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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tarter buildup in small dogs


Jan,
I’ve noticed my 3 year old Yorkie has tarter build up but it’s a fight to brush his teeth. He only eats Flint River dry dog food and has Milkbone dry biscuits as treats. Is there a spray or gel that you would recommend to remove tarter buildup?
--Debi

Debi,
Little dogs genetically have more problems with tooth decay and tartar.

I do believe the C.E.T. oral hygiene chews are wonderful for keeping teeth clean. You can get them at any vet's office...I used to sell them at MDT in Yakima for a lot less; check with the current owner to see if she still carries them.

Plan on having his teeth scaled at the dentist once a year. There's no substitute for a professional job if your dog has a natural plaque and tarter buildup.

Also, there are a variety of tooth-cleaning products and methods on the market. Check Drs. Foster & Smith.com.   If he won't tolerate a toothbrush, maybe he'd tolerate a wipe or a dental sponge. Most of the oral hygiene sprays won't do much to affect tarter. Have you tried using a very small brush and just getting the front teeth done? You will have to hold his whole head in your right hand (head, not neck) firmly (without hurting of course), and use your right index finger to slip the right corner of his top lip up. With the left hand, work the brush up into that area. That's where you would start. If you do just a little, that's better than none at all. He should build up a tolerance to it.

If you're not even that far along with him, put a dab of doggy toothpaste on your finger and gently massage his gums (you'll still have to restrain him, at least initially). Most dogs love the beef, poultry, or peanut butter-flavored toothpaste.

If he likes to toothpaste, you can also squeeze some of it into a small Kong, hollow bone, or other toy that holds treats. As he works on the toy, he'll at least be getting the enzymatic toothpaste into his mouth.
--Jan

 

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