My Samoyeds get their teeth cleaned by a dentist every 6 months. It's an anesthesia-free cleaning. Their teeth are in relatively good health. We also feed them each half a regular greenie each day with dinner. Bianca will chew hers and break it down into smaller pieces. Sorcha, on the other hand, will swallow her half greenie whole.
Recently, I've heard that greenies can be dangerous because they're not digestible. We've never had any problems with greenies in the past, but now we're afraid to give it to them.
Are greenies good for their teeth as claimed?
Are greenies digestible?
Is there any danger to giving them half a regular greenie?
About 2 yrs ago, greenies were found to be less digestible. The new formulation has now improved and digestibility has not been a problem. My dog used to eat greenies before and after the formulation change and had no problems as well. It's the dogs that swallow them whole or parts of them whole that can have problems. It is doubtful even if swallowed that the new formulation would have a problem.
The danger to giving half of a greenie is that they may not work as claimed. Greenies are a VOHC approved product - ie a rigorous approval process to ensure the product works. They do work, but if you give the wrong size to the pet than what is labeled or give half essentially making them the wrong size, they aren't chewed as much to result in the approved result.
Chewing anything is better than nothing, but chewing a VOHC approved product is best. I have switched from Greenies to CET Veggie Dents in my household because they are chewed better by my dog and dissolve faster in water, thus improved digestibility.
As for anesthesia-free dental cleanings - be careful. It's good to have good dental health, as pets that have good dental health live an average of two years longer quality life compared with pets that don't. Anesthesia free implies they are just scraping off the tartar, but by taking off the tartar either by hand or with an ultrasonic scaler this leaves behind microscopic scratches in the enamel. Those scratches allow plaque to build up faster and can result in permanent changes. Plaque and tartar harbor bacteria that showers microscopically through the gum line to the rest of the body often lodging on the heart valves or flushed through the kidneys setting up microscopic infections damaging the kidneys over time. By polishing the teeth thoroughly, a dental is more effective and using Oravet sealant after the polishing and at home, it's even more effective longer at delaying the mini infections and problems that happen in the mouth and spread to the body. Under anesthesia, your veterinary dentist can get under the gum line where the majority of the damage is happening in the mouth as well.
I compliment you on realizing that dental health is so important to your pet's health, but the bacteria in the mouth and scratches to the teeth build up more harm to your dog than routine anesthesia with IV fluid support in a normal pet.
I hope this helps. Here's some more info on Home Dental Care:
There are some things you can do to help prevent the build up of plaque and tartar on your pet’s teeth. None of these treatments removes the tartar that is already present. All options work better when starting with teeth that have been cleaned in the hospital to remove existing tartar and have a clean slate.
A. Daily Feeding
Using specially formulated pet foods such as Royal Canin Dental Diet can delay the build up of tartar. This diet works by keeping the special “fiber” kibble in contact with the tooth at the gum line to scrub away the plaque while the “tartar control” coating on the food works like tartar control toothpaste to reduce plaque when eaten. Most other dental diets have single methods for plaque reduction. Non dental diets crumble to dusts when eating and form paste with saliva and don't scrub the teeth like dental diets do.
B. Good to Chew
The natural mechanical action of chewing is good to help delay plaque build up as well, but be aware: Not all treats are created equal. Research shows CET Veggie Dents work 4-8 times better than non VOHC chews on the market. They are fully digestible and would dissolve in just a glass of water, preventing problems if your pet decides to swallow the treat instead of chewing. For cats, give 10-15 Tartar Shield Cat Treats per day, - they’re only ONE calorie a piece and prevent tartar build up by over 40%!
C. Better to Rinse (there are other rinses to use other than oxyfresh, but this is the easiest, I've found to use.)
Oxyfresh rinses and gels reduce plaque as well as freshen the breath. Just add the colorless rinse to your pet’s water. There is no taste and you get the benefits of improved breath! For the gel, a pea-sized drop on your finger or swab will be enough to treat an adult cat. For small dogs, use slightly more. Simply rub the gel briefly over the gums above the molars. Treatment can also be done by directly applying the gel from the bottle (best for larger dogs).
D. Best to Brush
Of course, just as it is for us, tooth brushing is the best method of ensuring that our pets will enjoy good dental health. Daily brushing with C.E.T. ENZYMATIC poultry flavor toothpastes provides the best in home dental care for your pet. C.E.T. toothpastes are specifically formulated to be safe, effective, and appealing to your dog or cat, and “unlike” people toothpastes, are meant to be swallowed. Some clients place the toothpaste on a blue Kong or low calorie cat treat and allow the pet to brush with treats each day. While this is not as good as brushing with a finger toothbrush, it is still helpful.
For those of you that find daily brushing forgotten, OraVet sealant is the way to go. After a dental cleaning, a thorough sealant is applied under anesthesia. Home re-application is done in 2 minutes each week. Your first home application lesson is complimentary.
E. Annual Vaccination for Dogs
There is now a vaccine available to prevent tooth loss in dogs only. The vaccine induces the body to fight the bacteria in tartar that is the major culprit of tooth loss. While it cannot prevent traumatic fractures nor all bacteria in the mouth, it should help prevent your dog from losing teeth in the future. This vaccine requires the teeth to be clear of tartar before administration. It is administered as an initial injection and boostered 1 month later, then usually annually afterward to keep up immunity.
A combination of the above options is the best approach for home dental care. Routine dental care will ensure a healthier and happier life for your pet. Please email the Family Pet Veterinary Center with any questions you may have: ***@****.
Thank you so much for the great answer. We really appreciate it. We will switch to CET Veggie Dents. We've already been using the C.E.T. Enzymatic poultry flavor. The dogs love to eat it and will gladly sit for a tooth brushing. But they hate the actual toothbrush and it's quite a fight to brush their teeth since they're trying to eat the toothbrush. Usually we use two toothbrushes so that they can only get one.
I'll look into the annual vaccination as well. The reason we haven't had any anesthesia done is that we've always been afraid that they won't wake up from anesthesia. I'm sure it rarely happens, but the breeder's male had died because he didn't wake up from the anesthesia. He was a 100 pound Samoyed, unusually large for the breed, and they probably used too much anesthesia. Our girls are also large for the breed, weight in at 75 pounds each, so we worry that they won't wake up from the anesthesia. We use Banfield and their teeth cleaning would be covered and yet we still pay extra to go elsewhere and get their teeth cleaned anesthesia-free.
Do you think the benefits of the anesthesia teeth cleaning outweigh the risks? Is there anything we can do to mitigate the risks if we decide to start doing the cleaning under anesthesia?
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