Saturday, February 7, 2015

Dental Health Month

February is Canine Dental Health Month, so we're going to show you our dental routine. One of Dr B's specialties is dentistry, which is a mixed blessing. Yes, it's good to have someone watching out for my dogs' dental health, but we can't get away with anything. Every time we visit, for whatever reason, he can't resist peeking into their mouths and pointing our where I need to concentrate my attention.
So here's our routine that we try to stick to, except when I slack off. First let's start with a professional cleaning by the vet. Most of my adults dogs have had them. Tess is due, probably next month. After cleaning the teeth and charting any problem areas, Dr B applies a sealer. This smooths out any scratches or places where bacteria can grab on and start to grow. At home, once a week, I apply Ora Vet Gel, which renews the sealer and helps keep the teeth clean.
I have two volunteers today to help me demonstrate our procedures. Fudge is very good about having his teeth cleaned and Noah is positively obsessive about it. If Noah had his way, we'd brush after every treat.

We start by applying toothpaste to our brush. My dogs all seem to like the taste of this vanilla mint flavored paste. I like the smell. They also make other flavors such as chicken, beef and fish. I'm sure my dogs would love having fish flavored toothpaste, but I'm not sure I could stand the smell first thing in the morning.
Lately we've been using Maxi Guard instead of toothpaste. It's an cleaning gel that they all like and it has an extra bonus. Sebastian and Syd and Mac object to having their teeth brushed and I don't like fighting with them. I can squeeze a little of this gel on both sides of their mouth and their tongues spread it around. It's not as good as brushing, but it helps for uncooperative dogs and it really helps with bad breath. When Sebastian first came to us, his breath would knock you over. After a week of Maxi Guard, he had nice sweet breath.
Whichever we use, paste or gel, we apply it liberally to the brushes. I sit on a little stool and the dog sits in front of me. I start brushing and singing. Yes, singing. I read that one should brush as long as it takes to sing two verses of Old McDonald's Farm. I have a terrible voice but my dogs don't mind, so I sing and they sit there and get their individual special attention.
Fudge has some chipped teeth from jumping and hitting the edge of a  table on his way down, so once a week he has a flouride treatment. We just put a little ball of this on a swab and dab it on each of the chipped teeth. He doesn't like it much and Dr B says it does taste bad, so we try to do it quickly followed by a treat.
That concludes our brushing routine, but we do encourage chewing to a certain extent. Some of my dogs are big chewers. Morgan is one and never had a lot of trouble with her teeth. Sky broke a canine tooth chewing on a walnut in the yard and needed a root canal. Tsar also had a root canal after breaking a tooth. For that reason we don't give hard objects like hooves and antlers to any of our dogs. Puppies get to chew on Nylabone toys, especially the rings.

This month our Chewy selection, in keeping with Dental Health Month, was a bag of Blue Dental Bones. We've never tried these and I didn't know what to expect.
We received the regular size, but they seemed quite large, so I broke them in half.
I handed them out, expecting the dogs to be busy with them for awhile. Wrong! They chewed them right up fast. OK, the results are that they liked them, but I'm not sure how helpful they are in cleaning teeth. They didn't seem to require much chewing at all. I'd consider these more as large treats than an actual dental aid.
Will we get them again? Probably not. There was nothing wrong with them, but they were a little too big for a treat and not hard enough for a real chewing workout.


Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

We've tried some of those dental treats, but we eat them so quickly they hardly hit the teeth. We like big, fresh bones best.

rottrover said...

Yep. Being p prednisone patient, I swallow greenies, barely chewing them…

-Bart of the green poop

Mitch and Molly said...

We love the part about you singing to your pups, Miss Sue. We need our mom to sing to us! Our mom says the same thing about dental chews - we woof them down like treats and she doesn't think there is much cleaning action going on at all.

Love ya lots♥
Mitch and Molly

Jeanne Pursell said...

I sing to my girls too...especially when it comes to doing something that they are not too fond of my doing! Looks like you have the whole dental thing down to a science! I, too, got Blue Bones this month and have not yet tried them as the girls have had a bout of stomach flu. I will let you know what we think!

How Sam Sees It said...

Harlow, with her crooked jaw, seems to need more dental care than normal. We've already have been to the vet and have talked about a care schedule for her.

We tried those bones too, but the large ones. For our two pups they seems to work just fine.

Monty and Harlow

Marjie said...

I helped with brushing so many kids' teeth that I never brushed dog teeth. Teeth cleaning goodies had to suffice. You are a great dog-ma!

Nichole Burke said...

I really lack when it comes to our dogs' dental routine... I should step things up, that's for sure. Tut is in need of a cleaning and possible extraction, which was pushed out to March already.
I'm with you on the size of dental treats... they always seem quite large and I have had fears in the past over the dogs eating so much of it or trying to swallow big chunks.

Sam said...

You're good parents.

Diane Cain said...

Hmmmm, very interesting. I'd never considered that before!
Dental Cleaning