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Barn Dog: Dental Health?

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  • Barn Dog: Dental Health?

    I have a jack russell barn dog who has HORRIBLE teeth. She averages about one dental every 4-5 months currently and that's with me brushing her teeth and using greenies in between. Her breath starts smelling foul again within one week of a dental despite my efforts. Being a barn dog she gets into alot and often comes home with 'presents' in the form of dead gophers but I'm not sure if that lifestyle is contributing to this. She lives in the house whenever I'm in the house and eats Iams Adult formula dog food. Does anyone have any other tips besides the brushing to help maintain dental health in dogs? Are there any supplements or a certain type of food that you've had luck with?

    I have no problem making sure she gets the dental care she needs via the dentals but I hate having to put her under so often. Thanks for any ideas.

  • #2
    I've found that feeding a very high quality food is the single most important thing for dental health. My 8 year old dog has never needed a dental. My 5 year old dog has had one, but only because we were in there to extract a tooth and my vet said "we might as well." They've both eaten Innova their whole lives. My cats, who used to eat Innova dry and now eat California Natural wet, also have perfect teeth and have no need for dentals.

    Iams is crap, unfortunately. Try Innova, California Natural, Canidae, Wellness, Blue Buffalo...something along those lines. Something that uses a high-quality protein source and doesn't have corn, wheat or soy on the label.

    Comment


    • #3
      Some dogs just have filthy mouths. My two greyhounds are fed the same. One is fine between cleanings, the other had one tooth out when I got her, eight teeth the next year, and fourteen this year (total 23 teeth extracted!) She is so much better and still manages to crunch her food with whatever teeth she has left. Who knows what next year will bring for her. I do have to say I am not as diligent as you are ....
      Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

      Comment


      • #4
        We had a toy poodle with terrible teeth.
        Since that was the only dog with bad teeth we ever had, no one else, I would say that some dogs do have bad teeth.
        In those years, Science Diet was the best food you could get for a dog, bar none. A little later Iams company was started and for that time, it raised many good, healthy dogs.
        The other dog foods at that time were feed mill products of questionable quality and ingredients.

        Today they have so many good kinds of dog foods, yes, even those people like to bash are really more than adequate.
        Much of what today passes as very good is very good marketing.

        The little dog I have now loves to have her teeth brushed when I brush mine and has her own tooth brush and chicken flavored toothpaste.
        Once I asked our vet if brushing her teeth three times a day may be too much and he started laughing so hard he could not answer.

        I would ask your vet again what else you could do.
        There is a gel vets sell that may help your dog.

        Comment


        • #5
          Never had a dog that needed a dental cleaning. Feed quailty food and I give them a rawhide chew every so often. The chew HAS to be big enough that they cant really get it in their mouth and in turn forces them to "gnaw" on it. Scrapes all the junk off the teeth. Their teeth will be clean, cant say about the breath.......after all they still lick their butts.
          Disclaimer;
          Nearly all of what I post will be controversial to someone. Believe nothing you read on a chat room, research for yourself and LEARN.
          Not in the 42% or the 96%

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          • #6
            I don't think it has anything at ALL to do with what kind of food they eat. My 9-year-old Golden/Collie mix has absolutely perfect teeth, no tarter whatsoever, has never had any teeth brushing or "professional" cleaning. My 4-year-old Corgi gets lots of tartar buildup on her back teeth and I spent $400 on getting her teeth cleaned last spring. They eat the exact same food and treats.

            My vet told me that all dogs have the same number of teeth (the number escapes me) and it's the small dogs and particularly smushed-faced ones like pugs that tend to have TERRIBLE teeth because their little jaws have to accomodate the same number of teeth that a big shepherd or lab has.
            I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Simkie View Post

              Iams is crap, unfortunately. Try Innova, California Natural, Canidae, Wellness, Blue Buffalo...something along those lines. Something that uses a high-quality protein source and doesn't have corn, wheat or soy on the label.
              Thanks for the ideas everyone. She had another dental today, hence the thread, and I spoke to my small animal vet a little more when I picked her up. She gave me a prescription dog food to try her on (a Purina product) that looks pretty good but I think I'll do some research on the above brands, too.

              Originally posted by Guin View Post
              I don't think it has anything at ALL to do with what kind of food they eat. My 9-year-old Golden/Collie mix has absolutely perfect teeth, no tarter whatsoever, has never had any teeth brushing or "professional" cleaning. My 4-year-old Corgi gets lots of tartar buildup on her back teeth and I spent $400 on getting her teeth cleaned last spring. They eat the exact same food and treats.

              My vet told me that all dogs have the same number of teeth (the number escapes me) and it's the small dogs and particularly smushed-faced ones like pugs that tend to have TERRIBLE teeth because their little jaws have to accomodate the same number of teeth that a big shepherd or lab has.
              That's pretty much what my equine vet told me (basically that some dogs just have really bad teeth) but I figured it can't hurt to get her on the best quality diet I can. Putting her under so often just frightens me, she has never had a bad reaction to it but I lost a lab during a routine surgery and have been gun shy ever since.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by WorthTheWait95 View Post
                Thanks for the ideas everyone. She had another dental today, hence the thread, and I spoke to my small animal vet a little more when I picked her up. She gave me a prescription dog food to try her on (a Purina product) that looks pretty good but I think I'll do some research on the above brands, too.
                I've never found rx teeth diets to be helpful. Perhaps you'll have better results. Take a look at the ingredient list. Is it mostly grain and meat byproducts? If so, it's not a quality food. Quality food is no/nearly no grains and a named meat or meat meal.

                This site may be helpful: http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  If the problem is odor, you might want to try a chlorophyll product that humans use post-colostomy or GI tract surgery -- Chlorofresh is one such product. Think of it as an internal deodorant.

                  We used it on a older dog with a horrible odor issue, with great success.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                    I've never found rx teeth diets to be helpful. Perhaps you'll have better results. Take a look at the ingredient list. Is it mostly grain and meat byproducts? If so, it's not a quality food. Quality food is no/nearly no grains and a named meat or meat meal.

                    This site may be helpful: http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/
                    Great link, thanks! I just compared it to the Iams bag I have and there are fewer grains in it then the Iams but there are still quite a few, it reads more like the allergy food my lab needed then anything that would be helpful for dental health. I gave her some and she just walked away from it which is unusual for her...she isn't usually picky. Oh well, it was a free trial bag...I'll donate it to the shelter where I volunteer and try one of the other brands.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by JER View Post
                      If the problem is odor, you might want to try a chlorophyll product that humans use post-colostomy or GI tract surgery -- Chlorofresh is one such product. Think of it as an internal deodorant.

                      We used it on a older dog with a horrible odor issue, with great success.
                      The odor is pretty noticeable as she gets closer to being due but the tartar build up is the biggest issue. She's also very prone to gum infections. How would you dose a product like that for a 13 LB dog?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I want a hard kibble for my dogs. I need them chewing it hard, working to get it broken up for eating. Crunching it aids in teeth cleaning. Moistened, canned wet food, is all a poor tooth cleaning aid.

                        The fact that small dogs usually get soft food is one of the factors in their bad dental health. We had Poms for a long time and the Vet always complimented us on their nice teeth. So unusual in small dogs. They got the hard kibble as well and benefits really showed in their nice teeth.

                        Dogs with bad teeth may have had poor nutrition as puppies and before birth. Mother dog didn't have the correct amount of calcium in her diet to build good puppy teeth. Such dogs often have discolored or weak teeth as adult dogs.

                        I no longer give any rawhide chewy things, because my large dogs just work it to death and eat it. Happens fast too! Huge chance of making a blockage internally. My dogs have very strong jaws, and even large rawhides can't stand up to that. I am feeding raw cow leg bones as the chewy of choice. Dogs can seldom break the bones, but enjoy working on them a lot. Short pieces so they can't get teeth stuck in them. Fed raw, they are not brittle like cooked bones which shatter more easily. No poultry, pork, lamb bones of any kind.

                        My aunt the dog breeder, likes the cow hooves as chew toys for her German Shepherds. She is the one who warned me about rawhide blockages.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by goodhors View Post
                          I want a hard kibble for my dogs. I need them chewing it hard, working to get it broken up for eating. Crunching it aids in teeth cleaning. Moistened, canned wet food, is all a poor tooth cleaning aid.
                          ...

                          I am feeding raw cow leg bones as the chewy of choice. Dogs can seldom break the bones, but enjoy working on them a lot.
                          Raw marrow bones are just the best for cleaning teeth. Talk to a (real) butcher or small processing plant. I think what we used to get were the femur (or equivalent?) cut into about 6" lengths for about $2.50-$3 each. The dogs would absolutely strip every morsel from the bone, then I'd leave them outside to sun-bleach and even after they were totally clean the dogs would gnaw on them or, for a treat, I'd put some peanut butter inside to make them extra-fun again. Always got compliments from vets on their teeth and never needed to have them sedated and cleaned. (my childhood dog was brain damaged by being anesthetized improperly for a routine procedure so I'm particularly cautious on things that can be avoided)
                          my horse trailer was stolen from kentucky horse park. Seen it?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There is a dental vaccine that does seem to help the smaller breeds of dogs. I believe it is called Polymorphus(?) vaccine. I work for a small animal vet and we have been recommending it on lots of our smaller breed clients for a year or two now. We seem to be having a fair amount of luck with it - dogs we used to see for dentals seem to be going longer between. Check with your vet he should be able to find it for you.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Personally, this was another reason that I switched to a raw diet.....the enzymes clean the teeth/no dentals. I feed the Nature's Variety chubs (complete raw meals), not super cheap (2.49 per pound), but alot cheaper than having to give three 70lb plus dogs dentals at 400.00 a pop.

                              Mine have never looked healthier, glossy coats and full of energy.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by CurlyLindsay View Post
                                Raw marrow bones are just the best for cleaning teeth. Talk to a (real) butcher or small processing plant. I think what we used to get were the femur (or equivalent?) cut into about 6" lengths for about $2.50-$3 each. The dogs would absolutely strip every morsel from the bone, then I'd leave them outside to sun-bleach and even after they were totally clean the dogs would gnaw on them or, for a treat, I'd put some peanut butter inside to make them extra-fun again. Always got compliments from vets on their teeth and never needed to have them sedated and cleaned. (my childhood dog was brain damaged by being anesthetized improperly for a routine procedure so I'm particularly cautious on things that can be avoided)
                                I totally agree. Buy beef bones from the butcher, or large soup bones.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by WorthTheWait95 View Post
                                  The odor is pretty noticeable as she gets closer to being due but the tartar build up is the biggest issue. She's also very prone to gum infections. How would you dose a product like that for a 13 LB dog?
                                  Chlorofresh comes in gelcap form -- you could just put one in with her food.

                                  The tartar build up is probably only fixable through dental work. I'd look for a dental technician who doesn't use anaesthesia as you have to have it done so often. These dental techs do exist, often the best way to find them is through flyers and cards posted at pet stores. Vets will usually tell you it's 'impossible' to clean teeth without sedation, which just isn't true. (I have a dental tech for my dogs and cats and she's very, very good at it.)

                                  There's also a seaweed-based food supplement called PlaqueOff that's supposed to reduce plaque and tartar build up. I'm not sure how well it works but I have seen it in pet stores.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    There are several herding kennels around here, with dogs in kennels and they feed those raw beef bones all the time to entertain the dogs.
                                    Our local vets comment that those cause chipped broken teeth and in older dogs worn teeth.
                                    Those that use them, please don't let them chew on them too much for too long, let it be a treat only.
                                    Ask your vets.

                                    All of us already do our best for our dogs, so those that are lucky to have dogs with good teeth should not brag too much, just as those that have dogs with problems should not feel guilty, because much of how good a mouth a dog has depends on the dog itself.

                                    There are a few breeders around here using the raw diets and they have some dogs with good teeth and the odd one with bad teeth, just as the rest of us do.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Unfortunately, if your dog's teeth are really bad, you must take your dog to a vet and undergo anesthesia for the dental cleaning. I am a vet tech, and know that dental health is extremely important. Neglecting dental health goes farther than just stinky breath: causes heart problems and is a major cause of kidney disease. You cannot clean the teeth in any way that will be beneficial to your dog if he is awake.

                                      Once you have the cleaning, there are many ways that you can help keep thier teeth and gums healthy. The first would be to brush your dog's teeth daily, but that is difficult for most people. Try orajel: it's a gel that you apply weekly to their teeth and gums - that has been proven to keep tarter at bay. There is also a product by Oxyfresh that you can simply add to the drinking water to keep bacteria out of the mouth. Always feed dry kibble. Some bones, such as nylabone, are great teeth cleaners: they have little bumps on them that help brush teeth. If I were you, I would not use Greenies. There have been many lawsuits where dogs are choking, or the greenie is becoming lodged in the intestines, requiring surgery to be removed. Most vets will tell you they are very dangerous.

                                      Hope that information has helped. Good luck with your dogs teeth!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                                        There are several herding kennels around here, with dogs in kennels and they feed those raw beef bones all the time to entertain the dogs.
                                        Our local vets comment that those cause chipped broken teeth and in older dogs worn teeth.
                                        Those that use them, please don't let them chew on them too much for too long, let it be a treat only.
                                        Ask your vets.

                                        All of us already do our best for our dogs, so those that are lucky to have dogs with good teeth should not brag too much, just as those that have dogs with problems should not feel guilty, because much of how good a mouth a dog has depends on the dog itself.

                                        LOL! I don't think anyone is bragging, I think people were offering suggestions as to what works for them.

                                        There are a few breeders around here using the raw diets and they have some dogs with good teeth and the odd one with bad teeth, just as the rest of us do.
                                        Perhaps, but switching to raw actually knocked off some tater that my 7 year old was building. Not saying anyone should switch to raw, but it did work for my three.

                                        Comment

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