Friday, September 20, 2013

Pet Parent Challenge: Fighting Rusty's Tartar Build up

Last weekend, when I was hanging out playing cards with my friends April and Jim, April looked at Rusty's teeth and as tactfully as possible told me they were getting a bit brown. Her sister's dog had some dental issues that deteriorated into a full blown problem and the dog is now walking around with some serious smelly breath. She gave some good advice. however, as she mentioned the potential expense neglecting Rusty's dental health could come my way, I decided to take action.

As, I am working a budget right now, my main focus is to see what at home steps I can take to get Rusty's teeth glistening white and healthy. Visiting the vet is the last step in this process until I exhaust all other options.  Still in my newbie stage as a pet parent, I am not willing to risk getting sucked into unnecessary treatment by a vet that could be handled beforehand naturally. Worse case scenario, there is an animal clinic a few blocks away but we went there only once for his shots last year.. I wouldn't say I have developed a relationship with the vets there but they seem caring.

In the meantime, my internet research has begun. April recommended dental sticks for Rusty called "Twisters" that are available at Petco. Of  course I dragged my butt over to my nearby Petco and they were not in stock at the moment.  I settled for two packs of Dingo's dental sticks which, as we speak Rusty is munching on at my feet.

Am I the only one overwhelmed by the numerous and costly array of pet products? I have an education ahead of me trying to learn what is best for Rusty. Simply feeding a quality dog food and a few good walks are far from enough in the grander scheme of things. It is not my personality to waste time buying on a salesperson's say so without knowing if they are right. In the mean time, I picked up a few simple rawhide bones and the dental sticks to get us started on our dental hygiene adventure!.

I learned that raw carrots are good for dogs and aid in tartar removal. So, I have begun adding to his Nutro Ultra dog kibble one raw carrot (chopped) a bit of lettuce, half an apple and a drizzle of coconut. The carrots,lettuce and apple provide more vitamin nutrition and help with scrubbing the teeth, while the virgin coconut oil help kill harmful bacteria in his mouth, strengthen his immune system and add shine to his coat.

I may be seeing things but I think I am seeing some improvement; small improvement but improvement nonetheless.

My next step, aside from monitoring progress, is to research brushing his teeth with a doggie brush and doggie toothpaste. This will be a major undertaking. It took us more than a year to get him "okay" with getting a bath. The tooth-brushing has the added burden of me getting over my fear of him continually biting me as I work on his teeth.  Yikes! I may start out with the groomers doing the heavy lifting on the "teeth cleaning until I get use to the concept. I can honestly say I never ever envisioned brushing a dog's teeth as something I would be learning to do in this lifetime. 

 I can't get that commercial out of my head about doggie dentures. Ha! That is not in Rusty's future if I can help it.


  1. Hiya, I remember that my auntie used to have a dog, a basset and he did have some serious smelly breath too! Your post is really useful as I am looking for a dog now so anything to do with dog food is interesting. Have a v.g. day.

    1. Thanks, Dominique! Good luck with your search. A friend gave me advice and said the dog that is right for you will choose you and you will know. I know that may not make sense but when I went to the animal rescue shelter I looked at a lot of dog's but there was a moment of connection with Rusty that made him the only dog I could have chosen. :) Have a great day!