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Teeth care and giving the right bones


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About 9 months ago I adopted a 6 or 7 year old border collie from a shelter. We named her Zoe. I have posted here a couple of times right after we got her and you all have been very helpful. When she came to us she was under weight, scrappy looking and had horrible breath and dark stained teeth. One of her lower front teeth looks decayed and she drools constantly. I put her on a good quality grain free kibble and she gained about a pound each month until now she is at a healthy weight and her fur is beautiful and shinny. I got some Petrodex Enzymatic toothpaste and made an attempt to brush her teeth. That didn't go well...lol. She doesn't chew any chew toys or play tug. I think her teeth might be hurting her or at least sensitive. When I ask the vet about her teeth she told me not to brush them, just pour that dental stuff in her water. Her breath and teeth have gotten no better so I have been researching and learning how to brush her teeth and a doing better job. I recently ordered the Petzlife gel but haven't gotten it yet. I was reading on the boards yesterday about giving the dogs raw bones to clean their teeth, but I'm confused about what kind (or the best kind) to give her and where to get them. A couple of times I have given her the smoked bone with the marrow from Petco and she liked it but it upset her stomach. I could use some help. I feel bad her teeth are so bad but I don't want to have her put to sleep to have them cleaned if I don't have to.

Deborah

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We feed raw and my 18 dogs have sparkling teeth. My vet, even to kibble fed dogs, recommends a raw chicken neck or raw chicken back to her clients once per week.

 

When I got my 3 year old dog she had been on kibble since weaning. Her teeth were quite brown with tartar. Within 3 months of switching to raw (which she thought was great!) her teeth are sparkling white

 

Cynthia

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I feed raw bones as a treat and for teeth cleaning. I get turkey necks, or pork necks, small rib bones or whatever is on sale, I usually freeze them for a couple days and I give them to the dogs frozen (they thaw pretty quickly).

 

I have a 4yr old Australian shepherd who doesn't chew anything and had the beginnings of bad tartar on her teeth at 2yrs old, once I started the raw bones her teeth are sparkling white.

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About 9 months ago I adopted a 6 or 7 year old border collie from a shelter. We named her Zoe. I have posted here a couple of times right after we got her and you all have been very helpful. When she came to us she was under weight, scrappy looking and had horrible breath and dark stained teeth. One of her lower front teeth looks decayed and she drools constantly. I put her on a good quality grain free kibble and she gained about a pound each month until now she is at a healthy weight and her fur is beautiful and shinny. I got some Petrodex Enzymatic toothpaste and made an attempt to brush her teeth. That didn't go well...lol. She doesn't chew any chew toys or play tug. I think her teeth might be hurting her or at least sensitive. When I ask the vet about her teeth she told me not to brush them, just pour that dental stuff in her water. Her breath and teeth have gotten no better so I have been researching and learning how to brush her teeth and a doing better job. I recently ordered the Petzlife gel but haven't gotten it yet. I was reading on the boards yesterday about giving the dogs raw bones to clean their teeth, but I'm confused about what kind (or the best kind) to give her and where to get them. A couple of times I have given her the smoked bone with the marrow from Petco and she liked it but it upset her stomach. I could use some help. I feel bad her teeth are so bad but I don't want to have her put to sleep to have them cleaned if I don't have to.

Deborah

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For starters, avoid any bones that are cooked. Cooking bones makes them too hard for a dogs teeth, and impossible for a dog to digest.

 

As stated by the others above, raw bones are the way to go. I recommend feeding a raw diet completely, but if that seems too daunting start with chicken necks or backs. They are literally like dog toothbrushes. You can usually find them pretty cheap without much trouble.

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See,s harder for me to find chicken necks in my area... so I use pork neckbones... they have been cut so they aren't too thick, have some meat on them, and I also freeze them and give my dog bonesicles. They keep much better that way. Leaveing them in the fridge, they get slimey a nd start to grow bacteria too fast ... as I only give a bone every other day or every third day.

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I give some beef bones as that is what I have in the freezer, but I find cut neck bones (pork, lamb, beef), rib bones (pork, lamb, beef), and turkey or chicken necks and backs to be all good. I often feed them frozen, too, but have begun to at least let them warm up so they aren't quite so cold as right out of the deep freeze.

 

Dan came home from being gone five months with some nasty brown tarter forming on his back teeth - a very few bones later and all was clean again.

 

Love raw bones!

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I have to ask ... Is there no risk involved, feeding the little fine bones of a raw turkey neck or chicken neck? Some dogs will chew carefully, but what if it turns out a dog is more apt to just crush and gulp? I'd hate to find out by ending up with one of my dogs in surgery for a perforated gut or something.

 

When I feed bones - which isn't often enough - I just get the nice marrow bones or rib bones and feed those raw. I've been scared to try the small, crunchy, brittle bones of raw chicken. Am I worried over nothing?

 

~ Gloria

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Poultry bones are relatively soft, Gloria--I'd much sooner feed them to my dogs (and do) than I would feed beef marrow bones, which are often too hard and are more likely to cause slab fractures in their teeth.

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I have to ask ... Is there no risk involved, feeding the little fine bones of a raw turkey neck or chicken neck? Some dogs will chew carefully, but what if it turns out a dog is more apt to just crush and gulp? I'd hate to find out by ending up with one of my dogs in surgery for a perforated gut or something.

 

When I feed bones - which isn't often enough - I just get the nice marrow bones or rib bones and feed those raw. I've been scared to try the small, crunchy, brittle bones of raw chicken. Am I worried over nothing?

 

~ Gloria

 

Yes Gloria, when you first start feeding bones it is scary. I used to watch them like a hawk. In 13 years of feeding a raw diet to about 25 adult dogs and 2 litters of border collie puppies I have had one surgery. It was an 11 year old mini schnauzer, no perferation, an impaction. In that time I have had no teeth cleanings and generally very healthy dogs

 

If you have a dog that gulps it is better to give them large chunks, like a turkey neck or a whole chicken. Many of mine will swallow chix necks whole; The backs they tend to crunch and swallow. My newest puppy takes about 15 min/back. My fastest gulper, a maremma, can do 10 backs in 1 minute. IN my experience gulpers are because they think another dog is going to take their food. My ACD (who is just about 14) has to be fed seperately so he thinks (read chews) when he eats. I feed in their crates but that is for ease for me!

 

Another option for those bone cracking adverse is to buy preground backs. One of our local abbatoirs does it or you can purchase a grinder like Northern Tools to grind the bones. I start the puppies on goats milk and ground chicken backs. They move from there onto wings...and after that, pork, lamb, beef necks, leg quarters, backs, whole chickens, misc things i can't recognize....

 

Not as easy as kibble and many days i'm tempted...

 

Cynthia

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Thanks to advice from board members, I give meaty beef bones, usually ribs and chicken necks, both from the freezer. Both dogs have decent teeth, and Brodys have improved from life before regular bones. Brody though refuses to eat chicken necks or any other raw chicken products. The dogs eat kibble as a regular diet and we have not found any gastric issues with a bone a week.

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Thanks to everyone who shared advice. I'm definitely going to start off giving Zoe some turkey or chicken necks, frozen. She loves it when an ice cube falls out of the ice maker and runs to grab it up as soon as she hears it hit the floor. I'll try some of the other bones you suggested also. I'll watch her but usually she is not a gulper. Thanks again for your help.

Deborah

 

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Great suggestions from everyone!

 

One thing I wanted to add... watch her stools while you're feeding raw. If they get too hard add more meat. If they get too soft add more bone.

 

Wish I could afford a raw diet, but meat prices are outrageous over here! Also I only feed organic, free range stuff... that definitely doesn't help on the prices!! <_<

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We feed raw here. I've never has a dogs teethed cleaned nor have I had any teeth issues.

 

Before we started feeding raw I tried brushing the dogs teeth all of two times. Neither of us found it amusing or productive. Bones are easier and much more fun for the dog.

 

Bear is a gulper and has been fed raw most his life (for the past 9 1/2 years) and has not had any issues. He loves chewing on the big beef and lamb bones. His teeth are in great shape...BUT he's been chewing on them since he was a young guy. I think long time kibble fed dogs might not have quite as strong of teeth so starting with softer poultry bones is a good plan.

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Thanks, Cynthia and Laurae, for your replies. Feeding raw is not an option here. With 5 dogs and no friendly local abbatoirs, (plus no freezer space) it's simply not do-able, at grocery store prices. ;) But it is interesting to know about the small raw poultry bones. Maybe I'll get brave enough to try them!

 

At the moment, we're just looking for cleaner teeth, so raw rib bones or marrow bones are what we've always done. Never had a slab fracture in 25 years of dog-owership, but ... it's something new to worry about! :unsure: Maybe we'll just stick to the smaller rib bones, from now on. Until I get up the courage to try poultry bones, though, again, grocery store prices ..

 

Thank you again.

 

~ Gloria

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  • 3 weeks later...

After reading this thread earlier I finally bought a couple raw bones at my local pet store. They are Nature's Variety raw/frozen bones, they were buy one get one free so $5.25 all together.

 

I was wondering where everyone else gets theirs? Grocery stores, local butcher, etc? I don't eat meat myself so I don't have a clue about prices and what to ask for. We also live in a farming area and knew a lady years ago that got bones from a small farmer who sells meats. Is this something people do?

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I buy beef rib bones from the supermarket when needed - they are very inexpensive. Most of the time we get our bones and chicken necks from a butcher who also happens to be my commercial landlord, so my dogs get all sorts of treats lamb bones, the end of roast beef I use for training treats, the butcher reckons my dogs are better fed than my husband.

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I buy pork neck bones from my local grocery store... not too expensive when just one every other day or so...even 1 a week is probably enough, but I also feed some raw daily ...so I either give a bone or chicken gibelets/heart/liver as a topper on the kibble or yogurt or a duck egg.

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I ask my "fancy grocery store" meat guy and he will order me necks at .89 or .99 a pound. I also reserve some of the beef "scraps" that are left over when they trim stuff up and I get them for about $1.89 a pound, they are mostly meat in weird shaped bits but all pretty useable

. I then buy wings, thigh/leg quarters and other meats including organ meats from the "warehouse" store in bulk, divide and freeze. I watch for sales, they often have whole chickens for sale for .69 or .89 a pound and I stock up (usually they have a per person limit but we shop together and ring up separately and I'll stop 2 or 3 times in a week) then cut the up myself. Yes, I know free range or organic would be better, but I look at it this way. Would I say that I was only going to eat processed crap because grocery store meats and produce wasn't as good as organic and I can't afford organic? Probably not. So I feel whole real foods is an improvement, even if they are not organic or grass fed.

 

I also feed eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese and dog appropriate table scraps. I will use canned fish and the mostly meat canned food (bought on clearance or with coupons) too. My dogs look great, have great vet visit and with the exception of Mr. My Teeth Have Always Been Grody Papillon there is no tarter. Harley had a horrid mouth as a kibble dog and now its only a little gross. I have to give him an additional additive (Plaque Off) to help...he is elderly and I don't want to anesthetize him more than I have to. He is just lucky I guess.

 

I divvy up stuff in square freezer containers because they store and thaw easier and fill my garage freezer every couple of months. I take them out to thaw as needed.

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I'll have to investigate and learn more about the raw diet but for now I have been giving Zoe chicken and turkey necks about 3 times a week. She love, love loves them! When I pull one out of the freezer she bows, rolls over and begs without commands...lol. Do you let them eat the skin? I pulled the skin off...habit!

 

I am also using a product to remove plaque and tarter. Her teeth are beginning to improve and her breath is 100% better. She use to smell like something died in her mouth from 4 feet away. Now just regular doggy breath. But her teeth are so bad, still dark yellow and brown but better than they were. I do try to brush her teeth. I bought a child's battery soft spin toothbrush. I really couldn't get to her teeth because she clamped her mouth shut.

 

Even though I walk her every morning about a mile or so, when we get home she starts pestering me to let her play in the water. She loves to chase the water. I stand on the deck with the hose on jet and move it from one end of the yard to the other. She chases it and jumps high in the air snapping at the water. I keep doing it until she slows to a walk. Then she comes up on the deck and collapses at her water bowl, panting. Because of the high heat now I usually do this around 8:00 in the morning. When she is exhausted and panting her mouth is wide open so... I brush her teeth then and can get to all of them. She's too tired to care, I just lay her head in my lap and go to work about 3 or 4 times a week.

 

I asked the guy in the meat dept at our "chain" grocery store for some rib bones and he showed me a pack of spare ribs for $17.00. Is this what you are feeding your dogs? If not, what do I ask for?

 

Deborah

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What you are looking for is beef rib bones - they are the bones that are removed from when someone wants a piece of boneless prime rib. Generally spare ribs are pork - although beef ribs are sometimes used

 

Pork ribs are fine to feed dogs.

 

ETA: Though, as rushdoggie says below, I wouldn't buy them at those prices!

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I asked the guy in the meat dept at our "chain" grocery store for some rib bones and he showed me a pack of spare ribs for $17.00. Is this what you are feeding your dogs?

 

:D no way, I wouldn't feed the humans something that cost that much! I get the "beef rib bones" destined for soup or stews at about $1 or $1.50 a pound.

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Yes, I know free range or organic would be better, but I look at it this way. Would I say that I was only going to eat processed crap because grocery store meats and produce wasn't as good as organic and I can't afford organic? Probably not. So I feel whole real foods is an improvement, even if they are not organic or grass fed.

 

 

Agree^^^ And, as human grade meat, it is equal to or better than the meat used in most kibbles.

 

FWIW, I watch for sales and buy then. In the past few weeks I've found packages of chicken hearts/gizzards for $0.39/#, chicken leg quarters/thighs for $0.50-$0.70 cents/# and hamburger for $1.49/#. My freezer is now f.u.l.l.

 

I can also get "pet meat" beef & pork from a local organic place for $2.00/# so that's were I get the heart and liver and most of the beef I feed from. On average I can usually keep my meat prices it in the $1-$1.25/# range.

 

Of course prices can greatly vary due to what part of the country that you're in.

 

Wandering off on a tangent a bit, but currently I feed about 2/3 raw and 1/3 Honest Kitchen. The Honest Kitchen food is pricey, but it has worked really well for Kenzi who has a fast metabolism and a sensitive digestive system. I'm feeding her less now than I was with kibble and she's gained some healthy weight with minimal digestive upset. I'm a bit wary of giving her a lot of variety right now with raw (which you should work up to to cover nutritional bases) because of the digestive issues she's had in the past. So for now adding in THK helps to keep the nutritional bases covered.

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