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Author Topic: Dog Tooth Care
pH
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For the other dog owners out there, do you do anything special to take care of your dog's teeth? Do you use any of those dental treats or have an actual dog toothbrush? What kind of dental concerns have you experienced with your dog?

-pH

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RackhamsRazor
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There are many products out there to help keep tartar off of your dogs teeth. There are some special bones that are supposed to help out (rubber, nylabones, chewable, etc) that come in many flavors. In addition, it is possible to brush your dogs teeth. They say you don't do too much if you aren't consistent with it, but I do not know the truth behind that. Taking care of your dog's teeth is actually a serious concern. If they get bad enough it can lead to major heart complications and other systemic problems.

Personally, my dog gets a combination of things to help with her teeth. She has some nylabones (the wishbone shape is her favorite) and she gets a rawhide on occasion. In addition, I actually brush her teeth a few times a week. It took a little training, but she loves it now (getting a nice treat afterward doesn't hurt).

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breyerchic04
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We brush Chance's teeth at least once a week because he has a canine going the wrong direction that makes even bones not work as effectively. His toothbrush is more triangular than elongated, and the toothpaste is peanutbutter flavored.
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steven
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Feed him a good diet. Dogs should be eating meat and fat, raw eggs, raw bones and marrow, organs, etc. all raw. Tartar buildup is largely a result of too much in the way of carbs in the diet, particularly processed carbs, as well as overprocessed foods in general.
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RackhamsRazor
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I would not recommend raw foods at all. Many of the recommended raw diets have been found to not contain all the proper nutrients. This is especially concerning if the animals are growing. In addition, the number of pathogens in these diets can run exceedingly high. Unless there is a medical abnormality it is preferable to go with commercially available products.


You can buy dog food that is designed to help keep tartar off teeth (Hills T/D is one).

[ February 19, 2008, 11:52 PM: Message edited by: RackhamsRazor ]

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steven
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"Many of the recommended raw diets have been found to not contain all the proper nutrients."

Yes, it does take some brains to do it right. That doesn't mean it's not worth doing right. Unless you're one of those breeders who specifically feeds dogs a poor diet so they can easily find the dogs with genetic defects and breed only the ones without the defects. Otherwise, whatever.

Seriously. Wow. Who, no really, WHO, is actually stupid enough to argue that feeding a dog cooked food is better than raw? I, I...damn.

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RackhamsRazor
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If you are interested, here is a link to the Veterinary Oral Health Council. It contains recommendations on diets that can slow tartar and plaque buildup

VOHC

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steven
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Can someone else explain why simply feeding a dog or any animal the same type of diet they'd eat in the wild generally makes more, not less sense? It...I...how does cooking make it better? *scratches head* do you really think dogs don't have a digestive system that can take care of a few microbes? I've seen dogs eat the rottenest carcasses you can imagine, and worse stuff. They never died or even got that sick from it. Dogs/wolves are just as willing to steal a carcass as to hunt it themselves. It only follows that their digestive systems are designed to handle what they'd find in the wild, fresh, rotten, and in between. I hardly know what to say. I don't care what a bunch of bought-and-paid-for shills for the pet food industry, degreed or not, have to say. I care about what the animal evolved to eat. That, largely, is, or should be, the issue. IMHO.
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rivka
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Dogs are not wild animals.
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steven
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The ones around my house pretty much are. I live so far back in the woods that dogs are just as likely to chow down on wildlife as they are on whatever their owners feed them. I've had dogs that killed gophers, rabbits, rats, mice, etc. They all run free around here. The idea that they couldn't survive without humans around is ridiculous. They are hunters, and very good ones. There's no really clear line between wild, semi-wild, and pet-dog-that-goes-outside-a-lot here. They all hunt, and well, so far as I can tell.

I mean, this is ridiculous. Many breeds are specifically bred for their hunting and tracking skills. They are perfectly capable of surviving on their own. What other criteria would you be interested in for defining wild? I mean, whatever. [Smile]

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Starsnuffer
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Steven I don't think that's the point. While dogs might be able to handle diseased meat and things better than humans can/could, that does not make cooked food WORSE for the same reasons it does not make it worse for us, or so I speculate. Cooked food is tastier than non-cooked, and (so I hear, and assume) there must be some evolutionary advantage to cooking food (killing microbes, easing digestion or what have you) that caused it to be a selected behavior in our species. I'd go so far as to transfer that same rationale over to dogs, only they won't have the necessary millenia to develop their own natural diet of cooked animal.

On dental hygiene. My dad (a now-retired veterinarian) always said that simply feeding your dog dry food over wet food and things like those denta bones Rackham suggested are good ways to keep tartar down. Brushing their teeth is a real way to keep their teeth clean. If your dog has checkups at the vet s/he can have his teeth looked at then also, and you can look yourself and see 1. do they look all grungy/ do the gums look horribly inflamed or deteriorating or anything and 2. has its breath been getting much worse lately, even long times from the last feeding (this can signify lots of smelly bacteria growing in the mouth and such... just like people).

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Sharpie
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I'm a big proponent of the raw diet for dogs. My very healthy (and vet checked, of course) and happy dog is fed raw for less than even crappy commercial kibble and for really minimal effort. Actually so is my healthy cat, but with slightly more effort. I would not go back to kibble. No way no how. (I'm refraining from an anti-kibble diatribe.)

Some of the dental bones are hazardous, by the way. Greenies, for one.

A completely non-nutrition-based side effect of switching Curie to the raw diet has been that she is so freakin happy with life. I mean, to most dogs, food is their big hobby! So interesting choices every day, changed up, even the occasional leftover scraps (very occasional, because the humans are not nearly as carnivorous) -- all of these add a lot of FUN for her. I can't read her mind, but I can see the difference in her and have hypothesized that this is one of the factors in her happiness level. [Smile] (Sagan the cat does not prefer things to switch around and would eat tilapia every meal if we let her.)

None of this post is meant to support Steven's dietary principles in general [Big Grin] .

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pH
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Bert currently gets Nutro for Large Breeds, which is a dry food. His breath is horrible, but he will also eat anything off the ground, including rocks and cat droppings. I have to keep a constant eye on him during walks to make sure he's not getting into something he shouldn't. And he occasionally gets leftovers of whatever I'm eating. Since I live alone, a lot of times trying to cook for one leaves a little food leftover.

-pH

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