6 year old Shih Tzu with tartar build up, mild gingivitis


I adopted a Shih Tzu awhile back, the last owner gave me vet paperwork that she had some mild gingivitis and some plaque build up.

She turns her nose to the bones that we give to the other dog. What can I say, she's spoiled. I've found one bone treat that she actually chews on, but she chews so hard it makes her gums bleed. She also has skin sensitivity, so I've changed her food to avoid certain ingrediants...ones that, of course, are in that one bone she'll actually chew on. I can't get her to let me clean her teeth myself, although I keep trying, hoping she'll get used to it over time.

Is there anything safe for such a focused chewer like her, with skin sensitivity/allergies, that might actually clean her teeth?

I have yet to find a vet I'm comfortable with having them do procedures where I leave her there. I keep looking in my area but until I find one, I need a something that might help.

Thanks :)

Asked by Luci on Jul 6th 2011 in Dental Care
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I would definatly check out petsmart, there's treats that clean the teeth and make their breath smell better, they're made of hard rubber, if not, maybe try some soft toys too, they don't help her gums or breath but they are easier on the gums. DEFINATLY check out petsmart I remember seeing something like that there.

I also read that Milk Bones help dog's teeth.

Good Luck!! :)

Gia answered on 7/6/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Bruno CGC

Crunchy treats like Milk Bones do NOT clean the teeth- does eating a granola bar clean YOUR teeth? No. They just munch it a couple times and swallow, it barely even makes contact.
Have you tried a raw meaty bone? Dogs LOVE them, and if it's big enough, they'll spend hours chewing it, which is what you want for maximum tooth-cleaning. Beef ribs, lamb shanks, pork feet, it's all good. Just nothing cooked or seasoned, and not so small she can swallow it whole.

The bleeding gums is almost certainly due to the tartar and gingivitis, by the way. It makes the gums very sensitive and likely to bleed. I would REALLY look into getting her teeth scaled under sedation, it's the only way to remove the tartar that is below the gum line and irritating the gums so bad. Don't keep putting off the full cleaning. AFTER that, you can maintain oral health with chew bones.

Bruno CGC answered on 7/6/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Bruno is correct...once gingivitis has begun and there is tartar buildup under the gums (the definition of gingivitis), then NOTHING your dog chews is going to make it go away.
A tooth cleaning under anesthesia is the only way to remove this buildup under the gumline... until that is done bacteria will continue to multiply and eventually cause general sickness, usually affecting the heart and/or the kidneys first.
AFTER a veterinary cleaning, then use raw, meaty bones or other safe chews to keep the tartar from reforming.
Any product with carbohydrates (biscuits, etc., )is not going to clean the teeth, instead it will convert to sugars and creat MORE tartar buildup.
My dogs all LOVE nylabones but even chewing those all day long are not enough to prevent tartar. Brushing and raw meaty bones will work the best.

Member 641257 answered on 7/7/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


My older puppers get a smidge of Petslife.
Petslife is a gel or spray made from grapefruit juice. We saw improvement in just a few days. Just apply at night before going to bed so the gel has all night to work. We first used it every night, then as the plaque disappeared, we didn't need to use it as frequently. Now its just once a week. Both dogs have clean teeth, fresh breath. Jose heart murmer is better too.
Good luck.

Member 1040004 answered on 7/7/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Hi There,
A lot of great helpfull answers you recieved.
My sisters shihtzu had the same problem and she couldn't brush her dogs teeth for a while, she finally after about 3 weeks of making a game of it was able to brush her teeth, that wasn't enough. She needed to have her dog sedated and a good cleaning,'NOT BY A TECH" but by a DVM with expirence. As for the bones, they may actually makes things worse, even milk bones have been known to crack a dogs teeth so imagine larger stronger bones. My dogs bone cracked two of his teeth and my smaller yorki has 1 cracked tooth as a direct result of chewing bones. There is a gel you may try until you see a DVM you're comfortbale with. However be very careful with the doggy mouth washes and rinses many of them have XYLOTOL which is a sugar substitute that is toxic to dogs, it's only a small amount but anything that contains something toxic should never be used, there are reports that dogs and cats have had liver failure and death due to it.

Member 1069277 answered on 11/15/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer