Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pearly Whites

If you're a Greyhound owner, you are probably very familiar with the need for keeping your dog's teeth clean.  Greyhounds are notorious for having bad teeth, although I've never seen a definite explanation as to why.  One of the few things that bothered me about Treat was her breath.  She had really bad teeth and we fought a lot of battles to keep them clean.  It was always really scary for me to have to take her in for a dental cleaning, even though I knew it had to be done.  I put it off as long as I could both for financial reasons and for the state of my heart, but eventually we'd have to give in and bite the bullet to take her in and have them cleaned so that the paint wouldn't peel off the walls.

Bad breath and cosmetics aren't the only reasons that dental health is important for your dog, though.  Bad teeth and gums can lead to heart disease, and if your dogs' mouth is hurting, he's not going to eat as well.  One of the few times, and the worst time, that I was ever bitten by a dog was a sweet little Greyhound who'd been returned by her adopters.  They hadn't taken care of her teeth at all and she had a horrible tooth infection.  When I touched her neck, it was so painful that she turned and bit me.  I saw her again after her treatment and she was absolutely the sweetest little lovebug imaginable.  I can't begin to imagine what kind of pain she'd been in. 

There are a lot of ways to combat tooth problems in your dog.  Daily tooth brushing helps a lot.  We were recently given Science Diet T/D for Blueberry, and while it's too expensive for me to feed four dogs for each meal, it does make a good treat and our dogs are crazy over it.  We also use CET mouthwash that we got from our vet.  When I notice some tartar buildup, I do some teeth scaling on our dogs who will let me do it. 

Another good way to keep dogs' teeth clean is to give them things to chew, either toys, bones or dental treats.  Our dogs love Greenies and if I would give them one every day, they'd eat one every day.  It's several minutes of silence here when all four of them have their Greenies because everybody is busy concentrating on their treat.

February is National Pet Dental Health Month.  The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) is a group like the ADA (American Dental Association) that is applied to pet products.  While there are a lot of products that claim to be good for your pet's dental health, not all of them are VOHC approved.  The fact that the VOHC even existed was news to me, but it's nice to know that there are people out there overseeing pet products.  They actually do research and testing to see that these products are effective in the breakdown of plaque and tartar. 

There's a campaign by Greenies and the American Animal Health Association to help fund veterinary dental services for needy pets through the Helping Pets Fund.  The fund makes a wide range of veterinary services available to pets that have been abandoned or whose families can't afford them.  We have chosen to help, and you can as well, if you are so motivated.  There are several ways that you can help and get Greenies to contribute to the Helping Pets Fund.

·         For every blog post written about VOHC, The GREENIES® Brand will donate $25 to the AAHA Helping Pet’s Fund
·         For every use of #VOHC on Twitter (either through an original post or a re-tweet), The GREENIES® Brand will donate $1 to the AAHA Helping Pet’s Fund.
·         For every new “like” of the GREENIES® Facebook fan page from February 17—March 14, The GREENIES® Brand will donate $1 to the AAHA Helping Pet’s Fund.

Whether you choose to participate in the campaign or not, I do hope that you will at least take a few minutes to think about your own pets' dental health after you read this.  Your dog may not appreciate having his or her teeth brushed, but leaving them at the vet's office to worry about them all day while they have a dental is worse.  Aside from that, fresh dog breath is a lot more pleasant to smell right before your dog plants a big sloppy kiss on you. 
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  1. I'm learning quite a bit about dental care this month :) I never knew DAILY brushing was recommended. We clean very randomly though we keep a nose out for bad breath. Lots of raw bones too. I'm not familiar with greenies, wonder if they're available here. Also interesting to learn about greyhounds and bad teeth. Wonder why.

  2. They have a different brand (s) in Europe but we've always used them and never had any dental problems. Wilf still thinks they're a great treat !

  3. I've been luck in that Cami and Jakka (& Schniff before them) have/had great teeth with no issues. Perhaps there's something different in our water down here. Greenies are a great treat though.

  4. Bunny,

    Dis is great advice! Mom is tryin' to do better brushin' my teeths, her forgets to do it everyday. Her also wants to know if I can borrow a picture of you fur my Banquet post on Saturday. :)

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  5. I made this bizarre promise when K was a little tiny puppy - that I'd brush her teeth every single day. And, I do, although we've broken our "streak" when I or she is in the hospital.

    The problem is R who has bitten the heads off of many toothbrushes. I need to figure out some way to keep his teeth clean. Thanks for motivating me to give the situation some more thought and try some different things.

  6. Another teefer cleaning move is using raw knuckle bones (or any type of raw bone)...if your peoples can handle it. Its yummy and makes your teefers white!

    BTW, I think the Greenies people should use your piktures in their advertisements! They'd sell millions!!

  7. I think I have an answer as to why Greyhounds are prone to teeth problems because it came up at the vet with us a few weeks ago.

    We have a Sheltie (and many Shelties are also prone to teeth problems, we just found this out because Dakota has to have his teeth cleaned in April cause Mama was awful and was lazy about brushing them)

    The vet said that even if I HAD brushed them religiously his teeth still would have tartar because he has a long nose. He said that with dogs with long noses it is harder to keep their mouth clean because their mouths are more narrow. I thought it made sense!

    Thanks for this most informative and important post!

  8. Looks like someone was being tortured with a greenie!! <3

    Shared and tweeted...must help the four-leggers! <3

  9. Good advice! We try but it is popular. Your greyhounds are beautiful.

  10. Bunny you always make me smile. You are so pretty :)

    Emma Rose

    PS The Vet says our teeth are "nice".

  11. What wonderful advice! We do our best with dental care, we try to brush a few times a week!

  12. Bunny you have the prettiest eyes!

  13. This is a good reminder. I went through awhile where I was good at brushing, but sadly, now I'm not that good. It is something I wish I had started when I had first gotten the dogs. Love the bone on the head photo.

  14. When it comes to tooth problem... my rabbit is absolutely safe from that because they actually have a very strong teeth for chewing even our furniture. Good thing I have rabbit hutch to keep it.

  15. Thanks for letting me know about this campaign - I'm off to do some 'liking' 'tweeting' and blog writing!


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