An alternative to brushing your dog's teeth?

Dr. Patrick Mahaney

Last year, we challenged Embraced pet parent Arthur to start brushing his dog Pancho's teeth and he promised us a video. Fast forward to this year and here's what Arthur wrote to me: 

Clean Teeth 2-22-2013 01Last year around this time, you challenged me to demonstrate, on film, how to brush Pancho’s teeth. After a couple of hours of setting up and shooting, my cameraman lost interest, Pancho became uncomfortable and his teeth were not getting any cleaner. 

Knowing that there had to be a better way, I started doing some research. Wild animals don’t wake up in the morning and brush their teeth, nor do they brush before bedtime. What they do is eat raw meat and chew on raw bones. Their teeth stay white and clean. 

So, Pancho and I switched to a highly rated commercially available frozen raw food diet. That was in June of 2012. Today, Pancho’s teeth are as clean as they were after an expensive professional cleaning at the vet’s office. I do not believe that Pancho will have to endure the anesthesia and trauma of going to the dentist again. 

The pictures are pretty compelling don't you think? I did ask

It is great to see that Arthur is able to keep the teeth that we can see in the photo as clean as they appear. Yet, we are not currently looking at all the teeth and the upper teeth in the back of the mouth are often dirtier (more caked with tartar and calculus) than those in the front. So, even if teeth visibly look clean, there could be some degree of periodontal disease (abnormalities affecting the teeth and their associated structures, such as the gums and periodontal ligament) that may not be visible to the naked eye.

There are plenty of dogs that are able to keep their own mouth relatively clean as a result of their genetics, diet, chewing tendencies, and the efforts put forth by the owner to provide regular home dental care. It is still within the best interest of Poncho's health that he has an examination by a veterinarian and Arthur works with the veterinarian (or veterinary dental specialist) to create a dental health and wellness plan that can be consistently carried out throughout Pancho's lifetime.

Wise words indeed. As per Dr Riggs, a dental x-ray every now and then would also be a good thing to identify issues occurring below the gum-line.

Nice work so far Arthur!

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