It was time for his annual exam. He had an appointment with Dr.Lea Stogdale from Aesop’s Veterinary. She had not examined Wheaton before as her colleague Dr. Hill did Wheatie’s examination last year. Dr. Stogdale is Daisy’s vet so I wanted them to see the same doc.
I knew there were going to be a couple issues….mainly his teeth and his breath. Good gravy the teeth he has left are in horrible condition….and that explains the disgusting smell coming from his mouth. I mean I know “dog breath” isn’t the best smell on earth but this…this is bad times a thousand. This will make you gag. He can clear a 25 foot radius with one yawn.
Poor guy. It’s not his fault! He had 29 teeth pulled at the time of his rescue…those were the loose, rotten ones. I have tried to get him chewing but he just eats and swallows with minimum chew time. I tried brushing but that is a gong show. Try holding a dog that doesn’t like being held, then with your other hand….open his mouth….and then get the toothbrush in there. Remember…you only have two hands! Enough said.
What little I have been doing is not making a dent in the problem.
I was worried this mouth/tooth problem was going to lead to extraction. In other words….veterinary dental…might as well take out a loan for that kind of bill. I know my vet doesn’t recommend any kind of surgery unless it’s the last possible scenario…every time an animal (or person) goes under anesthetic there’s a risk…never mind when the creature in question is under 10 pounds. But still I couldn’t get in there enough to see how bad the teeth were…I managed to get a look at the side molars that he has left and they are caked with tartar…but I couldn’t tell if they were loose/rotten.
My other concern was his weight, as expressed previously in the “chunky monkey” post, he has gained some weight. Of course, going by his previous life isn’t really an accurate starting point for a healthy condition. In the last year, his girth has increased…as his first harness is almost too tight to close! He doesn’t seem fat…if you run your hands down his sides he is still within the healthy parameters. Rib cage definition and no belly. I was concerned because he eats like he’s still a starving dog in a puppy mill who doesn’t know when his next meal is coming, even after a year of 3 square, healthy meals a day , plus all the high quality treats a dog could want!
The vet examined him and she said yes…the teeth are horrible! But none are loose or rotten…it’s all just tartar build up. But still impossible to get in there so we have been placed on a strict chewing regiment; 15 minutes a day, before eating supper (so that he comes to the chewing practice hungry) we sit and I have to hold the chew object which forces him to chew on the sides instead of just gumming it and swallowing the object! It was recommended that we use “bully sticks”…the appetizing dried bull penis sticks. I’m not grossed out by these things…whatever…it is what it is and it is a wonderful chewing tool. This will be our practice for 3 months. We are hoping that this scrapes off some tartar and improves his breath. Who would have thought chewing on a nasty dried bull penis would improve your breath! Well, not YOUR breath….hahaha…but for a dog I guess it is an improvement! I will be sure to report back…so far he’s liking the practice but he keeps trying to just eat it! He looks at me, chews, then pulls on it to try and take it…but I hold tight so he looks at me again as if to say, “ok, gimme”.
Then the vet weighed him. He’s about a pound more than he was when I got him but still under 10 pounds. She said, and I quote, “He’s a solid little fellow.” She said that even though size wise he’s still a little dog, she would consider him equivalent to a medium sized dog by his strength & solid muscle mass.
My boy, he’s a strong boy!! “Hercules! Hercules!”
And Wheatie…standing there on the exam table, strange vet poking him, prodding him, opening his mouth, listening to his breathing & heart rate and touching him…he did so well! He certainly didn’t like the poking around in his mouth but he behaved really well. Daisy, watching from the chair, I swear I could hear on some dog language level the words “nahnah-nah” were communicated.
So, after the appointment we went to see our favourite pet store peeps and bought a good supply of bullies and other chews.
The other recommended favourite is the Whimzees – Alligator & Hedgehog preferred!
Another popular chewie is the Natural Balance line of Dental Chews – assorted flavours, even a vegan one! They have a good stock of these at home already.
There is also the raw bone option, and I have a couple in the freezer. These are good for the front teeth but you have to monitor these for sure and take them away before they thaw. As with food and treats my motto for my dogs is variety. Mix it up. New flavours and tastes are fun! It keeps them interested in the activity. We even tried real rabbit’s feet, fur and everything! The dogs LOVE these!!! It brings out the wolf instincts in them! Things not recommended…rawhide, plastics and NEVER cooked bones.
Common myth…hard/kibble food will clean your dog’s teeth…this is false. Not gonna happen. The other one is that adding a drop of dental cleanser/additive to your dog’s water will wash the tartar off their teeth…this too is false. Really, if it was that easy, we’d be adding it to our own drinking water so we’d never have to go to the dentist! Sign me UP!!
If you’re lucky and your dog opens their mouth wide and sits still for you to brush every tooth front and back…kudos to you! But for 99.99% of us our dogs are not letting us get a toothbrush in there to do that great of a job so chewing something is the best way to help them. Dental health is important…the alternative is not only expensive vet bill wise, but can lead to so many health problems!
Not to mention very foul smelling dog kisses!!