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Hi everyone,

I have a Shiba Inu and he is three years old. He has recently been to the vet and they spotted some tarter on his teeth. They recommended that I bring him in and they would put him under some anesthesia.

There must be a simpler way!

Does anyone have any pointers on brushing teeth and/or providing dental chews?
 

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I would suggest talking to your vet to see if the tartar can be brought back under control with a consistent tooth brushing regime. If the tartar is bad enough it can lead to gum disease, illness, and is a breeding ground for bacteria. Yuck! If that is the case, it would probably be best for your dog's health to have it removed and then beginning an oral hygiene routine to prevent any further progression of tartar.

Personally, I do not feed dental chews, unless I am giving it as a once-in-a-blue-moon treat. Most of those chews are too soft to really control any tartar/plaque buildup. Instead, my dog chews on hard chew toys regularly, such as the Nylabones with teeth cleaning bumps/ridges, his deer antler, and also string toys. In addition, he also gets his teeth brushed daily.

Here are two videos I found really helpful when I was introducing my dog to getting his teeth brushed. I found these in the 'nail clipping, demeling, brushing teeth, combing and more' sticky found under the keeping and caring for dogs tab.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33zDv8tz-PQ#t=206
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfsUfaeeXKY

If you are having trouble brushing your dog's teeth and want to help avoid any further buildup while you are CCing your dog to the brushings, you can consider a dental water additive. The additive can help to dissolve any plaque, but is not as effective as brushing their teeth. I use the water additive in addition to brushing my dog's teeth, but that is what works best for us.

Good luck :thumbsup:
 

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If you are comfortable with raw components there is probably nothing better than appropriate raw bones. Investigate the proper raw bones and procedures for feeding raw bones to your dog. I was rather nervous at first about feeding raw bones but the dental benefit is significant. I also have found green tripe to have benefit as well.
 

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If your dog is a small breed, I would do as the vet recommends.... small dogs, especially those living on canned dog food, tend to have more issues with their teeth than their bigger counterparts.

Stormy
 

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I feel for the most part, there are alternatives for keeping teeth clean as opposed to being put under anesthesia. If I can avoid putting them under I will try other ways first. This is just a personal opinion though.

There is a gel that I use for Hank. I put it on his teeth daily and do not feed him or let him drink water for 30 minutes after. It's been working so far. Takes time though, not a miracle gel but it works. Raw bones I find are the best way in keeping teeth clean. Find the appropriate sized bone for your dog. Also take into consideration how hard the bones are. I don't like to give large animal weight bearing bones (such as cows) are they are very dense and can crack teeth. Lamb bones, venison bones, pork necks, turkey necks are the sort of bones I give with fantastic effects.
 

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I would discuss it w/ your vet at length before deciding to go an alternative route. Most ethical vets will not suggest a dog come in for a teeth cleaning unless the tartar is bad enough to really warrant it. Just the last time my dog was at the vet I had them check her teeth and they basically said "well, there's some on a few teeth, but nothing we'd want her to go under for a cleaning for just yet." If your vet is suggesting he needs his teeth cleaned, there is probably a good reason; let it go too long and he may need one or more pulled (that just happened to my roommate's dog).
 

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I'm not a fan of the idea of vets putting my dog under to clean their teeth either. It puts the animal at risk and is expensive.
If your dog isn't a chewer, you have a problem. Dog toothpaste seems to have limited results and some owners complain about it irritating their dog's gums. Dog chews like Greenies don't really seem to get rid of really bad tartar.
The most success I've had is with raw stew beef bones. My doxie will gnaw on one of those all day if I let him, but about 30 minutes is what most websites suggest. Its great for the outside of the teeth, but doesn't do anything for the inside. I'm still trying to find a solution for that.

Does anyone have experience with the Virbac CET chews?
 

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Chewing on raw bones can do wonders on extremely dirty teeth. I had a poodle mix that had the worst teeth I have ever seen, his breath literally smelled like a garbage can and would knock me out it was so bad. I switched him to raw and his teeth became white with no more buildup, as well as his gums became pink instead of red and inflamed as before the change.
 

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Here are some pictures of Peluche's teeth when I first got him and how much better they started getting after chewing on raw chicken drumsticks. Unfortunately I never got pics of the end result, but you can get the gist of how bones help clean teeth instead of putting an animal under anesthesia.

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Anesthesia teeth cleaning!! If it is available in your area I HIGHLY recommend it. Basically, they do what your vet would do, but somehow manage to swaddle and calm the dog enough to allow it while they are fully awake. I was skeptical, but I watched them do it on my pup and she did not appear to be overally stressed at all, and the results were amazing, just as good as a tooth cleaning where she was put under (and MUCH less expensive without the cost of the anesthesia). She's not particularly trusting of strangers either since she was a rescue and at the time I had only had her about a month, so if she will tolerate it I think most dogs would.

This is the place that did mine for anyone that happens to be in Colorado: :: Well Animal Institute LLC ::
 

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I do a daily dental spray, sentry petrodex. It has been amazing for my dogs. I have a 14 year old and so i really don't want to take her to be put under for teeth cleaning. It has made a huge difference. I've tried many others(probably10+), but this has been the only one to have visible results. I also try to brush their teeth twice a week minimum, and give them raw bones to chew on. Only one dog will actually chew much though.
 

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Anesthesia teeth cleaning!! If it is available in your area I HIGHLY recommend it. Basically, they do what your vet would do, but somehow manage to swaddle and calm the dog enough to allow it while they are fully awake. I was skeptical, but I watched them do it on my pup and she did not appear to be overally stressed at all, and the results were amazing, just as good as a tooth cleaning where she was put under (and MUCH less expensive without the cost of the anesthesia). She's not particularly trusting of strangers either since she was a rescue and at the time I had only had her about a month, so if she will tolerate it I think most dogs would.

This is the place that did mine for anyone that happens to be in Colorado: :: Well Animal Institute LLC ::

DO NOT DO ANESETHESIA FREE DENTAL CLEANING. EVER. Thank you. Not sure about the US, but it is illegal for any groomer or otherwise non-veterinarian to do them as only LICENSED veterinarians can practice veterinary medicine - which dental health falls under. Therefore only a licensed vet can preform a dental procedure and any vet worth while wouldn't not subject a pet to an anesthetic free cleaning.

Dentals are pain full, your pet can't be comforted because they don't know what's happening to them nor do they understand why you are poking their face with sharp instruments. You can't fully get under the gum lines, there are no X-rays done to prove if extractions are needed or not, dogs and cats don't know how to cooperate like humans at the dentist can. These procedures can lead to a dog/cat to become fearful around their faces and have more damage to teeth as the anesthetic free procedure is only cosmetic.


I personally brush my dog's teeth. I also feed her raw bones and RC dental chews every now and again.

If your dog only has a little tartar then just do what I do, If your dog doesn't let you brush or like to chew then there are gels like Breathylser that goes straight on the teeth or in their water. If there are other dental issues, then please do the dental procedure.

Here is some info on why anesthetic free dental is a bad idea:
Dental Scaling Without Anesthesia | AVDC - American Veterinary Dental College
Dangers of Anesthesia Free Pet Dental cleaning - Vet Dentist - Colorado
Anesthesia-Free Teeth Cleaning for Dogs: Is It a Good Option?
 
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DO NOT DO ANESETHESIA FREE DENTAL CLEANING. EVER. Thank you. Not sure about the US, but it is illegal for any groomer or otherwise non-veterinarian to do them as only LICENSED veterinarians can practice veterinary medicine - which dental health falls under. Therefore only a licensed vet can preform a dental procedure and any vet worth while wouldn't not subject a pet to an anesthetic free cleaning.

Dentals are pain full, your pet can't be comforted because they don't know what's happening to them nor do they understand why you are poking their face with sharp instruments. You can't fully get under the gum lines, there are no X-rays done to prove if extractions are needed or not, dogs and cats don't know how to cooperate like humans at the dentist can. These procedures can lead to a dog/cat to become fearful around their faces and have more damage to teeth as the anesthetic free procedure is only cosmetic.


I personally brush my dog's teeth. I also feed her raw bones and RC dental chews every now and again.

If your dog only has a little tartar then just do what I do, If your dog doesn't let you brush or like to chew then there are gels like Breathylser that goes straight on the teeth or in their water. If there are other dental issues, then please do the dental procedure.

Here is some info on why anesthetic free dental is a bad idea:
Dental Scaling Without Anesthesia | AVDC - American Veterinary Dental College
Dangers of Anesthesia Free Pet Dental cleaning - Vet Dentist - Colorado
Anesthesia-Free Teeth Cleaning for Dogs: Is It a Good Option?
In fact, the company that I linked to DOES provide teeth cleaning under the supervision of a licensed vet by a trained vet tech. I wouldn't recommend anyone have a non trained person do any type of dental work. They clearly stated that if they were unable to calm the dog to a safe level (determined by the vet) they wouldn't perform the work, and they provided recommendations for follow up care including x-rays and sedated dentistry as appropriate. In fact, they state 'This is not intended to replace a dental under anesthesia but rather to be part of your pet’s dental plan.' The pet guardian was welcome to watch it being done and she was clearly not under any type of duress. For me it was a great experience.

I appreciate the information but for me it makes sense vs. putting her under every year. Of course, I imagine that the place doing the work could be a huge factor since it's not well regulated so definitely some researching is in order.
 

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Anesthesia free dental cleaning doesn't really accomplish anything except make the teeth look better cosmetically and maybe make the breath better. Do you know why your gums are a little sore after a teeth cleaning? Because the hygienist is cleaning up under the gumline and probing under the gums for pockets/excessive space, not just cleaning the tartar visible on your teeth.

That's where the really problematic plaque, bacteria, and tartar is because that's where it causes periodontal disease, damaging the attachment of the tooth to the gums and jaw bone.

There's just no way to properly clean the teeth, gumline, and probe the gums for pockets/problem areas without anesthesia no matter how cooperative an animal is.
 

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Anesthesia free dental cleaning doesn't really accomplish anything except make the teeth look better cosmetically and maybe make the breath better. Do you know why your gums are a little sore after a teeth cleaning? Because the hygienist is cleaning up under the gumline and probing under the gums for pockets/excessive space, not just cleaning the tartar visible on your teeth.

That's where the really problematic plaque, bacteria, and tartar is because that's where it causes periodontal disease, damaging the attachment of the tooth to the gums and jaw bone.

There's just no way to properly clean the teeth, gumline, and probe the gums for pockets/problem areas without anesthesia no matter how cooperative an animal is.
Thanks! Good to know. They did do at least a little manipulation of the gumline since she provided the 'pocket' measurements just like you get at the human dentist. But it makes sense it would be harder to get under with them awake.

However, it also seems like all of the other options discussed here (brushing, sprays, chews) would have similar limitations?
 

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You can get toothbrushes and toothpaste made especially for dogs. It is important to use toothpaste formulated especially for dogs because human toothpaste can upset your pet’s stomach. Also, toothpaste made for dogs will have a more pleasing flavor for him. Pet toothbrushes are softer than human ones, shaped slightly differently and are generally smaller. You can also use sponge cleaners instead of a toothbrush, which consist of small sponges attached to a handle
 

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I think the reality is, your only solution right now is the anesthesia cleaning route. We had that done to our poodle/bischon mix when she was 3 years old. Since then I have regularly (every day) brushed her teeth with a canine toothpaste with tarter fighting enzymes in it. She will be seven next month, and her teeth are perfect, our Vet says she does not need to have them cleaned, and they look soooo clean and white. I hated having to have her knocked out and promised myself and her, that I would do everything I possibly could to avoid it in the future. I believe you need to start this regime with a 'clean start' though. I know it has worked for us. The toothbrush I use is really for a two year old human, Dora the Explorer brush. Its the right size, and fits in her mouth far better than any of the 'dog' tooth brushes I have tried.
 
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