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Dog food and feeding => General discussion => Topic started by: gillwright on Sep 16, 2014, 14:17

Title: Dental Plaque
Post by: gillwright on Sep 16, 2014, 14:17
Having recently changed from kibble to a combination of Natures Menu (Raw) and Lupo Natural Swiss Chicken (compressed) do I need to give my GSD and JR anything to clean plaque off teeth?  Natures Menu recommend raw bones for teeth cleaning, but I gave my GSD one of their ducks necks and it was gone in about 30 seconds (not much chewing went on!) .  The Lupo is not crispy like kibble so I guess it may not clean plaque (and there are many differing opinions of whether kibble actually cleans plaque or not).
Anyone have any thoughts?

PS they love both meals - can't get enough of it and I use the Lupo for training treats as well.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: David on Sep 16, 2014, 16:37
Hello again Gill (just replied to your introduction). I certainly find that raw bones are the best and most natural thing for clean teeth. For large dogs like Luca, you'll want something a bit more substantial like a knuckle bone fed in place of a meal once or twice a week. I've never seen any real evidence that normal kibble helps to keep teeth clean. There are some dry foods incorporating abrasives for that purpose but they tend to be quite controversial ingredients and not something I personally would recommend. There are also all sorts of other chews and supplements that are intended for plaque removal but as far as I'm concerned, raw bones are the way forward.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Sep 16, 2014, 17:32
Having only just started raw feeding I haven't moved on to bones yet. I do have some pieces of chicken ones in the freezer so am just waiting for the opportunity to try the girls with them.  I am a bit nervous though and will have to put the three of them in separate areas because I know from experience that things like this are very precious and can cause ructions. Anyway, I do clean their teeth but not as often as I should. Right now they are looking OK.  The product PetzLife gel does work but is expensive.  Also you do have to keep at it.  It might take a couple of weeks before the plaque starts to soften. If it is really bad then I suppose the best thing to do is to have a dental treatment at the vet because extractions might be necessary.  This then gives you a good start to keep the teeth clean.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Tinyplanets on Sep 16, 2014, 18:09
I have just started my terrier on natures menu. She has the country hunter cubes at the moment and I have been thinking about teeth as they contain fruit. She does eat a bone occasionally and can munch her way through a big one without too much trouble. I hope this will keep her teeth clean.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Sep 16, 2014, 20:07
I seem to remember that NM add green tea extract to their food and if James Wellbeloved are to be believed, it is supposed to be good for teeth.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Correna on Sep 18, 2014, 11:30
If you get a problem with plaque, plaque off seems to be recommended time and time again. I was talking to someone with a very old rottie at a dog show the other week, he was a rescue and his teeth were awful when he got him. He used plaque off, and said it took a few months to really start seeing results, but his teeth were lovely (I had a good look!).
My latest rescue, Dexter, has hideous teeth, I'm going to start him on plaque off soon, he really needs a dental at the vets but because he is a very fearful dog and has a needle phobia they don't want to stress him out that much for the time being. He would have to be heavily sedated before they could even get near him :(
I've got some raw duck necks ready for him, but as he is a resource guarder, it's going to need some serious management to let him and my other dog both have a bone without ructions!
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Sep 18, 2014, 12:19
I hear that bones are the thing for keeping teeth clean but I recall seeing the television programme on dog food that Channel 5 aired at the end of January 2014.  There was a dental specialist vet on it and he reckoned that he sees dirty mouths in dogs who have had bones.  His opinion was that the best way of keeping them clean is simply to brush daily with an appropriate toothpaste.  I can vouch for this - I have managed to clear tartar, and to keep them free of it by consistent brushing but the word 'consistent' is key.  I've also used PetzLife gel which works but only by using it regularly. It seems to soften the tartar so that it can easily be scraped off.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: chrishordley on Sep 23, 2014, 20:08
The whole RAW movement started as a reaction to the amount of poor dental health observed in dogs. The opposition of merit is the US vet PitcairnA whose book is brilliant and argument very sound. As a consequence I feed one RAW which might be chicken carcass and one meal commercial. I have five dogs and have fostered another 10 and my results are interesting. My 11 year old terrier has no raw bones and has pretty good teeth considering age and overshot jaw while my two year old jrt had plaque. My three year old lurcher cross had really bad tartar on one side . Other older jrt fine and a foster with uncleanedand teeth improved .My conclusion is that diet is very important but I am adding rawhide chews, chicken wings and brushing for Jim as his problem is teeth removed on lower jaw . The little jrt probably gulps down her feed. With a perfect set of teeth diet works but even RAW does not usualy include the fur and sinews of a whole prey animal.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Correna on Sep 24, 2014, 23:36
I agree with brushing, however...
Dexter with his manky teeth will not let me get a brush in there, although the day before yesterday I did discover that he is better with a proper dog toothbrush than a finger brush (the rubbery ones), he will now at least sort of chew on it once I can actually get it in the vague direction of his mouth, rather than up his nose or nearly taking an eye out (he is such a little sod!) but it's progress, which I need to encourage. I want to really get him used to the brush, as I have now started him on plaque off, so once the tartar starts to soften up a bit, I want to be able to brush it off, and keep him in a good routine. My other problem is that both of my dogs HATE the toothpaste. If you imagine the face a baby pulls when you give them a lemon to suck on; that's pretty much the face the dogs pull lol!  :o
I've got a sample of LOGIC gel to try, so will see if they find that any better, in the meantime I'll just keep on with a slightly dampened brush.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: chrishordley on Oct 17, 2014, 18:50
I am a little concerned that I noticed Jenna slightly tacky teeth when they were on cold pressed Markus Muller and now they are better on Ancestral Canine. Jim's are clear too. I did clean but not as often as suggested on the gel bottle and am giving them a hide chew so probably more down to my action. Could rice based feed be a little sticky? It certainly can be when you cook it.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Tinyplanets on Oct 17, 2014, 19:08
Possible. My terriers teeth weren't too bad on cold pressed food but I have to say, her breath is definitely better since changing to mainly raw. Again though she is a speed eater so food probably doesn't hang around long in the mouth.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: silverb19 on Oct 22, 2014, 09:37
My border collie cross has brown staining on her rear teeth both sides. I feed her on a good quality wet food and she has regular dental chews. I used to give her the odd knuckle bone but have been put off bones by my vet and various TV vet programs which show dogs needing to be operated on to remove sharp pieces of bone which have got stuck somewhere in their digestive system.  She's been on Plaque Off for about a month and although slightly better. It's still not completely gone. I've yet to try brushing, but can see it not going very well as she's a wuss with anything like that. I suppose the best rule is gradual introduction.  I'm quite taken by the design of the relatively new Pedigree DentaFlex sticks, although they are fairly expensive to give on a daily basis. My dog used to like rawhide chews as a pup, but won't touch them now.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Oct 22, 2014, 09:46
I was told by the vet that brushing is the best option and this was confirmed by the specialist vet in the Channel 5 programme on dog food that was aired at the end of January 2014.  Sometimes it's best to bite the bullet and have  dental treatment at the vets then you have a clean start for keeping them clean with brushing.   
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: JTunni on Nov 04, 2014, 20:56
Bryan my 12 year old has pretty bad stained teeth at the back.  we have used PetzLife gel and it did work pretty well on some of them.
my question is, what type of brush does everybody use. I have a soft rubber finger brush with lots of little soft bristles. I have tried the dog toothbrush before, but he just chewed that!  :)
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Nov 05, 2014, 07:04
I have used child toothbrushes in the past and they have been fine - cheaper than dog ones too.
Title: Help to Reduce Plaque & Tartar Build-up on Dog's Teeth
Post by: AlanF on Dec 19, 2014, 15:16

Not that our boy has a major problem here, he doesn't, but we do want to keep his teeth as clean as possible, try to reduce the possibility of tooth decay, and keep his breath sweet. So, I am looking for any pearls of wisdom that anyone might be able to offer. What I am really looking for are suggestions on what we can give a 6 year old Golden Retriever, to replace those Dentastix 'type' chews (not the actual Pedigree ones),  that my wife will insist on buying. I am not convinced that they do any good at all, as for one thing they are consumed before you can blink an eyelid, and on the other hand the ingredients don't fill me with any confidence.

Let me be a little specific! Our boy is rather manic when it comes to bones, hide chews and the like, and more often than not, because of the way he 'goes at it' will make his gums bleed. Such things will undoubtedly last longer, but I would prefer it if he didn't damage himself in the process.

I have given him Tripe Sticks in the past, which I presume may help with the problem. They are healthier in my view than some of the 'tat' that is marketed by some pet food companies, and those which can also be seen in popular supermarkets (I think that these may be also be made by the same pet food companies!

Regularity of use is also significant, as I am trying to get some weight off him. So I wouldn't want something that would potentially increase his weight.

Any suggestions?


Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Eden Holistic Pet Foods on Dec 20, 2014, 00:11
Bleeding when chewing bones could be a sign of gum disease. Bones are one of the best ways of keeping teeth clean. A rope ragger to be played with after meals can act like a toothbrush.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Ards Animal Health on Dec 23, 2014, 11:52
Hi Alan,

It is the shearing action of the raw bones that clean the teeth - kibble doesn't, despite what the manufacturers tell you.

Alternatives to bones and Dentastix -
Stag / Antler bars (real antlers ) - last longer than bones, don't have the mess but are much more expensive,
A dental mix supplement that can be sprinkled onto the food which contains natural ingredients that attack plaque and tartar,
Toothpaste specially formulated for dogs - don't use your own toothpaste, it may contain an ingredients such as Xylitol that is toxic to dogs.

Incidently, the ingredients in our dental mix also help at regulating metabolism and in weight loss.

Ards Animal Health
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Vet on Sep 28, 2015, 00:09
Sorry but just a few tips from vast and traumatising clinical experience...

Antlers are causing a massive increase in carnassial (the big tooth at the back of the top jaw) slab fractures....ouch!

Bones can get stuck in throats and oesophagi (food pipes) with fatal consequences. Yes they might be rare but when it is your patient that has died after hours of trying to dislodge with various contraptions, it becomes more significant and warrants me piping up on this forum.

Just think about brushing please.

Here's to happy healthy doggies

Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Ards Animal Health on Sep 28, 2015, 11:37
Hi Vet,

Thanks for posting the information on Antlers and for your valued opinion. We were aware of the problem of giving them to puppies (the supplier does mention they are not suitable for puppies) but not of the increase in carnassial caused by the antlers.

I've had a look at the emphatic research into the increase of carnassial (see news on antler dog chews an update after surge of fractured upper carnassial teeth) and we will be informing our customers of the risks.

From personal experience - up until last year our dogs never had antlers, only raw bones on occasions, and have always had good clean teeth. They are eight years old and never had their teeth cleaned. However, we do notice when we leave out the dental mix for a while, the plaque and tartar starts to appear so, straight back on the dental mix and the odd raw bone. We are aware of the risk of raw bones but believe giving the bone after a meal for 10-15 minutes (always supervised) helps with the digestion and their general well-being. There's plenty of literature out there for owners to decide (see Natures Menu's Vet video).

It seems there must be others posting about the dangers of antlers and other hard chews because the sale of our dental mix has noticably increased over the weekend; we did wonder why.

In addition to the toothpaste option, there is also another product out there for dental hygene, Fragaria, but it's controversial because it's homeopathic - just thought I'd throw that bone in!

Victoria EA-SQP.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Sep 28, 2015, 12:53
I agree about the brushing - it does work when done regularly.  I hear what people say about bones and oral health; if they want to give them then that's up to them but I will not give bones (or antlers) to my dogs - I simply do not wish to take the risk.  Life is too complicated as it is without adding that into the mix.  My lot have sea jerky every day and they also have Nylabones available.  In all the years they have used these products I have never had any problems. I do clean their teeth using Virbac but like many people, I probably need to step up the frequency sometimes.  I've also used PetzLife Gel but that again needs to be used very regularly.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Seaweed on Sep 29, 2015, 09:57
There is certainly growing concern as regards broken teeth when using products such as Antlers. I should imagine

Dental surgery to save a tooth is an expensive procedure. Not forgetting the traveling there and back from a

specialist Dental vet.

We have used Plaque Off and DentiQ Juicy Apple Ultra Persistent Periodontal Gel for sometime on our dogs. It's a

combination that seems to work very well indeed. Our Vet is really hot on teeth and is always pleased to see clean

teeth. DentiQ is a non toxic Gel and is effective without brushing although brushing would help even more and is

available from Amazon UK. DentiQ have a very good website and I have always found their customer service

excellent. DentiQ (Ward Biotech) are an Irish company. Plaque Off is widely available and is

well reviewed on many sites including Amazon. If a dog has a Thyroid problem then it is recommended to speak

to your vet first before using Plaque Off due to it's iodine content.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Ards Animal Health on Sep 29, 2015, 10:46
Yes, if animal is on thyroid hormone, check with vet if giving seaweed or other food supplements (not just those containing iodine).

Beware of some products you put into the drinking water - some contain Xylitol toxic to dogs and the research they are using to prove it is safe, in my opinion, is flawed.

The following research it seems is used by Virbac (American equivalent product called Breathalyser). The trial period was very short at only 14 days with a small sample size of 15 crossbred dogs (note no pure-breds) weighing over 15kg (note not toy or small breeds) and monitored the affects on liver and blood glucose levels but not on the gastrointestinal tract. My concern with these products, therefore, is on it's use for small and toy breeds and some pure breeds administered over a long period of time.

I sent the research papers and other findings to our local vet when I became concerned over the eating habits of a miniature daschund belonging to a customer of mine. The only thing different with the dog was he had started taking virbac in his drinking water. The vet was concerned enough to stop supplying it to his customers.

The label on these products always state the exact ratio of liquid to drinking water, and never to go over it but, how many people bother being that accurate when it's not obvious to them the importance of not to go over?
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Sep 29, 2015, 12:21
Re: Virbac
Are you referring to one of the products on this page (  The only Virbac product that I use is the enzymatic, poultry flavour toothpaste.  The dogs like the taste but I only use a small amount on the brush and sometimes just apply it very thinly straight to the teeth using my finger.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Ards Animal Health on Sep 29, 2015, 12:28
Hi Dottie,

I was referring to Virbac Vet Aquadent that is one of the products that appears on the page link you posted. I haven't looked into the ingredients of their other products, it was just Aquadent I was investigating for a customer.

Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Apr 17, 2017, 08:05
It's been a while since we talked about dental health so I am bringing this back up the list.  I had a bit of a lapse in cleaning teeth earlier this year so although they were not too bad, there was a small amount of plaque at the gum edge and some tartar on their back teeth.  I am now brushing daily and after two or three weeks it is paying dividends. Still one or two small patches of tartar at the back but that is all.  Their breath is fresh.  Currently I am using Beaphar toothpaste although I have just finished a tube of Arm & Hammer and that seemed to be useful. They still have PetzLife Gel rubbed around the teeth and gums every day.  Am also using Plaque Off. I sent for a Lintbell's YuCare tooth cleaner recently but have not fully assessed it.

I know that some people feel that they cannot brush their dog's teeth because it will not let them.  I can only say that this really is a training issue. There is plenty of information on the Internet about how to do this. It takes time and patience to get the dog used to having it's mouth handled but it is worth it in the long run - luckily, my dogs have never needed a dental treatment by the vet.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Apr 17, 2017, 13:40
Agree about the cost - sometimes I think it would cheaper to book them in at the vets for a dental treatment.  I hadn't heard of Bogadent so checked up and their website is here. (   Tropiclean products are here ( and PetzLife is here. (  As you say, dental care in dogs, particularly those who are on dry food has to be a regular thing - there is no quick fix AFAIK.   Some people think that kibble cleans teeth but I don't think that really is the case. Also, some say that wet food is supposed to contribute to plaque and tartar but I would have thought not because a number of the better quality ones are low in carbohydrate. I like to see nice clean teeth and fresh breath too - makes the effort worthwhile.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Dec 28, 2018, 13:54
Some useful links here:
Your Pet’s Bad Breath is no Laughing Matter. (
Dog Breath is no Laughing Matter (includes video on brushing teeth). (

Nick Thompson discussing dental hygiene in relation to kibble. ( Jump to 27 minutes for the discussion. He dispels the myth that kibble is necessary for cleaning teeth.

Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Seaweed on Dec 28, 2018, 14:55
Thank you for posting Dottie and it's a timely reminder to take the health of our dogs teeth seriously. Kibble in my opinion is no friend to a dogs teeth, certainly raw feeding goes along way in keeping a dogs teeth clean but even so I do believe you need to brush them also. I have tried many dog toothpastes over the years and have now gone back to Dorwest Herbs Roast Dinner Toothpaste (with a baby toothbrush) which I used in the eighties, this seems an improved product from those days. I've been very impressed. It's basically sage oil with a gritty texture and it goes along way and at a good price against some of the other products.
I started using this again on a toy breed dog with beautiful white teeth and they have remained so, he's on a complete raw diet, it would be good to hear from other users of their experience.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Dec 28, 2018, 15:15
I’m using that product at the moment and also daily Plaque Off. I don’t feed raw or give bones but their teeth are in good condition. Small dogs are particularly prone to periodontal disease so need extra care.

In the aforementioned video Nick Thompson mentions Plaque Off as being useful in the prevention of periodontal disease and also a product by Irish vet Connor Brady. I think it is probably
Canident. ( The discussion is at the end of the video in the question and answer section.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Tinyplanets on Dec 28, 2018, 18:19
We just use the beaphar toothpaste ( a tiny amount) with a finger brush. She isn't very cooperative so we do as much as we can.  She does have some treats that aren't raw but I try to keep them healthy. I have noticed a little tartar now but the vet wasn't concerned. She is 9 or possibly older now so I would expect some build up. She has a good gnaw on a nylabone at least once a day.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Feb 10, 2019, 12:57
February is Pet Dental Health Month. ( This serves as a good reminder to check your dog’s teeth and gums regularly and to get them used to having their teeth brushed. Your vet might be running special clinics etc for Pet Dental Health Month so if interested, ask for advice at the surgery.

I can vouch for the effectiveness of regular brushing using a doggie toothpaste. My two have clean teeth and gums and the nine year old has never had a veterinary dental treatment in her life. They had a bit of plaque on their molars but I have nearly got that off using a dental scraper very gently.

My two haven’t had kibble for some years, don’t eat biscuits except for one at bedtime, don’t have bones, chicken pieces or dental chews so I know that their dental state is entirely down to use of the good old fashioned toothbrush and regular care. They have Plaque Off every day on their dinner, I brush using a doggie toothpaste and then apply PetzLife salmon flavour gel to soften any tartar that might be lurking. Any stubborn bits of tartar can then be gently removed with a dental scraper. Down side is that it takes commitment but is well worth the effort when you see a clean, fresh mouth.

If anyone is inspired by Pet Dental Health Month to start cleaning their dog’s teeth there is plenty of advice online. However, I am not sure that quick fix treatments such as dental diets, chews, biscuits etc are of any use. If it was as easy as that there would not be so much peridontal disease in the canine population.

If you do start to brush and your dog has tartar it might take a while to remove so don’t be disheartened if it fails to shift immediately. Be patient. The doggie toothpaste will soften it eventually and sometimes it can then be flicked off with your finger nail. If the tartar is quite heavy then it might need removal by a vet. After a dental treatment is a good time to start regular brushing as it should prevent build up.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Rebecca Forrest on Feb 10, 2019, 15:19
Good advice Dottie,  ,
 :) I do brush teeth when I remember but must be better organised in future.
Our Vet sells dental sticks and I looked at the ingredients and it contained sugar. a bit strange, not sure if they really work. a good money maker though.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: COASTER on Feb 12, 2019, 20:56
The ingredients pedigree dentastix did concern me but they have good abrasive action.....I wish I coukd find something similar texture but different ingredients
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Dottie on Feb 13, 2019, 09:33
The ingredient list of Dentastix is here. ( According to the literature it is ‘.....the sole chew available that has been scientifically proven to combat tartar’. I can’t see a reference to the evidence for that claim but maybe it exists somewhere.

Pooch and Mutt on Dentastix -
link. ( P&M chews. (
Woof Works ( This company also sell chews.

I gave Dentastix to my dogs many years ago and it caused diarrhoea. I know of other people who have reported the same thing in their dog. Personally, I would rather brush teeth than give the dogs this product. It’s effective, cheap and they are not ingesting dubious ingredients.
Title: Re: Dental Plaque
Post by: Seaweed on Feb 13, 2019, 14:51
Lily's Kitchen brought out their Woofbrush Dental Chews a few months ago.
I give unfilled cow hooves, always under supervision though. I would rather brush their teeth than use a processed chew/treat.