cleaning a dog's teeth

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Nomad, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    We have an older dauchshund. I'm unsure of her exact age...perhaps 13+. She has a funny bite...always has. It probably contributes to extra tarter on her teeth. We've had her teeth cleaned professionally twice before and we are seriously considering having it done again.

    She is showing signs of old age...a little arthritis, mostly. She had a bad spell with that this weekend and is on an anti-inflammatory and Pepcid. This is the first time she has had to take something for it.

    She has very bad breath. We sometimes spray her mouth with a doggie breath spray.

    When she was younger, we would brush her teeth now and again. She hates it. We also sometimes gave her some doggie stuff in her water to help with tarter prevention, but I don't trust it at all and stopped. She has urinary stones! She's had two surgeries for that.

    So, my question is, does anyone regularly brush their dog's teeth with success? What do you use? Do those greenies work well? I hesitate to give her those, because last time she had those (I probably over did it...,not sure) she had THE WORST DIAREAH IN THE WORLD and I almost had to evacuate the house.

    If you have success brushing your dog's teeth...what do you you use for paste, brush, and how often?

    Thank you.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Two dogs.

    One... we can brush when we want, but has pretty clean teeth to begin with... we use a soft HUMAN tooth brush, and peanut-butter flavored doggie toothpaste.

    The other one... should be brushed daily but fights it. Haven't found the magic number for this one yet!

    From talking to other people, it seems the more the dog needs tooth brushing, the more likely they are to resist.
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Our little guy wants nothing to do with anyone touching his mouth. When no one is looking? He sneaks into the cat box.

    I am serious.

    One day, we could not find the dog. We could hear him, and he was like, barking softly. When we would go where we thought we'd heard him, he would stop making any sound at all. Eventually, we found him stuck in the litter box. It is one of those covered kinds that has a swinging door on the front.

    He'd knocked the swinging door askew getting in.

    And that's why he was making those soft little barks until we got nearer. He was so embarrassed to be stuck in the cat's litter box that he didn't want us to know he was in there. On the other hand, the harder he pushed against the now immovable swinging door, the more solidly stuck he was.

    It was a dilemma.

    So he would bark in this soft, really weird little way until he thought we might actually find him.

    Ha! And he just looked so shamefaced when we found him! But so happy to finally be found.

    You know how dogs get that look?

    He knows he is not supposed to do that.

    He still sneaks in there whenever he can.

    You can imagine.

    I have never tried peanut flavored toothpaste. We will try that, next.

    Plus, he loves to kiss us. Now we know where that particularly foul odor he has on his breath sometimes comes from. We don't let him anywhere near us when that is the flavor of the day.

    For heaven's sake. The things we put up with from our animals.


    Our son had rottweilers. He would give them round beef bones from the butcher. The bone scrapes the teeth clean. When the marrow was gone, our son would put peanut butter in the hollowed out middle of the bone. They loved that, too. Ours is too little for those kinds of bones. But maybe we should try one of those for him, again.
  4. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    If your dog won't tolerate a toothbrush, and many will not, try wrapping a 4x4 gauze pad around your index finger and "scrubbing" the teeth with that.

    Don't worry too much about getting the inside of the teeth. The tongue will mostly take care of that.

    Minimizing the amount of grain in the dog's diet will minimize tartar and plaque buildup as well.

    It is a fallacy that kibble "cleans" the teeth. A raw diet will completely or nearly completely prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar, especially if the dog is fed raw, meaty bones, such as knuckles or hip sockets (depending on size of dos) ALWAYS feed raw bones under supervision, and NEVER feed cooked bones of ANY kind to a dog.

    For a healthy, teeth cleaning treat, feed chicken necks, chicken wings, or chicken wings, depending on size of dog. Remove excess fat from backs if your dog is watching his/her weight.

    If your dog suffers from bad breath, or currently has tartar, plaque build up, s/he most likely needs a dental cleaning at the vet's.

    Once this is done, get a good, chlor-hexidine dental rinse or canine toothpaste containing same. Use that with your toothbrush, or gauze to clean your dog's teeth daily. I have actually found the guaze to do as good, or better a job than the brushes, unless you have a very cooperative dog.


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  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I would never use the Greenies because I've heard that they can sometimes break in to sharp pieces that can injure their mouth, throat or stomach if swallowed. If his breath is that bad I would have the vet check his mouth. They can have broken, loose or infected teeth that can be quite painful. Two of mine have had to have dental work done (under sedation). They both had a good cleaning to get rid of the tartar that had built up and one had two teeth pulled. And their breath improved 100%. The vet even cut their nails while they were sedated.
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  6. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    My doggies both love flavored rawhides which clean the teeth well. I have been told by the vet that both of them have beautiful teeth. Damian is almost five, plus you all must know small dogs are famous for having bad teeth, but both of my dog kids have always gotten a thumbs up on their choppers :)
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  7. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Small dogs are more prone to have bad teeth because a: many breeds have short muzzles and hence bad bites, and b: many owners do not feed small dogs healthy diets. Large breeds with short muzzles are also more prone to dental problems.

    "My" breed, German Shepherd Dogs, rarely require any dental intervention other than the repair of broken teeth acquired during work. The reason is partially genetic and partially due to the breed having a "natural" head and muzzle shape. (Of course, they have enough other genetic issues to more than make up for having good teeth.)

    Note that all of the things I say here about dogs also apply equally to cats, a species more prone to suffer dental neglect at the hands of their owners than dogs as a whole do.
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Thank you everyone. Her breath is stinky. She has a funny bite...always has. Is it typical for dogs to get professional cleanings every three or four years? I think I heard some get them every two years, but that seems so hard on the animal due to the anesthesia. She is getting old, and I worry.

    Are the bones best raw? Where do you get these meat bones? From a butcher?
  9. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I recently paid $600 to get both of my dogs teeth cleaned. One also had a baby tooth removed. I had never had that done before and I am not sure I will do it again.

    Oh, and they gave me a free toothbrush for each one.

  10. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Thanks, GN, for the info.l I didn't know why. My one dog (in back) has an underbite. It's cute, but I can see that it may cause problems one day. Will keep on it.
    I don't like putting them under anesthesia either.
  11. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    MWM and others,

    Anesthesia for dental work is "lighter" than that used for abdominal surgery and anesthesia, due to advances in both drugs used and monitoring technology, has become a lot safer.

    For the most part, you are placing your beloved pet at less risk by anesthetising him or her for dental prophylaxis than you are by neglecting same.

    Dental neglect can cause disease of the heart valves and kidneys, and even brain abcesses (this goes for humans as well)

    My usual procedure is to get routine dental prophylaxis done until my vet tells me that this should be the 'last dental'. At that time, I have all "iffy" teeth removed, gum disease and periodontal disease aggressivlely treated., and put the furkid on as rigorous a home care routine as possible.

    Thomas survived an extremely aggressive dental that included gum surgery and root planning at the age of 11.5 years of age while suffering from malnutrition.

    Under normal circumstances, I would've waited to do a dental like that until Thomas' overall health situation had improved, but Thomas was systemically ill due to the severity of his dental infection and cleaning it out was a priority.

    Note that dental treatment has improved to the point that all of Thomas' remaining teeth were able to be saved when only 5 years earlier,sevearl of them would've needed to be pulled.

    The turnaround in Thomas' overall health and attitude once his mouth was no longer causing him pain and the infection was cleared up was nothing short of miraculous. Not only that, his followup blood work improved drastically.

    It all depends on the animal. Thomas will need yearly or even more frequent dental care. He is just starting to tolerate a quick daily "dab' at his teeth with a damp gauze wrapped around a finger. I hope in another few months to be able to clean his teeth properly.

    Squeaky, on the other hand. Despite having having extremetly crooked molars and and right upper teeth that are horribly out of alignment due to a missing canine tooth, has never needed a dental, and may never need one.
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  12. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I have a 12-year old doxie and I found what works best is gauze wrapped around my index finger and coated with chicken flavored tooth paste I buy at my vet's office. What I did at first (he was a rescue at 10 and hated his mouth/teeth touched) was to say "teeth" then put him on my lap and give him a treat. After a while, he associated teach with treat. Then I would lightly massage his "cheek" until I was touched his teeth while talking to him. Eventually I was able to just say "teeth" and he knew if he sat and let me massage his mount (!), it would be followed by a treat!

    Takes a couple times but if my stubborn rescue boy took to it, I bet yours will too!
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  13. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    LDM...this makes sense to me! My Doxie will do just about anything for a treat! I will try this ASAP! Thank you and thank you everyone!!!!
  14. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Ah yes...Dachshunds...the great thing about Dachshunds is that most of them will do ANYTHING for food.

    The worst thing about Dachshunds is that most of them will do ANYTHING for food.

    I love 'em, but I've never yet found one I could get reliably 100% housebroken.
  15. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    GN....I wish someone freakin told me about the housebreaking "thing," before I got one. I don't know how these little dogs get away with what they get away with. Us dachshund owners seem brain washed or something because we are all so very much in love with our fur babies even though they are a tad eccentric. ALL my other dogs (and I do mean ALL of them!) were so much better behaved, especially in the housebreaking department. She will NOT bark if she has to go outside. WTH?!?!? She will look at the door and expect me to come running. Very recently, now that she is much older, she will whimper a mili second and I come running. That's it. Other dogs I've had will go to the door and bark, scratch, get their leash, etc. She seems to try to be subtle. I'm using treats like crazy now, incorporating positive reinforcement with everything. And yes, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Her motto "SHOW ME THE COOK iE and DONT BE STINgEY about it EITHER!" I've reduced her daily food intake slightly to compensate. She has the appetite of a Great Dane! It will likely be a little slow going, but I think the idea saying "teeth," and giving a treat will work. Fingers crossed. Thanks again, LDM , GN and everyone! Im also going to try the peanut butter toothpaste and some bones. I'm psyched.
  16. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I rescued my little guy when he was 10 from a family that had a baby and didn't want him anymore. He is the prefect gentleman! In the two years I have had him, he has probably had 2 accidents. He hardly ever asks to go out, I have to force him to go out at night before we go up to bed! He is like the perfect dog! He goes everywhere with me, work and all! But I do know that they are known for never being truly housebroken.

    The only "issue" is that since he has gone blind, he is a crazy barker when folks come to the door at home and work!

  17. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Sharon...I didn't know your doggie is blind! What happened? How sad! The peanut butter toothpaste just arrived moments ago! I had to order it. I'm so happy. I think she will like it and she is extremely motivated by treats. I'm VERY attached to my dachshund...goofy behaviors and all!
  18. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Yes, the second blind dog I've had in my adult life. My last dog, Spot the jack russell, got SARS. My doxie Dieter has an age-related blindness that can only be correct via a transplant (aka thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars).

    He has gone slowly blind and an still make out some shapes in the bright light. You can tell on his face when he sees you out in the bright sunlight. It hasn't affected him much at all. He is still the happy little fellow he was when he could see! He finds his way through memory and smell -- it's tough when things are rearranged a little...

    He's a sweetie. Hope your dog goes for the peanut butter paste - Dieter tolerates the chicken flavor to get to the treat!!!!
  19. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Awe! Dieter sounds precious.
    I let our Doxie taste the PB toothpaste and I could tell she liked it. She let me brush one tooth today. I will try the gauze tomorrow.

    HOWEVER, I am shocked out of my skull how bad her teeth are. They have never been this bad. I'm not sure I made a dent in the cleaning of this tooth.

    Has anyone else (thank you GN)had their older dog's teeth professionally cleaned? The vet said she would lose some teeth if they cleaned them and there was some risk (death!!!!!!)

    I'm going to call tomorrow to ask more questions. I would NOT want any teeth pulled unless it was absolutely positively 100% needed. She would get an EKG to rule out if it was too dangerous.

    I can see where the peanut butter toothpaste will work this time, plus the behavior modification (treats). I will never let it get this bad again, plus wouldn't consider prof. teethcleanings after this possible next one.

    Going long did it take Thomas to recuperate after that cleaning? Did he lose a lot of teeth? About how many? How often do you thing most dogs should get their teeth prof. cleaned?
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015
  20. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Two of mine have had their teeth cleaned and one had two little teeth extracted. One had it done around age 10 and the other was around 8 or 9. The only sketchy part is with the sedation. Mine are Bostons and there are more issues with the little smooshy faced guys being sedated because they tend to have more breathing problems anyway. I would discuss the sedation with the vet and if he feels it's safe to do it, go ahead. And the one that had the teeth pulled didn't seem to even notice it. I would hate to think of one of mine possibly being in constant pain due to dental problems that could be fixed.