homecooking and teeth health

This is the place to share your best homemade dog food and treat recipes with each other! Remember to use caution if your pet has allergies and to make any diet changes gradually so that your dog's stomach can adjust to the new foods you are introducing.

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Barked: Tue Apr 10, '12 11:50am PST 
Just came back from our vet and I mentioned to him that I was going to begin homecooking for our Miniature Schnauzer. I said fine. His only concern was Spiffy's teeth. She is approx 8 yrs and has never had to have a dental. Although, he said it was getting close to that time that to consider one. A relative's dog died during a dental, and my husband and I are very hesitant to consider one for our dog. As a matter of fact. DH is very adamantly against it.

That said, we had to stop Spiffy from any bone chewing a few years ago. She goes at any type of natural bone like a true crazed animal and chipped a tooth. I took our former vet a video of the chewing and he "thought it better to stop giving her bones".. She won't give a minute's time to any unnatural bone or toy.

So, vet says that if I give up the kibble, it could end up affecting her teeth. I admit, I did not brush as often as I should have during her earlier years with us. But, now do so each day. And, vet did give me a bacterial rinse to use.

Do any on you homecookers notice more teeth problems?

Thanks Liz

My toys, All- Mine!
Barked: Tue Apr 10, '12 2:37pm PST 
Sassy's home cooked chicken and rice food kept her teeth cleaner than her chicken and rice kibble did. Not sure why. I was able to give her raw then cooked beef ribs to help scrub the teeth until her last week though.

You can always cook up the food, mix with some egg and bake it for food loaf and it would be even less sticky.

If you use Lew Olson's low glycemic diet of mostly meat/fish/organ/egg/dairy and a little non starchy veggies then it would be much less sticky and even easier on the teeth.

Edited by author Tue Apr 10, '12 2:37pm PST


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Barked: Wed Apr 11, '12 6:33am PST 
Thabks I'll take a look at the Lew Olson info.

I apologize for this question but, as I'm rather new to this, I am confused.
I know I don't want much starch in her diet. But, I was thinking in Spiffy's case I'd want to incorporate some foods that would be rougher in texture since the former kibble product was acting as a "brush".


I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Wed Apr 11, '12 12:01pm PST 
If your dog has good dental health eating kibble then it is likely he just has good genes. Kibble doesn't do much to scrape teeth and the remnants collect along the gum line and plaque develops.

The thinking is the starch clings to the teeth and gums and provides a place for plaque bacteria to grow. Meaty stuff doesn't cling and doesn't provide as good a substrate for the bacteria either.

Some dogsters find that raw pig feet are a tough enough chew to satisfy frantic bone eaters. The skin is nearly impossible to get through for Max and he won't even try these days. Not sure you would want to try as the small wrist bones could be a choking problem. Or you could simply overwhelm him by offering something huge. My favorite grocery store gorge meal for Max is a whole rack of beef ribs left together. He is stuffed by the time the ribs have been separated and the meat eaten so leaves the bones alone. The connective tissue seems to act like floss and does a good job cleaning the teeth. Any of these is a substitute for a meal, not something to keep the dog busy and satisfy chewing urges.

Have you tried cow ears? Huge, not fatty and impossible to gulp down. Pig ears took my dogs 5 minutes, cow ears take more like 20 minutes. Bully sticks? The dogs love them but I have to remove the last couple inches before the dog tries to swallow it whole. I dried ostrich tendons, big hit but again I have to take away the last bit and they cost the earth ready made.

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Barked: Wed Apr 11, '12 2:29pm PST 
Live and learn. I never considered a raw bone because I'm not feeding raw. But, once or twice a week in place of a meal I might just think of some meat rib, etc.
Cow ears we've tried. This little 17# dog devoured one in about 10 minutes. And, I ended up worrying for 24 hrs in case it might cause intestinal problems.
Bully stick I just might try.

Thanks for the info

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Wed Jul 18, '12 6:06am PST 
If you can give your dog a raw meaty bone once a week or even every other week, that helps scrape teeth and provides some nutritional benefits like calcium, and ofcourse an extra boost of protein depending on how much meat is on there. If it's a good sized one you can even substitute it for one meal. I homecook, feed some kibble and try to give RMBs regularly.

I have a really agressive chewer and she loves naturally shed deer and elk antlers. Dogs have to scrape them, they don't break...at least it's very rare for the purchased ones. They do provide some trace minerals to the diet. Lucille works on an antler for at least an hour a day (broken up in 15 mins or so during her downtime) she's now 3 and we've never had a problem. A good antler can last her for a few months, so to me they're worth the purchase. Her teeth are sparkly and my vet compliments us on them every time he sees her.
Bella Dog - the Bog

Barked: Wed Jul 18, '12 6:27am PST 
Have you tried a large compressed rawhide? Compressed rawhides are totally different from regular rawhides, the dog has to really chew on them because they don't break off like normal rawhides (they are thin layers compressed together, really hard). We can give them to all of our big dogs with no problem, but we have to take them away from our overgrown pittie when they get down to the end, he will try to swallow the end whole. These do a great job of cleaning our dogs teeth and freshening breath, plus provide mental stimulation. Also, SuperTargets carry large packs for $9, a real steal. It's the only bone I could recommend to people when I worked at the vet's office and they HAD to have a chewing option. Obviously, every dog is different and ALL should be watched carefully when they have a bone. We did routine dental cleanings all of the time, and they aren't very dangerous, but it seems like once you start them, the dog needs them again and again and again, which sucks!!
It sounds like your dog also has a terrier-like obsession when faced with a bone! Maybe work on leave-it with treats to dial down that obsessive behavior, too smile Pup can ONLY have bone when calm and submissive wink
I did also meet a dedicated lady who adopted a puppy mill breeder dog from a rescue in TERRIBLE shape. He had multiple issues, blindness, arthritis, and his teeth were CAKED in nastiness the worst I have even seen - they were BLACK. We told her that it was a risk but the little guy would HAVE to have a dental on his bacterial-riddled mouth. She agreed. He went home to build his strength/weight up, and new owner faithfully cleaned his teeth every night with doggy toothpaste and a nubbly washcloth over her finger. When the pup came in for boosters, his teeth were almost perfectly clean! Two months of regular good scrubbing and they were perfect! He never needed the dental! So, it can be done. Like you, I'm not a fan of sedation, if it is avoidable. My own lab's heart rate got REALLY low during sedation (38 bpm - she was very relaxed that day to begin with) and it was REALLY scary. Not doing it again. Period. Even if it is a very safe procedure.

I luvs slippers
Barked: Sun Jul 22, '12 10:20am PST 
Another thing that dogs LOVE and is good for cleaning off the fronts and canines is half a whole coconut. My dogs give it 100% attention and nothing distracts them from it, they totally love them.
The coconut is very fibrous and acts like floss. For the back teeth, a raw meaty bone as suggested works the best for our guys.

When they clean it out or if they try to chew the husk, time to take it away. Though some dogs love to play with them and don't really try to eat the shell.

Also I would only let them have them for 15 minutes at a time at first to be safe and not cause any digestive upset until you know they can handle it.

But............the coconut meat is really good for them and their mouth health.

I'll have to take a photo of one after Bandit has had it for a while. All these little lines around the coconut meat where he scrapes at it to get it out of the shell. Kenya is much more aggressive and got about two thirds of the meat out of hers in the same amount of time, though.

It\'s Tough- Being A Spoiled- Puppy!
Barked: Tue Jul 24, '12 7:43am PST 
Hi! wave

I've been homecooking for my Shih Tzu for 8 years now (she is 10 yo now smile ).

Our routine:
To keep her teeth clean, I have always brushed them -- ever since she was a puppy. The dentist is amazed at how good her teeth and gums look at each visit, and she's never had to have them cleaned at the dentist's. Just make sure to use a doggie toothpaste (never use the people type). I usually brush her teeth daily, but sometimes I have gone every other day. I use a cool toothbrush made for dogs, that has 3 sides (2 side brushes, and 1 top brush) -- I love this toothbrush! I believe it's made by TriplePet?

I used to give her raw hides to chew on (while supervised), but I read that many raw hides contain toxic chemicals, so for the past few years I only give her an occasional raw carrot stick or celery stick to chew on. Works great to help massage her gums. way to go I only give her these about once per week.

Tartar Tip:
Because Tzus have such little mouths (and the triple head toothbrush is fairly large), it's sometimes a bit hard to get waaaaaay back to the furthest tiny molars in her mouth. To reach those teeth, I will sometimes use a "children size toothbrush". If I see any type of yellowing back there (indicating the beginning of tartar buildup), I use a homeopathic remedy called "Fragaria Vesca -- 3X". It comes in pellet form. I let 3 pellets dissolve in 1/4 cup of bottled water, and I then use that water to brush over her already brushed teeth. After a few days, the buildup just flakes off. It's amazing. way to go I was told about this by several
Shih Tzu show dog people years ago who swore by it. I needed to use it a few years back after a back injury left me bed bound for several weeks. Hubby does well with brushing our furbaby, but teethbrushing? Not so much... but he tried! hailhailhail The Fragaria Vesca worked like a charm. Just know that the FV is not a substitute for regular brushing with toothpaste. We purchased FV from elixirs.com. They have instructions on how to use this for dogs.

hth! wave

Member Since
Barked: Tue Jul 24, '12 8:13am PST 
Thanks for the recent posts.

As an update, I am now homecooking and giving her a little kibble as an aside each day. I have tried all the various methods everyone here recommended regarding chews. I thought that the beef ribs were the ticket until she chipped a tooth. She began to devour the pigs ears in a few seconds so I had to take those away. I do, from time to time use BullySticks and deer antlers now.

So, thanks for the recent posts of more good tips.. I will give a look at the compressed rawhides.

And, the coconuts have me very curious. I'll pick one up a WholeFoods tomorrow.

Her teeth do get brushed (admittedly, most, but not every day). And, I am about to Google the tartar Fragaria Vesca recommendation.
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