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Removing plaque from dog teeth

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#1 FauxPas

Posted 10 May 2012 - 07:51 PM

Hi everyone

Since October last year we are the owners of a Japanese Spitz.  She was about 18 months when she joined us - so nearly 2 years old now.

I took her to the dog groomer this morning and he noticed that she has brown plaque build up on her canine teeth and some gum redness.  He recommended cleaning it with a baby toothbrush and some bi carb soda and strawberries (as they are acidic).

I would love some input on this?

Also - I previously owned a much larger dog and never had any issues at all.  She is on a Eukanuba diet, she has a kong, we give her bones every couple of weeks or so (so far the smoked ones and recently lamb shank ones (cooked)).

Do I need to take her to the vet to have existing plaque removed?

We love our dog and really want to do the right thing.  I never realised you had to brush their teeth but obviously will from now on!

#2 *LucyE*

Posted 10 May 2012 - 07:58 PM

Ummm, we've never brushed our dogs' teeth and they've been fine.

We do the premium dry food and bones diet (always raw).

Our dog goes to the groomer fortnightly and our vet gives her a check over each time too (groomer works out of the vet practice). Weve never had been told to brush her teeth. Clean her ears, yes. Brush teeth, no.

#3 Guest_Nyz31_*

Posted 10 May 2012 - 07:59 PM

We were told to get out dogs teeth cleaned for the same reason but we just make a conscious effort to give her more bones and the next time we took her to the vet, they said her teeth were perfect.... ??? I heard that that's why doggie dentists are a new thing, coz back in the olden days, the family dog got all the leftover bones and this is what kept their teeth clean.

#4 FauxPas

Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:03 PM

ok  - thanks very much.

I will get more raw bones for her.  I have given her less than we gave our large dog because of risk of choking etc but happy to increase the intake.

I will clean her teeth a few times but if the plaque does not come off will take her to the vet.

#5 Unatheowl

Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:05 PM


If your dog has visible tarter it would be best to take her to the vet and have a dental done.  That way, they can evaluate her teeth properly under a general anesthetic and see if any require removal.  After they have been cleaned properly, then you can start to maintain her teeth.

The gold standard is brushing and you can get lots of tooth brushes and doggie toothpaste.  If your dog will not allow this, then you can get dental diets which clean the teeth as they chew.  There are a few brands that do this.  You can also get additives to the water which help prevent the plaque matrix from forming (as it inevitably will).

Different dogs will have different teeth ( like people really) and some will have great teeth all their lives without effort, others will be rotting out of their heads by the time they are 3.  It depends on lots of different things, both environmental and genetic suchu as anatomy of the dental arcade.  If you see your dog does not have great teeth, a visit to the vet is a great first step.

#6 Bedge

Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:43 PM

I would agree with some comments above, about offering more raw bones. Maybe a few a week, depending on what size, type, and how long they last.

My older dog Jimbo, had surgery to remove a hernia so we opted to have his teeth cleaned while he was under.

You can def try brushing her teeth! Some are fine with it if you start really softly. Although, think it might be a good idea to speak to your vet to get the 'good' products and advise.

It's great you are paying attention to her teeth, people often don't realise how it can lead to major kidney problems!

Edited by Bedge, 10 May 2012 - 08:44 PM.

#7 **MrsPotatoHead**

Posted 11 May 2012 - 12:32 PM

With my dog I give him lots of the rawhide bone/chews and they keep his teeth super clean.  My sister noticed how clean his teeth were and said her dogs just didn't seem to stay clean even feeding him chicken necks so she started giving him the rawhide bones and his teeth are coming up nicely.  My parents used the smoked bones on their Doberman and it also made a visible difference to his teeth.

#8 la di dah

Posted 11 May 2012 - 12:38 PM

With good bones and charcoal chews our dogs died of old age before their teeth went more than faintly yellow by the end. But we did brush occasionally. And they weren't mash-face breeds, who often have more problems.

My cousin brushed his Retriever's teeth religiously but his dog threw up all the time, which is bad for teeth.

Tiny dogs often have bad teeth. They're all jammed together. My friend has a Maltese that is repulsive. (Teeth-wise, okay dog).

#9 ubermum

Posted 11 May 2012 - 12:40 PM

All my dogs have had gorgeous teeth right up until the day they died. I bought them a marrowbone from the butcher every week. Raw bones are the best dental care you can give your dog.

#10 lizb87

Posted 11 May 2012 - 12:49 PM

brown stuff on teeth is tartar - it wont brush off. plaque does brush off (but is colourless/not visible). plaque becomes early tartar after 2-3 days unless it is physically removed (i.e. via brushing) and tartar realy cannot be easily removed.
bones may break off tartar, but they also might fracture teeth, get stuck in the gut requiring surgery and cause pancreatits and constipation. the marrow of bones is 95% or so pure fat which is why dogs love them. my dogs never get bones as we see too many problems from them. raw is less problematic but still not great
hills t/d and other brands of bis uits have been designed with a cellulose matrix in them to scrub the teeth and in some dogs are successful. some dogs wont eat them and others inhale their biccies so they dont work always
brushing teeth every second day is ideal, but a big commitment
if your dog has brown stuff (tartar) on he teeth then a scale nd polish under GA may be required - you need a vet's opinion.

#11 FauxPas

Posted 11 May 2012 - 01:34 PM

yikes!  ohmy.gif     I just rang the vet and they charge $395 for a scale and clean.  Not something we can afford right now while I am on maternity leave.

I will try other vets and in the meantime - bones and tooth brushing daily it is.  I will also ask our lovely local pet shop guy about other products we can try (e.g. doggy toothpaste)

Edited by FauxPas, 11 May 2012 - 01:45 PM.

#12 ubermum

Posted 11 May 2012 - 01:40 PM

For your size dog, I would recommend raw chicken necks. I worked for a Samoyed breeder and that is what we gave her dogs and it is also what I give to my cats. Don't feed cooked bones, they splinter. I feed my cats chicken necks at least once per week and their teeth and breath are lovely.

#13 Feral*Spikey*

Posted 11 May 2012 - 07:11 PM

You could try flicking it off with your finger nail. Sometimes it will flake off with a teeny bit of pressure. And yes, I've done this for dogs and cat. (still have 10 fingers).

Oh, our doggies love denta bones, which are chewy and full of teeth cleaning stuff.

#14 spitzmum

Posted 17 May 2012 - 12:49 PM

FauxPas - I'm a Jap Spitz owner too and tartar build up is one of the few downsides of the breed.

I use Proden Plaque Off - one scoop every day in her food and it makes the tartar soft enough to scrape off with a fingernail after 6 weeks.  You keep feeding it and her teeth should stay tartar free.


It's hard to get in Australia - but I ordered some off ebay in the UK, arrived here quickly.  One medium sized container should last at least 18 months.

#15 FauxPas

Posted 17 May 2012 - 01:00 PM

QUOTE (spitzmum @ 17/05/2012, 12:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
FauxPas - I'm a Jap Spitz owner too and tartar build up is one of the few downsides of the breed.

I use Proden Plaque Off - one scoop every day in her food and it makes the tartar soft enough to scrape off with a fingernail after 6 weeks.  You keep feeding it and her teeth should stay tartar free.


It's hard to get in Australia - but I ordered some off ebay in the UK, arrived here quickly.  One medium sized container should last at least 18 months.

oh my! thank you!!!

I have been brushing her teeth daily (bi carb one day and doggy tooth paste next) and have given her bones almost daily (but easing off now to every second day).  The build up seem to be more pale but still there.  Her gums bleed less now that she has regular brushing.  Your recommendation will definitely be implemented asap!

I feel so neglectful actually - we try to take such good care of her and I can't believe I didn't notice the build up earlier and simply did not know about small breed teeth issues (our Mal just used to get bones).

#16 spitzmum

Posted 17 May 2012 - 01:07 PM

Don't feel bad!  Many of the top Jap Spitz champions and grand champions have a little tartar build up - the breed can be a little finicky with a general anaesthetic, so many breeders don't put their dogs under for the scale & clean at the vet

#17 FauxPas

Posted 17 May 2012 - 01:09 PM

Thanks again (so much) - have just ordered a medium sized box from the UK on eBay.


#18 runnybabbit

Posted 17 May 2012 - 07:25 PM

Be careful with brushing the teeth of a dog that has existing dental disease. If your dog has gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) or loose teeth, then this will hurt and might cause an aversion to toothbrushing altogether.

#19 JRA

Posted 20 May 2012 - 10:45 PM

Shadow has cow's hooves. Great for her teeth. Absolutely gorgeous white things

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