Monday, November 7, 2011

Pearly Whites

Reagan's teeth - 4 years old, never cleaned

Greyhound people know that greyhounds are notorious for their bad teeth. They often have gross tartar build up. Receding, puffy, bleeding gums. Bad breath. And need expensive, annual dental cleanings that often result in at least one rotten tooth pulled. I have had eleven greyhounds since 1993 so I have had my fair share of greyhound dental issues.

BUT IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE THAT WAY! 
Reagan's teeth

Yes, feeding a raw food diet can help with teeth significantly, but I have not found it to be the ultimate solution for greyhounds.  Generally, eating raw meaty bones like chicken backs and turkey necks will help keep the back molars clean, but does not keep the canine or front teeth clean.

The only thing I have found to consistently work well is DAILY BRUSHING.  We have adopted daily brushing into our routine and it has made a huge difference.  We very rarely, if ever, do dental cleanings.  Both Katie and Travis passed away with healthy mouths and all of their teeth.  Their only teeth cleanings were prior to adoption.  Reagan is four years old (we adopted her at 10 months), does not eat raw food (remember it does not agree with her and she is our kibble eater), has never had her teeth cleaned, and her teeth are perfect.  Riley had her teeth cleaned over three years ago, but I am sure she will never need another dental cleaning as her mouth is very healthy.
Riley's Teeth - 5 years old, cleaned over 3 years ago

Brushing is very easy and should take no more than one minute.  It does not matter when you brush during the day.  Just pick a time that is easiest for you to remember.  I tend to brush dog teeth after work when the hounds are coming into the house after being turned out and they are all confined to the dog room.

We use a soft bristle toothbrush for humans and we change it out ever few months.  And we use Petrodex dog toothpaste.  It must be toothpaste for dogs as it has to be safe to swallow.

You only have to brush the outside of the teeth.  I add a generous amount of toothpaste to the brush and brush one side of the dog's mouth.  Then I add another strip to the toothbrush and brush the other side of the mouth.  See video below.
If your greyhound resists the brushing, be gentle, use lots of tasty toothpaste, keep the session less than a minute, and end on a good note (don't let your dog struggle free and then stop there, get him to relax and accept and reward by stopping there).  It is best if you start with clean, pain free teeth.  If your dog fiercely resists, it could mean he a bad tooth that needs to be pulled.

I wish more vets would stress the importance of DAILY brushing.  Dental cleanings are such a poor substitute for daily care.
I think Katie was 10 years old when I took the photo above, but this is how her teeth looked at 12 years of age also.  Her only dental cleaning was at 2 years of age. She did not stink, she was pain free, had all of her teeth, and just look at how healthy her mouth was.  Brush! Brush!

19 comments:

What Remains Now said...

What a good reminder. I use a gel and spray, but I want to introduce brushing. I'm hoping for a easy transition since they're used to me goofing around with their teeth. I especially appreciate what you say about leaving the session on a good note and not with them wriggling away from you. Nice demo video too. I always like the videos.

Declan said...

What very impressive gnashers!! Deccy x

angelofthemind said...

Beautiful shiny teeth! Holly's been able to keep her teeth clean on pig feet, but I should start brushing again too. She's got just a tiny bit of tartar on one tooth.

themiddleroad said...

We adopted our Honey Dog in September (she's 5 this month), and the dental records showed that during her cleaning she had at least 3 furcation exposures that they wanted to pull, and GPA said no. The teeth are pearly white but her gums have receded so much the roots show on most of her molars. The poor girl rubs and grinds her mouth on anything she can find after eating, and I'm pretty sure its because her gums hurt so much! I brush her teeth at least once a day, if not after every meal and I don't know how long we can hold off until she gets those teeth pulled.

gyeong said...

We keep the doggie toothpaste and tootbrush next to ours to remind us when we brush our teeth.

Granted Wishes Canines said...

I'm officially convinced. I tried brushing (with little success) and gave up. I went with the raw diet, but you're right... there's nothing that gets the front incisors clean! I think I went wrong by not using enough toothpaste. I tried to do their whole mouth in one go.

Thank you so much for this!! I'm going to add it in to our morning routine.

Nibs said...

My mummie brushes Ambams teeth, and like you say, it really keeps them in good condition :) but hers were in a good way to start with- my teeth were a different matter :( Mummie and Daddie did all they could... but I had to have all of them out. 44 teeth I've had out! But now I'm much healthier and happier!

EVAinDC said...

As always, great post. The pics, text and video make it a complete lesson.

Apex Agility Greyhounds said...

I brush Summit's teeth every night. We have a bed time routine. He goes straight to his bed when he hears me open the bag of duck feet. I brush his teeth, and put in his eye drops, then he gets his duck foot and goes to sleep. Honestly, his teeth look better than they did a year ago when I adopted him. He's 6.5 and I don't anticipate him needing a dental in his life time. People are always absolutely ASTOUNDED when I tell them I brush them every night. Like it's a huge hassle or something. Takes a minute and I'm so used to doing it that it's no more of a hassle than walking him 3 times a day or brushing my own teeth. It is hands down the only effective dental preventative. I intend to tell all my clients when I'm in practice to brush their dogs' teeth.

houndstooth said...

We've been using CET mouthwash, but I have decided we really need to keep daily brushing in place, too. One problem I have is that Bunny's mouth is so small, it's tough to get a toothbrush in there.

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

You make it look so easy ... I guess because it is when you do it:) OK, doggie toothpaste is on the shopping list. Beryl had her teeth done again in March when she had her tail docked and they are still looking good and I want to keep them that way.

Why do you say only the outside of the teeth need brushing?

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Themiddleroad, yeah, I'm not sure when to pull those teeth. Dogs are pretty good at hiding the pain so its hard to know when its truly time to go. I think the group should have listened to the vet.

Nibs, we have one old one that has had most of her teeth pulled as well. :-( We got a late start in taking care of her teeth.

GHscansit, I'm not sure why only the outside. I suspect that is the main trouble area. Plus dog teeth only have to last 15 or so years and we hopefully aren't accelerating their decay with sugary treats.

Houndstooth, I'll get some video of brushing Reagan, Seven, and Riley since they are super tiny. My foster boy has nice stretchy lips so it is easy with him.

So excited to see that some of you already brush. Way to go, Gyeong, Nibs, themiddleroad, and Apex!

For those that use the sprays and gels, can you imagine if that was how you took care of your teeth... YUCK, right? Give brushing a try.

Jen

Angela J. said...

Great reminder for everyone! I've been brushing my three every other day lately but you're right it only takes a minute (times 3) and I'm going to start every day again. If I notice any tartar build up, they don't mind the scaler either.

Kim, Rambling Family Manager said...

Thank you for this video! My daughters take care of dental hygiene for our babies and now they have a better idea of how to do it right. :)

Sara said...

Great post! I am going to try and start brushing my two.

Declan said...

Just to let you know that teeth brushing has been something I've been meaning to introduce since I got Deccy in July. His teeth look in really good condition and I wanted to keep them that way. Anyway, your post inspired me to get it sorted and I'm pleased to report he really seems to like it! I was just going to do a couple of teeth to start with but he liked it so much I did his whole mouth on the first go! Deccy's Mum x

Mary Schannen said...

I brush everyday my two greys - I did have their teeth cleaned a month ago an was happy that there were no teeth pulling, or anything like that (I've only had these dogs a few months). I do have a question - I was told to use a baby toothbrush and yours did not look like a baby one. Perhaps it depends on the size of the mouth? My one grey has a much smaller mouth that the other one. Thanks for the tutorial! I'm loving your blog!

IHateToast said...

I need to be better at this. Thank for reminding us.

I'm happy we don't have to floss dogs.

Romilda Gareth said...

Thanks