My 23-kb 3- yr old Lhasa Mix has tartar on his back teeth. Our vet said to switch to a large-kibble dry dog food. We have been using high-quality dry food, but I’d like to find one with large kibble. The labels aren’t clear except when specifying “Large Breed”. Can anyone make a recommendation?NaturellaMember
Anita, even though your vet said to do that, the kibble size will do nothing to help clean your dog’s teeth. It is like cleaning our molars with large cookies.
What you can do is try to get your dog used to brushing. You can start with putting some coconut oil or dog toothpaste on your finger and let your dog lick it, then slowly get it used to you rubbing it on his/her teeth with your finger, and little by little move to a rubber brush that you put on your finger, or a real dog toothbrush. Since you have to get in the back of the mouth, it won’t be easy, but it’s really the best way to keep their teeth clean, and you need to do it daily, or at least a few times a week.
Another alternative is feeding raw meaty bones, like chicken necks, feet, wings, legs, etc., or pork/beef riblets and neck bone pieces. Always supervise while your dog is eating those and make sure she/he crushes them up well and is not gulping them. You can feed those a couple times a week, but make sure the amount is no more than 20-25% of your dog’s balanced diet. And no cooked bones.
Hope this helps! 🙂InkedMarieMember
I seriously have to wonder about vets when they tell clients stuff like that.
Marie. Isn’t that the truth!!!
They are repeating what they have been told, without a thought to the evidence of their own practice.Anita WMember
Thank you, Naturella for those suggestions, which make a lot of sense to me. I will continue with the appropriate size food for him, and start regularly. I have had a few other suggestions from “dog people” about keeping his teeth clean. One was to use a small square of gauze to rub his molars and gums dampened with a scant amount of hydrogen peroxide.Dog_ObsessedMember
I agree with the gauze, but Hydrogen Peroxide? Isn’t that what you give dogs to induce vomiting? I would use doggy toothpaste (never human!) or coconut oil instead.
I know BC that they are repeating what they’ve been told and, as Marie said, I’m skeptical of vets that give advice such as this. Wouldn’t common sense tell them that if they eat a bunch of crackers, cookies, graham crackers that they are not going to clean their teeth. They’re going to go and brush their own teeth. So what would be different. This old fashioned thinking on the part of vets drives me nuts. I hate being in a position of having to question every single thing they say when they are the ones that have the veterinary education. Some things are just common sense. 🙂
It really bothers me too. But I get the same thing between the kids’ dentist and mine or between my Dr and the kids Dr. The kids’ dentist set me straight about what really leaves plaque on teeth, but didn’t know how bad acidic(sour) candy is on enamel. My dentist told me about how bad sour candies are, but never said anything about starchy foods getting stuck on teeth. My Dr told me that when my sinuses are going crazy and I have ear pain it’s because the tissue in my eustacian tubes was swollen and to take the max dose of decongestant. The kids’ Dr acted like I was an unfit mother when I mentioned giving my kids a dose of decongestant when they have a cold and ear pain and that it always works.
BTW, re peroxide on gauze. Yep, it works, and it isn’t enough to cause vomiting, but I would rather use coconut oil or dog toothpaste for maintenance, peroxide for bad teeth and possible infection only.
Oh My Goodness! I remember years ago (a million maybe) when I would go to my NJ dentist as an emergency visit with a tooth ache and swear he had to do X-rays because surely I needed a root canal and he would tell me to take an antihistamines because probably, no doubt, it was a sinus allergy symptom. Sure enough. I would take an antihistamine and pain would be gone. It happened a couple of times after that and he would get on the phone and ask me if I’d taken an anti-histamine. I would do so and no dentist visit was needed. He was the one that was always instructing me on the dangers of eating all sorts of stuff and that we needed to floss and brush or it would just stick to our teeth. Of course, he was right. He retired more years than I can remember. One of the few that was always straight with me and my son and didn’t want to make hygienist appointments when a bit of home care would take care of the issues.Dog_ObsessedMember
@BCnut That’s interesting, about the Peroxide. Thanks!NaturellaMember
Anita, you’re welcome. I also knew about the gauze but forgot to say it, lol. Anyway, hope one or more of these methods work for you and your baby! 🙂aimeeParticipant
I agree with others that brushing is best. There are several dental diets marketed which have gone through the Veterinary Oral Health Council protocol and shown to be effective in reducing plaque and calculus accumulation. These diets have a relatively larger kibble and different textures or coatings that contribute to decreased formation of plaque and calculus.
I hadn’t heard that kibble size alone could decrease calculus formation, but I found a study that evaluated just that “Results showed that increasing kibble diameter by 50.0% was associated with a 42.0% calculus reduction……with the most pronounced effect being observed on caudally-located crushing teeth compared with incisor and canine teeth. ” Hennet 2007 I haven’t read the full text so I don’t know what the original and test diet kibble size was but did find it interesting.
Just as human dentists don’t recommend gnawing on a piece of food as our sole dental health program I don’t think gnawing on food should be the total answer for a dog’s dental health program either. However, apparently kibble size plays a role in calculus reduction on the back teeth which is what the OP vet recommended the larger kibble size for. For those that wondered where the OP vet ever came up with that idea, it could be that the OP vet was sharing what he/she learned from reading the veterinary dental literature.E LMember
I have another issue with my miniature poodle (~15 lbs.). While I wish a larger kibble size would help clean his teeth, his problem is he swallows the kibble without chewing it. He is healthy, doesn’t vomit, and stools are normal. However I have to believe it would be good for his teeth if he were chewing his food. As for treats to help, he just hides those without eating them. The only thing he will chew on are antlers. Any advice will be appreciated!
- This reply was modified 9 years, 1 month ago by E L.
Hi E L:
Some dogs don’t chew kibble, mine included. Sometimes I hear a crunch, most times he just swallows it. Brushing your dog’s teeth 2-3x a week is one of the best ways to provide dental care for your dog.E LMember
Hi Bobby Dog,
Thanks so much for your advice. It is good to hear that other dogs may not chew their food. I will start brushing his teeth more often. Again, thanks for taking the time to respond.
Hi E L. I have three toy dogs and they all seem to just inhale their food. No chewing involved. I brush all of their teeth everyday. It’s really the only proven way to help their teeth. When I brush their teeth (I use soft toddler toothbrushes with toothpaste meant for dogs) I always very gently brush their gums also. One of my dogs (not these dogs) vets years ago advised me that when brushing teeth just gently do a little circular motion on the gums. My dogs never have any gum issues. My 15 1/2 year old Maltese has all her teeth. Not typical with toy dogs as they tend to loose a lot of teeth during their life time. Not a lot of room in those tiny mouths for all those teeth and they have a tendency to have issues. By the way, she’s never had to have a dental cleaning by any of her vets ever. (I think that’s partially genetics also). Good luck with the brushing.chavela rMember
Hi, well we have a problem, my Bernese Mountain 1yr old puppy started a few months ago with a gum inflammation and bleeding which gave her bad breath also, I took her to the vet and they treated her with antibiotics the inflammation and bleeding of the gums disappeared but a couple of weeks later it all started again same treatment and same result the third time the vet told me that my dog has a sort of autoimmune problem that reacts to something in her mouth he mentioned something like ulcerous gingivitis and it was going to be for life, he recommended brushing her teeth after every meal, which I do, and putting some xylitol in her water, also he suggested a dental procedure that polishes the teeth to make them more even and prevent tartar accumulation and facilitate cleaning this last suggestion I think is to radical, I wonder if anyone has had a similar problem and if a change in the diet might help also, any thoughts? suggestions? help us 🙁DogFoodieMember
I’m not familiar with your dog’s condition, but my first thought was xylitol?? I always thought xylitol was dangerous for dogs: /red-flag-ingredients/xylitol-dog/MelissaandcrewMember
I’d her teeth are clean I don’t see a dental as the first choice. Then again I would get a new vet as xylitol is toxic to dogs and I can not believe a vet would recc it.
If it were my dog the first thing I would do is change the type of bowls she is eating and drinking out of
Ie if plastic go to stainless steel..if so already try lead free crock style. If no resolve I would switch foods in case of allergy.
Stainless Steel bowls. Low carb foods and please buy a doggie toothbrush and dog toothpaste. Brushing is the only real tried and true method of keeping clean. You have to be consistent though and the more often you do it the faster your dog will get use to it.
And….Yes, Xylitol is toxic to dogs. Change vets. Seriously! I wouldn’t like peroxide anyway especially for a dog not accustomed to have their teeth cleaned. Peroxide tastes nasty and foams. YUK! Dog will give you a hard time after that. Doggie toothpastes at least have a taste they like and can swallow without harm. Dogs can’t spit out what you use to brush their teeth with. They swallow it. No matter how little you use of these ingredients they are going to swallow some of it………Xylitol, Peroxide??? HUH? Not good in the long run and brushing their teeth has to be done for their entire life.
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