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Canine teeth cleaning: Why?

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  • Canine teeth cleaning: Why?

    I just had my picky eater little dog's teeth cleaned. I thought maybe she had some bad teeth back there as she insists on chewing her food (weird) but has a hard time with it. I had another thread going about trying to find a more palatable food for her sensitive self.

    Anyway, she was druggy and wouldn't eat her food at all last night. We gave her leftover chicken which she ate just fine, and then made her scrambled eggs and rice this morning.

    I have had dogs for the last 21 years, and this is the first one whose teeth I have had cleaned. None of the other dogs suffered from anything worse than dog breath, and I never had their teeth cleaned.

    It seems like a lot to put a little dog through for something that would never occur in nature. Why do it?
    2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

    A helmet saved my life.

  • #2
    1) She's a domesticated dog, not a wild wolf, and human intervention in her breeding may have resulted facial structures more prone to dental problems.
    2) She's eating dog food, not wild game. Processed food is stickier and requires less chewing. Therefore, more likelihood for tartar buildup.
    3) Tartar buildup leads to tooth decay and gum inflammation. Tooth decay is icky and eventually painful. Gum inflammation can provide a way for nasty stuff to get into the bloodstream, triggering problems with the heart and circulatory system.
    4) If she were a wild wolf, a kick from a moose or some other accident would probably take her out at the upper end of middle age, before tooth decay could get her even if she were prone to it.

    Comment


    • #3
      just like in humans, poor mouth health trickles down from there.

      Comment


      • #4
        Small dogs are also known for having more issues with their teeth.

        Comment


        • #5
          Our dogs are on a raw diet so their raw meaty bones take care of their plaque, etc.
          If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
          DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
          Originally posted by talkofthetown
          As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.

          Comment


          • #6
            I agree with the diet. If you feed the right things, the teeth shouldn't be bad (unless the dog has some sort of underlying problem). Curious if the vet showed you her teeth and explained why they needed to be cleaned?

            Caitlin
            Caitlin
            *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
            http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

            Comment


            • #7
              Diet has very little to do with it. Some dogs are just prone to tartar. Big Fuzzy Dog is 11 and has perfect teeth. Never had to have them cleaned. Small fat corgi is 7 and just had her second teeth cleaning this spring. They eat the same food. Vet says that smaller dogs, with more pointy snouts, tend to build up a lot of tartar on their back teeth because they don't chew as much of their food back there. He says the worst are the brachycephalic ones - bulldogs, pugs, etc.
              I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry

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              • #8
                Toy dogs do not have the same root system or sometimes enamel that large dogs do. They are very prone to teeth issues regardless of the food that you feed. Oxyfresh The vet product, not the laundry booster etc) added to the drinking water will help keep the plaque from forming in the first place. Approximately 60 percent of heart and 40 percent of kidney issues in dogs is directly linked to crappy teeth. Just like people before the advent of modern dentistry. It pays in the long run to keep your dogs teeth cleaned. And just as in people some dogs have much more crappy teeth thann others.

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                • #9
                  My child dog (a toy poodle) ended up dying of a heart murmur which the vet said was likely caused by the amount of tartar on her teeth. I brush my dogs' teeth...they like it.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by RedMare01 View Post
                    I agree with the diet. If you feed the right things, the teeth shouldn't be bad (unless the dog has some sort of underlying problem). Curious if the vet showed you her teeth and explained why they needed to be cleaned?

                    Caitlin
                    I have a friend who is a vet, and when we got our latest dog, a fat little chihuahua with the world's worst breath, she found a few loose teeth in his mouth, so we were prepared for some extractions when we took him in along with fluffy dog, and there were 7. His back teeth were rotten. The vet who did the dental work said the cause was just his breed. He never chews his food, by the way.

                    The other dog, the subject of the thread, always chews her food, and loves to chew Nylabone. Yet any layperson could see how much plaque she had. So I think many of you are right, it's just a small breed issue, and her underbite doesn't help either, and dental cleaning is justified in her case.
                    2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                    A helmet saved my life.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Think about people--some people have great teeth, never get cavities, never need braces, etc. while I have a friend who has basically had her teeth rebuilt while in her 20s (same thing happened to her mother, too). We have selected for other breed traits, and teeth generally aren't one of the main selection criteria. I currently have an Italian greyhound, and I brush his teeth regularly, but he still will require more frequent dental cleanings than my basenji did. My Siamese-mix cat had much worse teeth/needed more dental work than my other cats did, despite eating the same food.
                      Humans in the wild didn't brush their teeth, either. And as far as the diet goes--if I ate nothing but carrots and apples all day, which should in theory "clean" my teeth, I'd still want to brush and go to the dentist!
                      Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yup, I have a chihuahua who is a champion chewer - always has lots of stuff to chew on AND I brush him regularly. But guess who has to have his teeth done yearly? He is large for a chi (15 pounds of solid muscle), too, and doesn't have particularly horrible mouth conformation, either; he is just a tartar builder. I may try that oxyfresh - I hadn't heard of it.

                        My lab, otoh, has never had to have his done, with the same routine. He is 12, and has had to be scraped once without anesthesia to get one tiny bit of tartar on a top tooth, but he is fine otherwise. He is a lot easier to brush, though, too.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Try Plaque Off....you put it in their water. I've been using it for about 4 months and it has made a difference. I buy it at the little Holistic Boutique up the street from me.

                          Mine hate having their teeth brushed....and this has helped.

                          When someone can explain to me how a horse can live for 30 plus years with tarter on their teeth and we aren't doing brushing and dental cleanings on their teeth..but yet, we need to put our dogs under for dentals....I'll listen. Until then..Plaque Off, occassional brushing and raw bones.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Because a dog is not a horse and they are physiologically different. Don't you have your horses teeth examined and floated as needed? Do you go to the dentist for regular cleanings?

                            All you have to do is flip the lip on some of these dogs and unless you think large chunks of calculus, inflamed gum tissue and purulent discharge is acceptable it is obvious how they benefit from dental care.

                            General anesthesia is necessary to prevent injury to their mouth when scaling up under the gumline and aspiration of the crap that gets scaled off of their teeth. Plus you can find growths/tumors in the mouth that you wouldn't see or be able to examine while they are awake.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dalpal View Post
                              Try Plaque Off....you put it in their water. I've been using it for about 4 months and it has made a difference. I buy it at the little Holistic Boutique up the street from me.

                              Mine hate having their teeth brushed....and this has helped.

                              When someone can explain to me how a horse can live for 30 plus years with tarter on their teeth and we aren't doing brushing and dental cleanings on their teeth..but yet, we need to put our dogs under for dentals....I'll listen. Until then..Plaque Off, occassional brushing and raw bones.
                              Horses are not dogs. Can you think of a single way horss and dogs are ALIKE?
                              Horses are hypsodonts with teeth covered in cementum, dogs are brachydonts with teeth covered in enamel. They eat different diets, masticate differently, and have zero in common when it comes to dental health besides both being anisognathous animals like every other domestic mammal minus pigs. The tooth structure, composition, growth and purpose are completely different. Plus, while horses can develop tartar it has been my experience that the vast majority of owners mistake the brown staining cementum for tartar when it is actually completely normal. Not saying you do that but just an fyi for some that may not be familiar with equine tooth composition.

                              :steps off soapbox: Sorry, a little sensitive on the subject since we just finished pulling all the teeth plus a partial mandibulectomy on a 4 year old raw fed Lab yesterday because her teeth had never had any care. Her rads were unreal with the abcesses eating away large chunks of mandbile and maxilla. For some animals large bones and diet has NOTHING to do with dental health. You just can't fight genetics.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Just one more bit of info about horses' teeth: they never stop growing! Wild horses get to nibble all day and wear their teeth. Most riding horses are fed periodically, so for much of the day they are not grinding down their teeth...hence need for a dentist. But even so, horses won't develop tartar at the gumline (for very long) because the tooth continually erupts. I have seen some very elderly horses (close to 30 yrs) who eventually look like little old men and just have gums. The tooth has "run out". These horses are fed a senior feed/gruel.
                                Savor those rides where you feel like a million bucks, because there will be those where you feel like a cheap date...

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I worked for a small animal vet. I was not a big believer in dental cleanings for dogs. Until they called me back and showed me this horrid gray fuzzy rot mouth on a cute Westie. His back teeth were one tartar-covered plank of hard gray yuck. I almost puked. So I went home and examined each of the six dwarves' mouths and one qualified for the treatment immediately. Best thing I could have done for her. She smells and eats better now and I know she feels better. BTW they are all chihuahuas and eat only dry kibbles, but this one was a rescue and ate poop and table waste for seven years before I got her. Now mine are off treats except for Prescription Diet TD large chunks which is really dog FOOD but big enough pieces to qualify as a treat for little dogs, and has to be chewed with back teeth. I was told the bigger the piece of food the more they have to use those back teeth.
                                  SPAY/NEUTER/RESCUE/ADOPT!
                                  Little Star Chihuahua Rescue
                                  The Barkalicious Bakery
                                  On Facebook!!!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by WorthTheWait95 View Post
                                    Horses are not dogs. Can you think of a single way horss and dogs are ALIKE?
                                    They're both mammals, and they both (for the most part) have four legs?
                                    If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                                    DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                                    Originally posted by talkofthetown
                                    As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by HydroPHILE View Post
                                      They're both mammals, and they both (for the most part) have four legs?
                                      Very true. I was speaking in terms of dental health although that wasn't clear.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Dry Clean Only View Post
                                        Because a dog is not a horse and they are physiologically different. Don't you have your horses teeth examined and floated as needed? Do you go to the dentist for regular cleanings?

                                        All you have to do is flip the lip on some of these dogs and unless you think large chunks of calculus, inflamed gum tissue and purulent discharge is acceptable it is obvious how they benefit from dental care.

                                        General anesthesia is necessary to prevent injury to their mouth when scaling up under the gumline and aspiration of the crap that gets scaled off of their teeth. Plus you can find growths/tumors in the mouth that you wouldn't see or be able to examine while they are awake.
                                        DUH...yes, my horses get floated annually and I have yet to see a dentist CLEAN a horse's teeth. Argue that point all you want, but I still don't agree with dental cleanings We brush, raw meaty bones, and plaque off here. Sorry, but I learned along time ago not to listen to every single thing a vet spouts off at you.

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