Dental Care

I suspect largely due to poor breeding and possibly poor nutrition in adolescence, Maggie is prone to tartar build up on her teeth. I just had them cleaned in June and they look awful again. Not like a poor little homeless dog, but worse than you would expect for a 4 year old dog who had her teeth cleaned 6 months ago. I told my vet that I don't want to have her anesthetized every 6 months for dentals. So what to do. I googled and there is a product called oravet that is like a sealant the vet puts on after a dental, and then you reapply with swabs every 2 weeks. My vet doesn't carry the product because they said people didn't follow up. She did say that she would check into if it was possible for them to get some for me without having to start carrying the product. I can buy the swabs through a mail order pharmacy, but I don't think I can get the product that the vet is supposed to put on after cleaning. 

She suggested that the water additives really do have some benefit. I asked which one, and she said any of them. So I ordered Oratene. It will be interesting to see if it really helps. But does anyone have any other suggestions for dental health? I am awful at consistency in brushing. Maggie isn't much of a chewer. Oravet makes a dental chew, but I always worry about the safety of chews after Greenies caused so many problems for dogs. I just want her to have healthy teeth. 

My parents old dog was a 14 year old GSP and she never had a dental in her life and didn't have a speck of plaque on her teeth. I feel like there has to be a genetic component to dental health.

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  • There's definitely a genetic component to dental health. My last Mini Poodle never had her teeth cleaned, I never brushed them or used any dental "products", and her teeth were shiny white and tartar free 'til the day she died just short of her 16th birthday. She also was a major chewer, though; back in those days, we didn;t know rawhide could be dangerous, and she was constantly chewing rawhide, which I really believe made a huge difference.

    But there is nothing you can do about Maggie's genetics. 
    I really think you're going to have to try to do better with teeth brushing if this is important to you. My vet told me that the outer surfaces are what you mainly need to be concerned with, because the inner surfaces are bathed in saliva constantly. So just going over the outer surfaces of her teeth a couple of times a week would probably help a lot. You don't even have to get her to open her mouth, lol. And you can use one of those finger brushes instead of a toothbrush, it's easier. 
    I know this is easy for me to say, lol. I am not great about brushing dog's teeth either. But I've also never had a dog that had major tartar issues. Even Jack had fairly decent teeth. And they have all been good chewers, which helps so much.  If Jasper starts to have a problem, I'm going to follow my own advice, lol. 

  • I find routine (both for me and the dog) helps a lot with remembering brushing.  Riley knows that as soon as she's had her last evening potty walk that it's time to go upstairs and have some water and have her teeth brushed.  If I've forgotten to brush her teeth she goes and sits outside the shower (where I usually brush her teeth) and waits for me.  I just use the free toothbrushes the dentist give us, we use electric toothbrushes for ourselves.

    Riley really doesn't chew that much so the brushing is really important for her.  

    For Luna we used this "sprinkle" for a while that went on her food but we had trouble remembering to do that consistently too and as far as I could tell it wasn't doing anything.  I find that those additive things don't seem terribly effective, the mechanical action of the brushing and chewing is much better at removing things from the teeth so I feel like you still need the brushing.

    • I agree, and kudos to you for being so diligent with Riley's dental care! 

    • I am the worst at routine bc even for something like a walk, it depends on my client schedule for the day, the weather, etc.  So if I know the rain will stop after's not happening before.  It happens when it happens. 

      • It depends on what it is... we always brush our teeth before we go to bed so I do the same for Riley, that ALWAYS happens no matter what is going on so it's easy to remember and will always be around the same time every day.

        I'm bad at remembering to take my vitamins because I often get distracted, I try to take them after lunch but I often forget.

      • Routine is my thing. I could never have raised kids or dogs without it. I can't even function myself without it. I do have a touch of OCD, but I even only grocery shop on a fixed schedule. I would never dream of just running into the store for something. It goes on my list for the next "grocery day". I am completely devoid of spontaneity. It makes me crazy. 

        And I never forget to take my vitamins, lol. I also had fixed client hours. Set times on set days, and never at other times. 

        JD needed to be fed 4x/day and required different supplements & meds that needed to be given at with each meal, different ones with different meals. You have to routine-oriented to do that.  I guess he ended up in the right place. :)

  • Does anyone in your area offer non-anesthetic dentals?  Im not crazy about putting Hanna under all the time either, so we have been going this route.  A local vet and vet tech do them.  One helps to hold the dog and lips while the other does the work.  Maybe not for every dog, but Hanna seems to do well with it.  Even with regular brushing, she still needs it done every year.

    I think it may be a lot to the genetics thing too, as I had a beagle that (also chewed alot) and had the whitest, cleanest teeth ever.

    PS. the Christmas sweater picture is adorable !

    • A vet tech at my vet's office was able to do some scaling of Jack's teeth single-handedly once with no drugs or anesthetic, but I think that takes a very unusual dog. Stacey's Maggie was a rescue with lots of issues fear & trust issues, and I don't think she is a good candidate for non-anesthetic cleanings. 

      • Clark used to scale Cass' teeth. I can't imagine any of our other dogs being cool with it.


  • I had great success with Proden Plaqueoff for Haley's teeth.  You sprinkle it on the food.  Haley had his teeth cleaned at about one year old.  After using the Plaqueoff he never needed to have them cleaned again.  He did have some staining but no plaque.  He also "flossed" with his stuffed and got a raw marrow bone once a week. : ProDen PlaqueOff Powder – Supports Normal, Healthy Teeth, Gums, and Breath Odor in Pet… : ProDen PlaqueOff Powder – Supports Normal, Healthy Teeth, Gums, and Breath Odor in Pets – 60 g : Pet Dental Care Supplies : Pet Supplies
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