because something isn't "organic" does not make it bad for you. Dogs eat treats in all sizes. They can chew it, i promise you. I wouldn't worry.  Wink

http://www.amazon.com/Greenies-Dental-Chews-Dogs-Regular/dp/B000KEVF32




P.S. You're a GREAT MOD!
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Princess L
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« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2012, 07:25:56 PM »

Did you copy and paste that,  I saw that on some organic natural blog for dog food. They are healthy actually, and tons of people use them for their dogs and cats. They work wonders actually for pets. Just because something isn't "organic" does not make it bad for you. Dogs eat treats in all sizes. They can chew it, i promise you. I wouldn't worry.  Wink

http://www.amazon.com/Greenies-Dental-Chews-Dogs-Regular/dp/B000KEVF32

Yes, they CAN chew it, but many don't, which is where a big problem is.  Organic or not, the ingredients are crap.


Gelatin, Wheat Protein Isolate, Glycerin, Soy Protein Isolate, Sodium Caseinate, Natural Poultry Flavor, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Vegetable Oil (Preserved with Propyl Gallate), Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Lecithin, Ground Flaxseed, Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Monostearate, Monoglycerides of Edible Fatty Acids, Choline Chloride, Potassium Sorbate (A Preservative), Minerals (Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Maganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), Vitamins (dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate [source of Vitamin E], Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vitamin B6], Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Folic Acid), Chlorophyll.
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Jonny34
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2012, 07:49:28 PM »


Yes, they CAN chew it, but many don't, which is where a big problem is.  Organic or not, the ingredients are crap.


Gelatin, Wheat Protein Isolate, Glycerin, Soy Protein Isolate, Sodium Caseinate, Natural Poultry Flavor, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Vegetable Oil (Preserved with Propyl Gallate), Sodium Tripolyphosphate, Lecithin, Ground Flaxseed, Calcium Carbonate, Magnesium Monostearate, Monoglycerides of Edible Fatty Acids, Choline Chloride, Potassium Sorbate (A Preservative), Minerals (Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Maganese Sulfate, Potassium Iodide), Vitamins (dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate [source of Vitamin E], Vitamin B12 Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vitamin B6], Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Folic Acid), Chlorophyll.

Why wouldn't they chew it versus anything else they would eat or snack on. Dogs eat an assortment of foods ranging in size, and a greenie treat would be no different. Over 500 people on Amazon give it positive reviews and most MAJOR pet stores sell it. I don't see really anything bad in it for them. Looks like it has a lot of minerals and vitamins they need actually. And it works  Smiley   Pets are happy and their teeth are clean. 
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Princess L
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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2012, 08:13:54 PM »

Why wouldn't they chew it versus anything else they would eat or snack on. Dogs eat an assortment of foods ranging in size, and a greenie treat would be no different. Over 500 people on Amazon give it positive reviews and most MAJOR pet stores sell it. I don't see really anything bad in it for them. Looks like it has a lot of minerals and vitamins they need actually. And it works  Smiley   Pets are happy and their teeth are clean. 

No more healthy for your dog than a typical "granola bar" is for a human.
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Jonny34
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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2012, 08:30:41 PM »

No more healthy for your dog than a typical "granola bar" is for a human.

Well for now I will continue to use it, but if you know of a better treat that is easy to get rid of bad breath and keeps their teeth clean, please post it. You may be right. These seem to work really well. Thanks, I will look into it more and see if there are even better treats than those. They are afforable and some come in different flavors which they love. Here is another link where they get positive reviews. I would not feel comfortable putting my pet under anesthesia to get their teeth cleaned. Have a good night Princess.

http://reviews.petco.com/3554/9654/greenies-greenies-dental-treats-for-dogs-petite-reviews/reviews.htm
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Tapeworm
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2012, 11:11:38 PM »

The pet shop had Greenies but I opted for the other kind of dental chew since the girl at the desk reported that some people came back saying their dogs wouldn't eat the Greenies... but he was too finicky for them anyway!

We used the toothpaste.  Didn't seem any more or less objectionable than a plain toothbrush, I 'spose.

PL, his kibble brand is Pedigree but he's getting meat every day too.  He seems to like the mini bites for small dogs since he gets to inhale them but we'll step up to the size that takes a little more chewing, I think. 

My main concern is solving the bleeding gums issue and heading off big dental problems since anesthetizing him for surgery is risky at his age (although he's still plenty full of beans).
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Princess L
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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2012, 06:00:33 AM »

The pet shop had Greenies but I opted for the other kind of dental chew since the girl at the desk reported that some people came back saying their dogs wouldn't eat the Greenies... but he was too finicky for them anyway!

We used the toothpaste.  Didn't seem any more or less objectionable than a plain toothbrush, I 'spose.

PL, his kibble brand is Pedigree but he's getting meat every day too.  He seems to like the mini bites for small dogs since he gets to inhale them but we'll step up to the size that takes a little more chewing, I think.  

My main concern is solving the bleeding gums issue and heading off big dental problems since anesthetizing him for surgery is risky at his age (although he's still plenty full of beans).

A quality kibble has meat based ingredients as the first four ingredients and no corn, corn gluten, wheat or wheat gluten (fillers), which are notorious for causing allergies and other health problems.

I also hate the idea of anesthetizing the dog for cleaning, even though they say it's totally safe.

There are a few old threads here regarding kibble and Whole dog Journal's top 10.
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knny187
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« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2012, 08:07:51 AM »

How old is your dog?
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Tapeworm
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« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2012, 11:13:33 AM »

A quality kibble has meat based ingredients as the first four ingredients and no corn, corn gluten, wheat or wheat gluten (fillers), which are notorious for causing allergies and other health problems.

I also hate the idea of anesthetizing the dog for cleaning, even though they say it's totally safe.

There are a few old threads here regarding kibble and Whole dog Journal's top 10.


His kibble is of good quality but isn't top 'o the line.  I've always augmented it with meats and made a conscious effort to include veggies, organs, and occasional bones after our discussion about raw feeding a few years ago. (Thanks for great info.)  I was uncomfortable going 100% raw however, since I figured I might miss out some micronutrients which kibble would include.  Not sure if it was the ideal choice but I was aiming for the best of both worlds and he's faring pretty well, so if I am going to make any changes I want to be careful about them.


How old is your dog?

He's a youthful 12, still with plenty of piss and vinegar, although he sleeps a bit more these days and will crash out hard at night if he spends the day with a younger dog.

Unfortunately, he didn't react well to the lamb bones I picked up (didn't witness him throwing up but I recognized a desperate look and saw some serious grass eating going on), so we've left it for several days w/o bones for him to settle.  He used to have a bulletproof belly but I suspect the lamb bones were too soft and let him swallow chunks large enough to cause stomach problems.  I'll see what kind of beef bones I can pick up that he's likely to get his back teeth into.  Smaller knuckle bones split down the middle longwise will be ok, but the monster ones always seemed too big for him to handle from the ends, since he's a 35-40 lb dog.  Might try cutting down the center shortwise too (like karate chop) too if it'll help him gnaw at it.

  
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Princess L
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« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2012, 03:44:12 PM »

His kibble is of good quality but isn't top 'o the line.  I've always augmented it with meats and made a conscious effort to include veggies, organs, and occasional bones after our discussion about raw feeding a few years ago. (Thanks for great info.)  I was uncomfortable going 100% raw however, since I figured I might miss out some micronutrients which kibble would include.  Not sure if it was the ideal choice but I was aiming for the best of both worlds and he's faring pretty well, so if I am going to make any changes I want to be careful about them.

  

I couldn't commit to the raw thing either.  I'd still check the ingredient list on your kibble and make sure there's not wheat or corn or glutens.


http://www.getbig.com/boards/index.php?topic=366550.0
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knny187
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2012, 07:27:59 PM »

Being 12 years old, I would hesitate changing his diet if he's pretty much healthy other than his teeth/breath.

Don't have your dog knocked out to have it's teeth cleaned.  There's too much risk vs benefit at that age.

Have your dog chew on bones (if he can) or attempt to clean them yourself.  Also, look for a bad or rotten tooth.  It's probably why you have dragon breath at that age.
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« Reply #20 on: December 29, 2012, 05:23:26 AM »

No more healthy for your dog than a typical "granola bar" is for a human.

Well put
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« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2013, 11:55:17 PM »

Some users of service dogs have an electric toothbrush for their dog...They have a unique attachment to their dogs but even beyond that the dollar value of the animal is such that they take the trouble to do things like brush their dog's teeth...The dog is trained to lay their heads in their master's lap and the human brushes their teeth with an electric brush without toothpaste.
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Tapeworm
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« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2013, 07:17:08 AM »

The toothbrushing thing isn't really happening.  Once every two weeks or so we take another shot at it but he friggin' hates it, and it's not like it removes anything from his teeth anyway.

We've had excellent results improving gum redness and bad breath with noroclav (amoxicillin) antibiotics and he's on his 4th or 5th cycle of them.  The issue is basically that tartar (hard stuff) buildup over the years has reached a stage where it interferes with the gum's ability to make good contact with the tooth, which makes little zones where bacteria thrive.

Vets have been 50/50 on wanting to knock him out and do a teeth clean.  I can see where those who want to do it are coming from.  It will remove the cause of the problem.  But.  They seem to downplay the risk of anesthetic as if it shouldn't enter into consideration, a risk which I got a whole scary speech about the last time he got put under.  Quoted cost is about $1500 (Australia  Roll Eyes), and I gotta say I get a real used car salesman vibe from those vets.

Other vets agree with my take that there's not a sufficiently compelling reason to risk putting him under (they believe there is a risk of not waking up) given that Fin's teeth are in good condition (no rot, just surface tartar causing gingivitis), that amoxicillin is an effective treatment, and that antibiotics are a lot safer, even over the long term, than anesthetic.  And that he's old enough that it's not like we're going to run out of antibiotics to knock out resistant strains before the dog runs out of years.  Also, I know I'm probably going to have to anesthetize him at some point when one of his many lumps (Old Mr Lumpy) turns out to be the real McCoy, so cleaning teeth then if possible, like they did last time, makes way more sense to me than putting him under twice.  Maybe I just favor these vets because they don't want my $1500, which admittedly is a plus, but they seem more thorough in terms of actually examining his teeth and assessing the degree of risk that his dental/ gum issues present, whereas those who want to do the cleaning strike me as coming from a one-size-fits-all school.

Sadly, no one believes that cleaning his teeth under low-risk sedation (instead of full anesthetic) will be worthwhile.  They can't effectively get to the back.  I guess getting to the back is more invasive than even a sedated dog is willing to put up with, and my brilliant idea of clamping his head to the table and keeping mouth corners retracted with dog lip friendly hooks went unappreciated.  Seriously, he wouldn't like it at the time, even stoned, but I think it's a pretty good idea.  Any dog that lives long enough to have these problems is going to have them and their owners are going to do the same risk/ benefit crap I'm doing.  How is there no way to clean an old dog's teeth without fully anesthetizing him?  Or do anything where sedation and immobilization gets the job done with far less risk?  Hard to believe.

Anyway, I guess we've got a safe stop-gap solution for now and he's still a happy boy, loving walks, plays, hugs, and his food, and he's always under the desk here snoozing during Getbig.
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« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2013, 08:03:19 AM »

my brilliant idea of clamping his head to the table and keeping mouth corners retracted with dog lip friendly hooks went unappreciated. 
Grin



Have you tried giving regular raw bones yet?
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Tapeworm
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« Reply #24 on: April 12, 2013, 09:58:25 AM »

Grin



Have you tried giving regular raw bones yet?

Not since the lamb bone incident of aught '12.  Admittedly, they were too soft and got devoured too quickly to do any good work on tartar build up anyway, and I imagine fragment size was the source of him looking ill.  He really crunched through them for a couple days but I threw the remainder away.  Never saw a problem with lamb bones when he was younger but he was looking pretty peaked last time.

I've been told that under no circumstances should he get marrow bones.  He very nearly died in '04 from pancreatitis brought on by a [still living] ex vet who shot him up with cortisone to treat a very minor hot spot.  Common side effect, as it turns out.  Apparently high fat can be lethal to dogs with that history.  (Who knew?  No one told me!  He had marrow bones for years before someone warned me off.)

Thought about scraping the marrow out, trimming off big chunks of fat, and giving him a bare bones bone.  I remember a vet advising against bones in older age though (weaker digestion maybe?) so I want to revisit the issue with one I trust.  We're doing the 'first do no harm' paralysis by analysis thing since he's probably got a delicate system these days.



And he's definitely going deaf.  Frightened the hell out of him a few times walking down the hall behind him to see if he's heading for the door.  He turns around and AAAAHH!!! OMG DON'T DO THAT!!  Clapping seems to get through still.  Which is better than shouting.  Why is that asshole shouting at that poor dog?
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