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Brown Stuff on her back teeth
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Brown Stuff on her back teeth

Just before my dog turned one (3yrs now), she started getting brown on her back teeth. I began to try to treat it at that time. Since then I have used the following without little or no results:

Aromadog- Bluto's Yummie gum brush 2-3/wk
Petrodex - enzymatic toothpaste 2-3/wk
Authur's smile bright dental wipes a few times
Pet dental - liquid tartar remover for dogs - in her drinking water for move than one year
Ora-Vet once a week

Her dog food has been Science Diet and in the past year Merrick's Grammy's Chicken pot pie/Science Diet.
The only people food she has ever be given is very occassionally cheese, popcorn, or carrots.
For snacks, we give her Merrick's, or other crunchy types. We also give her softer treated (like fake little steaks or sausages) that we stuff in a hollowed out bone for her to work on all day.
For toys and Chewies: she has fleece pull toys, kong runner ones that you have to work to get treats to fall out of, a few stuffed animals and tennis balls.
She used to chew rawhide, pigs ears, nylon bone but she seems to have lost interest in them a longtime ago.
She hates the minty flavored dog buscuits like the ones from "by nature".

The brown on her back teeth has become awful. It is thick and I can't even scrap it off. I have to admit that I tried to scrap it off with a dental instrument just to see if it would come off... nothing at all. She has had her teeth brushed so much that she lets me do anything to her month now. Sometimes her breath smells fishy. Not horrible but still a little fishy.

I investgated getting her teeth professional cleaned and was told the bill could run between $550- 900 depending on the severity of the damage. To be honest, there is no way I could possibly afford that. I even contacted all the local animal shelters but there doesn't seem to be any less expensive alternatives.

She doesn't seem to have any oral sensitivity.
Any suggestion you could provide would be so appreciated. -Dawn

Type of Animal
Age of Animal
Sex of Animal
Breed of Animal
Wheaten Terrier
Last date your pet was examined by a vet?
December 29, 2008
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As you will see below, Dr. Humphries has given some excellent information and I just wanted to add a little bit to it.

Its great that she lets you brush her teeth because that really is the gold standard for slowing down and even preventing the build up of plaque and tartar.  The OraVet will also be very helpful, but as Dr.Jim mentions below, it won't do any good until the current tartar buildup is removed professionally.  After her cleaning, if you can brush her teeth once daily and use the OraVet once weekly, it will go a long way to extending the time when she needs another dental cleaning.

As far as the costs of dentals, make sure when you call around that you compare apples to apples.   Many veterinarians are now routinely offering dental xrays with their prophylactic dental cleanings.  That, of course, will add to the cost.  Xrays are important because studies have shown that 28% of dogs with teeth that "look fine" on visual examination actually have dental disease under the gumline where we can't see.

In addition to Dr. Jim's thoughts on Care Credit and Chase Health Advantage, you might ask your veterinarian if they have any "specials" during Pet Dental Health Month in February.  Many offices offer a reduced rate during February to bring attention to the importance of our pet's oral health.  Obviously, the sooner her teeth are cleaned the better, but we all understand the importance of finances as well.

Good luck with your Wheaton and keep us posted on how she is doing.  Thanks for being such a well-informed pet owner and for being an advocate for her health.
That is Tartar and needs to be removed with a dental prophy - no way around it.  I would call around to see if you can find other clinics that can do the procedure for less.  There are also various ways to pay for vet bills.  Care Credit and Chase Health Advantage are two.  

You have done a great deal of research and understanding of tartar and home remedies.  Many of the ones you mention are just fine!  However, none of them will work on the scaly build-up of Tartar.  That MUST be removed first, THEN your other methods will work well.  

On the outside chance this is something else, a good veterinary / oral exam is needed here as there are other ailments that can cause such symptoms.  

Please try to find a way to get some veterinary care, then do your good home prevention.  
Thank you so much for your prompt reply. I will check on those 2 resources and keep you posted.
Thanks again,
Noodlehead1 aka Soffi's Mom
Dr. Jim,
Can you tell me what some of the other ailments are that could cause tarter to build up?

Dr Jim wrote: "On the outside chance this is something else, a good veterinary / oral exam is needed here as there are other ailments that can cause such symptoms"

tartar buildup is typically the bacterial action on the tooth.  but other things that can cause dark stains on teeth would be anything affecting the enamel and various diseases or injuries can cause that.  
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