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We had a vet speaker at a dog club I visited tonight. He talked about all sorts of teeth/gum problems in pups and also talked about brushing dogs' teeth. He said we were supposed to bruth them EVERY DAY! which most of us never follow. I don't do with my dogs every day and I thought once a week was enough...


He also mentioned not ever giving raw bones, rawhide, knuckle bones because they could break teeth or cause other problems like gum infections. Those were not what I have read or heard in the past so I wanted to get others' opinions.


He suggested not to use tooth paste either. It distract the dogs. Dogs would just eat or hate it. He said use water and soft brush.


I don't mind taking care of her teeth everyday? I was just shocked to find out everything I had been doing was wrong according to him. He is just one of million vets. I could listen to my vet but I am starting to think his best interest is in my wallet lately.


Thanks for input!

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If most of my clients would brush their dog's teeth once a week, I'd be thrilled. In my experience, how often it is needed partly depends on the dog - how hard they are on their teeth, what they eat, and what they're starting with as far as shape of the mouth, gingival and periodontal health, oral pH, etc. Some of that is just the inborn traits of the individual dog - genetics and anatomy. Some of it is luck. Some breeds are predisposed to forming tartar and having dental disease even if their head is shaped normally - like Shelties. They have a sort of normal head shape, yet we see quite a few with very bad teeth. Ditto Doxies, who again have a pretty normal head shape. Pugs and Bostons - with the little pushed-in faces - you'd espect to have problems because their teeth are all jammed in sideways and crooked, but some of them have amazingly good mouths (others don't). So genetics can play a pretty big role, as can management.


I also think the toothpaste-or-not question depends on the dog - though I do think that if you use toothpaste you should use dog toothpaste, not people toothpaste, which is not meant to be swallowed.


Dogs can and do break their teeth or injure their gums on bones and hard chew toys. But not every dog that gets bones and hard toys breaks their teeth or injures their gums. This is partly luck, and partly owner observation - if you have a dog who really cranks down on the hard stuff, they can put a lot of pressure on their teeth and may be more apt to break them (if I recall right, they can generate 70# of pressure per square inch with their bite strength). In my house, Buddy will never break a tooth like that, because he just is not a crank-down kind of dog. Finn would definitely be at risk, and Kenzie in between. On the other hand, the one who's had the most dental work is Pepper (a medium-strength biter), because she's broken her incisors playing frisbee. That's partly lifestyle and partly luck - just how she happens to meet the frisbee that particular time. Pepper is also a bit of a sheep terrorist - she has a strong eye and rarely needs to move in hard on the sheep, but she's not afraid to run in, teeth clacking like castanets, if one tries to run her over - so I'm sure they're all thrilled that she has fewer teeth than she was born with. (She also makes a lot of absolutely hideous faces while doing this, evidently in case the tooth-gnashing is not enough. I'm not sure how effective the gargoyle faces are from the sheep's point of view, but they're certainly entertaining for the spectators. But I digress.) At any rate, she has not injured her teeth (yet) while herding, but some dogs do, especially if they work heavier stock.


I'm not sure if the vet who talked to you was a board-certified veterinary dentist or not, but if he was, he's the expert and you should listen to him more than me. However, in practical reality, I do have any number of clients who WILL brush their dog's teeth weekly, but if I were to ask them to do it daily might get overwhelmed with it and give up completely. I'll take what I can get, and if that's once a week, I'd way rather have than than never.


JMO, of course.

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Hi Doc, Thanks again. I feel a bit releaved. Actually most people in the room was whispering when he said every day. He was pushing a bit too much but his message certainly woke some of us up. I had a been a little bit lazy when it comes to brushing her teeth.

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AND just having spent a whole wad of money at a dentist (the dog's), and had her suffer at least a little bit (she truly seems better now!) - I'll second

* brushing regularly (once a day is great, once a week better than not at all....but how many of us brush three times a day?!);

* find the brush and technique that works for your dog (I use a 3-sided brush for all my dogs' molars; I use the finger brush for the big guy's canines and front teeth; I use a soft regular brush for the smaller dogs' canines and front teeth - whew! and yes, I use doggie toothpaste - at least they get SOMETHING good out of the experience!);

* not giving items to dog who may likely break a tooth (my dog dentist said no bones - nothing harder than the dog's teeth! and all of mine would fracture even big bones eventually; he said the Greenies are OK; and I grind some bones into their raw diet....not for teeth cleaning purposes though);

* doing other things to help teeth health. My vet dentist gave me some anti-plaque/anti-tartar rinse, that I just squirt into the dog's mouth after eating. I tasted it - not bad - not that she loves this experience, but it spreads enough around in her mouth to help.



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(The newbie strikes again!)


My Snorri dog has a jaw defect from birth - his upper jaw is longer than the lower, so he is unable to lick his top front teeth.


We noticed that he was suffering from gum recession as a result, so, with vet advice, we started brushing almost daily (about 13 days out of every 14 or thereabouts). It has not stopped the recession, but it has slowed it down considerably. We are fairly sure that the front teeth will have to be removed eventually, but not yet. A pity, because they are just about perfect in every other way. Of course, in the interests of fairness, the other dog gets his done at the same time.


It's not an easy task; it takes two of us to get it done as they don't like it at all - I have to get on my knees and keep the dog in a "headlock" while "Mrs S" wields the brush. We use medium toothbrushes and a brand of dog t/paste called "Virbac", which tastes of chicken.


They get dental chews afterwards, to take off any muck which the paste has softened, but not removed. Our vet is delighted, and comments very favourably, particularly on the teeth of our older dog (Kali), who is nearly 10.


My view is that we get our dogs to be our friends and companions; we should do what we can to preserve every aspect of their health (even if it does mean getting rows of dents in the fingers!). JMHO!




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