How to care for your dogs’ teeth

So, you want to take care of your dogs’ teeth before they all fall out; what to do...

The idea of brushing a dogs’ teeth is a nice one, but rarely done and I understand why. It is not a fun thing to do. Some dogs you can teach to allow you to perform the task but many fight to the point where all involved will give up.

There are treats out there that can help some, like Greenies or something similar; worth a try, but monitor the teeth to see if you are making a difference.

Dry food - help or hindrance? Dry food is crunchy and can help some, but is not always the answer.

Some breeds are definitely more prone to periodontal disease, such as the little breeds. All dogs have 42 teeth, regardless of the size of the mouth. So, a German Shepherd has nice space in between their teeth, while a Yorkie has them all jammed into a small area. Neither breed will floss and that is where the tartar can start to build up and lead to gum recession and further issues. The difference is that the larger breed has more space present versus the small breed, thus we see a huge issue with dental problems in little dogs (often have dental problems), versus the big boys (very rare to have dental problems.) The exception is the Sighthound, like a Greyhound or Saluki. They end up with teeth issues when they get older as a rule.teeth

So, what have I found to be most helpful? Regular dentals at the vet are advantageous for the little guys.

But, there is a dietary trick that can really clean up teeth. What is it? Raw meat with bones included can shine them up nicely and remove tartar. The best suggestion is raw chicken backs that are slightly frozen. Go easy with them, as the dog loves to chew on this tasty treat but too much can lead to diarrhea. A half a chicken back for a small dog or a whole one for a big dog should be OK, and watch the teeth clean up. How often? Maybe 1-2 times a week.

OK, now you are thinking the bones are bad. Cooked bones are not good for a dog to chew on, as cooking the bone changes the matrix so it can splinter and also not be digestible. An uncooked bone is actually digestible.

Try it, don’t get carried away, and you might see Hollywood white teeth again. Remember, if you ignore the teeth they will just go away…