I Don’t Brush My Dog’s Teeth. I Did This Instead.

I Admit I Don’t Brush My Dog’s Teeth

Yup, you read that right – I. Do. Not. Brush. My. Dog’s. Teeth.

I’ve received a lot of flack for this statement.

I’ve heard things like:

  • “You’re lazy”
  • “You’re selfish”
  • “You obviously don’t care about your dogs”
  • “Your dog is going to die” (yes, seriously).

If people really knew me though, and how spoiled and well taken care of my dogs are, I don’t think they would say that.

But it got me thinking… am I the only one that doesn’t brush my dog’s teeth?

Heck no!

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, only 1% of dog owners brush pet’s teeth regularly.

That means there are a whole lot of people out there also not brushing their dog’s teeth.

UPDATED: January 1, 2023

Disclaimer below

A thorough dental cleaning under anesthesia, and brushing your dog’s teeth, is considered the “gold standard” by veterinarians for maintaining your pup’s oral health.

I am not claiming that there is a direct replacement for that.

However, some people don’t brush their dog’s teeth or choose not to put their dogs under anesthesia for health or personal reasons.

I wanted to share my experience with alternate methods that are better than doing nothing at all.

I’m a passionate dog Mom, not a veterinarian. 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links (Amazon Associate or other programs we participate in). As an affiliate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.

It’s Not That I Don’t Care About My Dog’s Dental Health

Dachshund teeth before cleaning

Yeah, I know that a build up of plaque and tartar can lead do gum disease, missing teeth, and illness.

Look, I love my dogs but I know myself good enough to know that brushing their teeth just isn’t going to happen. I’ve tried.

I bought a finger toothbrush before thinking it would be a less threatening way to brush my dog’s teeth.

That lasted about once.

Both dogs absolutely hated it.

I didn’t enjoy it much either and I didn’t have the time or patience to “get them used to it”.

I’ve tried several different ways to brush my dog’s teeth and none were successful.

I’ve bough a small dog toothbrush with liver flavored toothpaste.

There was no way my dog was letting me stick something like that in her mouth, even with a liver “treat” on the end.

I bought sprays and gels with “active enzymes” but the struggle with prying open strong Doxie jaws while trying to shoot the stuff into their mouth always resulted with more goop on me than in them.

Think Something About Mary crossed with The Exorcist. (You know my dramatization isn’t too far off if you have a Dachshund)

I do pay attention to my dog’s teeth though.

I get how important a pet’s dental health is.

But there have been studies on the effectiveness of different methods to clean a dog’s teeth and this one found that natural chews reduced oral bacteria by 60% (compared to brushing, which was only 70% effective).

This is further proof to me that doing something for my dog’s oral health is better than nothing and, in fact, brushing is not the only way to keep your dog’s teeth clean and improve oral health.

Below, I share the two things I do to help keep my dog’s teeth and gums healthy.

Our Home Routine for Cleaner Teeth

After some research and testing, I found a little at-home teeth cleaning routine that works for us.

Step 1: soften the plaque

The first step in the routine is to sprinkle Plaque Off on Summit and Gretel’s food daily.

This softens the plaque on my dog’s teeth so that it scrapes off easier when they chew on things.

While the description of how PlaqueOff, specifically, works is vague on the website, it has to do with enzymes in the kelp breaking down the bacterial biofilm that causes dental plaque and the calculus we know as tartar.

I don't brush my dog's teeth. Instead, I use PlaqueOff to soften the tartar. Check out my article so see what else I do to keep my dog's teeth clean.

It gets the plaque soft enough that sometimes I can scrape a bit off with my fingernail when we are snuggling on the couch.

While Plaque Off softens the tartar, I find it doesn’t remove it (although I’ve heard some people claim that it did for their dog).

Warning: Kelp contains iodine so, while extra iodine is good for some dogs, check with your vet first if your dog has any health issues that may be negatively affected by supplemental iodine.

Step 2: mechanically remove the plaque

To actually remove the plaque, I need to give my dogs something abrasive to chew on every day.

I tried giving them raw, meaty bones.

I’d heard people rave about them – that chewing on the bones every day keep their dog’s teeth sparkly white.

That didn’t work for us though.

I tried both chicken and turkey necks but Gretel literally tried to gulp them down whole like a snake.

I tried rib bones but Summit and Gretel bit off whole chunks and swallowed them, which made me concerned about a potential intestinal blockage.

I tried raw chicken feet and chicken drumsticks but I felt the calories in each piece was too high for 10-lb dogs.

I tried giving my dogs antlers with not much success. My dogs had zero interest in chewing on plain ol’ antlers.

Plus I had heard stories of dog’s breaking their tooth on an antler or, worse, the antler splintering and a shard piercing their dog’s gums.

I tried softening the antlers to make them more enticing.

How do you soften deer antlers for a dog you ask? It’s easy.

I soaked them in low-sodium chicken broth, or bone broth, for 24-48 hours.

Not only did that make them a bit softer for chewing, it infused them with an extra bit of flavor.


However, my dogs still lost interest in the antlers fast so I moved on to something else.

I went back to giving them a bully stick, or other natural chew, to chew on for 5-10 minutes every day.

I know they like the taste and, as long as they are supervised, I feel they are safe chewing on them.

Occasionally, for an extra treat and health boost, I dip the end of the chew in organic coconut oil.

Coconut oil can help keep a dog’s gums and teeth healthy because it has natural anti-bacterial properties (some DIY dog toothpaste recipes use coconut oil as a base).

Yes, calories are still an issue with natural chews but my dogs don’t eat much of it in the 10 minutes I let them chew on it.

Where I Get Natural Chews for My Dogs

My favorite type of chews for my dogs are natural, single ingredient, and digestible.

These are some form of animal parts ranging from the relatively tame bully stick (made from bull penis) to the more “exotic” fur on cow ears or duck heads.

In addition to the teeth cleaning action, natural chews have other benefits such as adding protein to your dog’s diet, cleaning out the digestive tract (products with the fur still on), and providing minerals and nutrients such as vitamins and glucosamine.

One of my favorite places to get our natural chews is From Real Dog Box.

They deliver an all-natural and locally sourced selection to our doorstep monthly, which includes a variety of chews that range from easy to super chewer (which, let’s get real, is most doxies).

Real Dog Box is great if you are not sure which chews are right for your dog because they will send a different one each month for your dog to try.

If you want to take the overwhelm out of trying to find the healthiest chews to help keep your pup’s teeth clean, check them out.

Disclaimer: I was compensated for sharing Real Dog Box with you, but I only promote products I truly like.

What We Get Done Professionally: Anesthesia-Free Dog Teeth Cleaning

While the system above keeps my dog’s teeth clean enough that the vet hasn’t recommended a professional cleaning, it doesn’t keep one of my dog’s teeth pearly while (genetics plays a big role).

If my dog needed to have serious dental work done, I would pay to have them cleaned under anesthesia.

Anesthesia free dental cleaning is not a substitute for a full dental and X-rays under anesthesia, but can be a good alternative or supplement to an at-home dog teeth cleaning routine.

However, the thought of putting my 12-year old senior dog, Gretel, under anesthesia when the vet hasn’t said it is medically necessary, is a little unnerving.

I had heard about “anesthesia-free” teeth cleaning through a friend.

I researched it and found it did a good job cleaning a dog’s teeth but that it’s not as thorough as a deep cleaning with anesthesia.

Since I was just going for “mostly clean” (because, remember, I’m using this method in the place of brushing, which also only gets a dog’s teeth “mostly clean”), that was ok with me.

I also heard it was cheaper than cleaning under anesthesia – only $165 – BUT it is recommended that it be done twice a year… so it’s not that much cheaper, if at all.

Read: How Much Does It Cost to Get’s Your Dog’s Teeth Cleaned? (read the comments for reports from around the country)

Note: Anesthesia-free teeth cleaning is very controversial. To understand the arguments, and my thoughts on them, read my article Anesthesia-Free Teeth Cleaning is Not Evil.

I thought I would give anesthesia-free teeth cleaning a shot since Gretel had no existing tooth or gum problems.

If you try anesthesia-free teeth cleaning for your dog, it’s very important you use a certified dog dental technician or veterinarian.

All the Best Pet Care in Seattle has a doggy dentist technician, who is overseen by a veterinarian, that visits once a month and performs this anesthesia-free dental cleaning so I made an appointment.

Even though my Dachshund Gretel is generally anxious, the vet said she was relatively calm while cleaning her teeth (I wasn’t allowed in the room with her because he might keep looking at me and not relax).

When she came out of the back room she was all waggy tail and had sparkling white teeth.

I was happy with the results.

Here is the before and after so you can be the judge (pictures unedited except for the watermark).

Note: These pictures are of my first Dahcshund Chester, who also had the cleaning done several times. I wish these pics were better but it’s so hard to hold a camera and take a pic of a wiggly dog by youself.

I Don’t Brush My Dog’s Teeth. I Did This Instead <-- Chester's teeth before anesthesia-free teeth cleaning
Chester’s Teeth Before
I Don’t Brush My Dog’s Teeth. I Did This Instead. <-- Chester's teeth after anesthesia-free teeth cleaning
Chester’s Teeth After

How Are My Dog’s Teeth Doing?

Gretel, and my younger Dachshund Summit who is also on this cleaning routine, had a checkup of their teeth last year at the vet.

The vet was amazed at how clean Summit’s teeth were and that they looked healthy.

Gretel’s teeth have always been on the dirty side.

Poor genetics can make some dog’s teeth accumulate plaque despite efforts to keep their teeth clean and I think this is her issue.

Currently, my vet said our routine will be good enough for Gretel, but there is a chance she will need professional teeth cleaning under anesthesia later.

I’m positive that our home routine, and occasional anesthesia-free cleaning, is better than doing nothing.

In fact, I might argue that it’s just as – or almost as good as – brushing your dog’s teeth.

Final Thoughts

While brushing is the most recommended way to keep your dog’s teeth clean, it’s not the only way to do it.

The truth is, brushing is not perfect either.

The effectiveness depends on things like:

  • How often you do it
  • Whether you are able to reach both sides of your dog’s teeth, all of the way in the back
  • What type of food your dog eats
  • Genetics

I’ve received a lot of flack over the years for this article.

Some people have called me irresponsible.

I’ve been told that my brushless way of keeping my dog’s teeth clean doesn’t get under the gumline.

Guess what? Neither does brushing!

People have also pointed out that opting for anesthesia-free dental cleaning does not include X-rays, which is the only way to get the full picture of tooth and gum health.

I do understand this and it’s true.

However, I’m also confident that my tooth care routine is effective and, because I know the signs and I am hypervigilant, I have a really good chance of catching any tooth issues early.

And, as I said, personally, I am ok putting my dogs under anesthesia to get X-rays if our vet recommended it.

I Admit I Don't Brush My Dog's Teeth Yup, you read that right - I. Do. Not. Brush. My. Dog's. Teeth. I've received a lot of flack for this statement but the truth is that brushing isn't the only way to keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a Dachshund sitter, President of the largest social Dachshund club in Washington State, a dog trainer in training, and I’ve been a Dachshund owner for 20 years. I have over 150,000 hours of experience with the breed. When I’m not working, you can find me hiking, camping, and traveling with my adventurous wiener dogs.


  1. Thanks for admitting that you don’t brush your dogs’ teeth, because I don’t either, and always feel guilty about it! With four dogs it’s all I can do to keep up with the grooming, nail clipping, and ear cleaning. Our beagle Kobi has the worst teeth because he has an overbite. This dog who will eat anything hated all 5 toothpastes I tried on him. So we get them cleaned yearly under anesthesia. But since he is getting older (12) that concerns me more. I didn’t know that cleaning without anesthesia was even an option. I will have to see if I can find someone in our area that does it. Thanks for sharing this great info!

    1. I feel so much peer pressure I usually feel like I can’t admit I don’t brush their teeth without getting rotten tomatoes thrown at me or worst. I think that being aware clean teeth is important and taking care of it however works best for you is what is important. The whole anesthesia thing does worry me a bit too with older dogs or ones with health problems.

      1. Try canned green beans. Seriously. If the dog is healthy give 1/2 can of green beans in meals. Teeth will be sparkling in a couple weeks. Must use the regular kind not low or no salt. Once teeth are clean give the green beans once or twice a week as maintenance. Do not rinse the green beans out of the can.

        1. Hi Lee. I actually don’t recommend canned green beans because too many of them contain sodium (like you mentioned). However, I have used frozen green beans (partially of fully thawed) before for weight loss reasons. I never thought about them as an aid for cleaning teeth! Thanks for the suggestion. I might just try that.

            1. Hi Joanna. It’s important that the green beans do not have salt in them. As with humans, too much excess salt is bad. Because dogs are small, any added salt, no matter which type, is considered excess.

            2. Hey Jessica, I just read about your green beans method. Thanks, but I found that strained green beans cause poop to be abnormal. I’m afraid to try the whole ones. Any suggestions? My dachshund is really sensitive.

              1. I’m not sure what you mean by strained green beans. Do you mean pureed? I’ve never tried those before but wonder if it’s not the fact that they are already liquid that is causing issues. I use cut green beans (about 1/2 inch long per section) that have no salt. If your pup’s stomach is very sensitive, even that might cause undesired results. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good replacement suggestion for the beans. It would need to be something low in calories, “rough” enough to scrape teeth when your pup chews, and probably not have to be so much fiber (as the beans). Sorry I can’t be of more help.

          1. The salt is what cleans the teeth, if I’m making the correct jump from some “toothpastes” (salt and baking soda) and how people claim they effectively clean dog teeth. … I’m right with you, Jessica, my dog does not love having his teeth brushed, and he doesn’t respond great to really any combination of gel, bones, and what not. We’re like you’ve, we’ve tried lots of them, and yes, plaque off is pretty good.

            1. The baking soda is usually the primary teeth-cleaning additive but, yes, salt also helps. I’m glad to hear that plaque off is working for you.

                  1. pansement gaz autour di doigt, frotter les dents a sec comme c ‘est reche ca lave super bien puis, avec du dentifrice enzimatique poulet en pharmacie ,pas de brosse a dent ca glisse donc …… et puis les chiens qui ne supportent pas ca renforce leur dégouts !!!!!!! et ca abimes les gencives

                    1. Thanks for mentioning this tip. I did this with my dogs for a while and it did help. It didn’t do any better at cleaning than the method I use now though (Plaque off and daily chews).

            2. Hi Jamma, you are absolutely correct. SALT has been trending as a very BAD thing for many years now. However it is VERY MUCH NEEDED in SO MANY WAYS! For humans and our precious pets. Low salt/sodium causes MANY illnesses. I entrust my furry babies to holistic doctors and solutions instead. Everything we need for our pets’ health is found organically around us. I will never place any of my pets under anesthesia to get plaque removed! AND ITS ABSURDLY EXPENSIVE! SALT IS THE KEY.

          2. My dogs love carrot sticks. My dog will be 10 this year she is a small bread and the vet told me her teeth were amazing for her age. Slight tarter build up so she’ll be going for her first cleaning next month. I always leave chews down for my dogs they never get rawhide . but if you have well water that is worse for teeth because city water has additives like floride which helps with tarter and cavity protection. Oh and my dogs get lots of fresh fruits and veggies.

            1. Good to know about the well water. I didn’t know that. My dogs love carrots too but we have to moderate them because of the sugar and calories 🙂

              1. Heavy metals are bad for dogs, just like in humans. I filter my dogs’ water, so they don’t get fluoride, or chlorine (both are heavy metals).

                1. Refer back to chemistry 101. Fluoride is not a heavy metal. Chlorine is a halogen, not a metal at all

              1. I grew up on well water and now get my water from the mountains and filter it and do not use fluoride toothpaste. I’m in my mid 40’s and have not had one cavity in my life. So I would assume if fluoride is so great the people drinking and brushing with it have perfect teeth like I do? I didn’t think so. It’s very strange how people believe pseudo science even when their own teeth are rotting out. Anyone who thinks fluoride is great show me the teeth. Now I realize my good teeth may be genetic, but this doesn’t eliminate the fact people drinking and brushing with fluoride all have multiple fillings, tartar, and plaque, despite how great and effective it is in claims by corporations selling it.

                1. I grew up with fluoride in the water. My 3 sons had fluoride treatments at school in the ’60’s. We ALL still have ALL our teeth. I’m 85, go to dentist for cleaning, had only one cavity & they’re amazed how healthy our teeth are. I think fluoride gets a bad rap.

          3. I live in North Louisiana & I don’t know of a place that does anesthesia free cleaning. I had to pay $1300.00 @ a local vet for dental care under anesthesia & I am in debt because of it.

            1. I’m very sorry to hear it was a financial hardship for you. Thanks for letting us know what it cost in your region though.

            2. I paid about the same in Eugene Oregon. Terrible results too. Really frustrating to put my dog through that and have semi clean teeth as a result.

            3. I would look for a local pet shop that believes in holistic Medicine. I have a local pet store that has this service available.

          4. Hi. My dog decided he knew how to look after his own teeth by helping himself to a raw carrot. He has a carrot a day. He’s 12 and the vet is very impressed with the state of his teeth and says he doesn’t need anything doing. She thinks the carrot may be the reason but hadn’t come across it before!

            1. Hi Jane. Any hard food can help your dog’s teeth if they chew it because it will help scrape plaque off the teeth. Carrots are a good option. it won’t work for all dogs, but can work for some.

          5. My Lil elderly dogs hate toothbrushes etc too. So as a treat I give baby carrots. No teeth not white but I believe it keeps teeth from getting the build up and they love them.

          1. Not if they are the frozen ones (thawed out). Those are the only ones I recommend (ie. canned ones have the salt).

            1. Yo can buy low sodium can green beans green beans.That is what we do as my husband is suppose to watch his sodium intake.Then I take and poor the water they are packed in and rinse them them off will good so nothing is added except the no salt except not to our dog feeding

        2. I’v put Green beans in my Maltese’s (61/2 years old) food for about 3 years now, to help control her weight. Her teeth are in very good shape, is it the bean’s? Maybe so! Not going to ever stop!

            1. Yoya – Dogs do not need extra sodium. My vet says it’s important to use green beans without the salt.

        3. My dog has health issues and has green beans every day and they have done nothing for her teeth. She is 8 years old and has been on a green bean, carrot, cottage cheese and chicken diet for most of her life. Her teeth are awful and because of health issues cannot be put under anesthetic. She does allow me to brush ad scrap her teeth, but it works for a while and then gets really bad quickly. She does like a Bully stick occasionally, but not on a daily basis. Usually once a month or for a couple a days and then it just sits there.

          1. The plaque off works, I was surprised at difference . It is expensive so after doing my own research & finding it is just dried kelp, I found a source that sells dried Icelandic Ocean Kelp ( from Iceland) & it is by far cheaper to buy in 5lb bag that the tiny tub sold of Plaque off. Same thing, does the same thing too. I have 4 dogs, 2 Doxies I rescued 16months ago, one of them teeth were nasty brown & stinky. Now i am amazed at how white they are & no brushing either. My other dogs Ican wipe the build up off their teeth so it really does work.!! Who would have known, dried kelp did the trick.!!! Ive told many people about it. Its got many other benefits to using it too. Read up & see for yourself. My dogs get several different supplements daily in there food & very healthy & happy.
            Pumpkin is one of the best things you can give them daily too, but pure canned pumpkin, nothing added to it & is great for weight loss cas it is filling. so cut back on their food & give spoonful of pumpkin. I took a rescued Doxie from 22lb to 14lb in 1 year.!!! Her coat was bold all over & now is beautiful & she is happy healthy & can run all over. All she could do was waddle when rescued & her belly dragged the floor. Amazing results with it.
            Happy to share pictures if needed.
            Amazon sells it in different sizes but the 5lb bag works out cheapest.

            1. Thanks for the tip Maureen. Personally, I don’t find the Plaque Off Expensive – one bottle will last us almost a whole year – but I also only have two small dogs 🙂

              1. We have used plaque off since our dog was a puppy. She is now 2 1/2 and her canines have tartar. Not sure it really helps as she did get tartar

                1. Hi Dawn. PlaqueOff doesn’t remove the tartar. It’s just softens it and causes it to not stick to the teeth as much. As I said in the article, you need to give your pup something to chew on to mechanically remove it. On occasion, if your dog chews it while eating, dry kibble is enough to do it. In most cases, you’ll need to give your dog a chew like bully stick, cow ear, etc.

                2. my vet told me to add more plaque off for my dog and i use in his drinking water EXDOG Plaque Off measured out as bottle says / this helps him alot / does not need every year cleanings he is 6years old hope this helps

              1. Yes, you sprinkle the kelp on the dog food. My dogs primarily eat raw or wet food so it sticks to the food. If I give them kibble, I wet it just a little so the kelp flakes stick to it.

              1. Hi Maureen. My package says to give a dog over 50 lbs approximately 1/3 tsp a day. Hope that helps.

            2. Thank you for all your time on answering others questions.

              I cant find 5lb bag of this product on amazon or on the web, any suggestions please?

            3. Thank you so much for the pumpkin and kelp info. I am so grateful for your advice. Where do I get the kelp? Dianne

            4. How did you use the kelp for their teeth?
              We’ve adopted a 6-year-old long-haired dachshund and her
              teeth and of course, breath is horrible.
              Thanks for any advise ~

            5. What do you do with the kelp. Cook it and mix with the kibble . is it Fresh kelp in a bag that u buy from supermarket

              1. Hi Elaine. I wanted to chime in here. The product I use is kelp flakes. They are dried and you sprinkle them on top of your dog’s food.

            6. Maurine- I would love to see pictures of your little rescued girl! What a wonderful turn around for her and you! Would you mind also send the info or pic of the kelp brand I can order from Amazon! Thanks so much!!!

            7. Hi Maureen I have had doxies my whole life…. I have 2 doxies now and 1 started getting bold patches all over this year out of the blue. And both gained so much weight after getting them fixed. They have awful breath and teeth too. I’d love to get your email address and see pictures and see what all you give your dachshund. And where you order it all from.

            8. I found giving my dog too much gave her diarrhea. I was giving a couple tablespoons. I stopped for awhile. Now I give 1/2 tbsp.

          2. I assume you’re feeding your dog salt-free green beans, which is what our vet recommended. The salted green beans are the ones to use for helping to remove the plaque.

            1. Hi Brigitte. I wholeheartedly disagree. It’s the scraping from the skin/fiber in beans that can help scrape tartar off the teeth. Too much salt in a dog’s diet can be harmful, especially for small dogs. In fact, it sounds like that’s what your vet recommended.

              Why do you think it’s only the salted ones that work?

          3. Is your dog getting any grains? It doesn’t sound like it from your description. That’s very dangerous and could be contributing to your dog’s health problems. They’ve recently come out with studies showing that grain-free food might be giving dogs a life-threatening heart problem called dilated cardiomyopathy, or DCM. Check with your vet.

            1. Hi Catherine. Thanks for mentioning that risk. It is indeed just a risk though. If one is concerned, they should take their dog to the vet regularly for checkups so they can catch any heart murmurs (usually the first sign of DCM).

            2. Hello, It’s not grains, it’s carbohydrates they need. you can research veggies that have carbs. My dog had urinary incontinence her whole life and when I took her off of kibble and food with grain and starch, after a few days she has stopped being incontinent. She is 11. It took me 9 years to find this out.
              do you know how many female dogs are incontinent and they put them on predisone. And it’s diet related, just like with people. Thank you

        4. I’ve been giving my older dog canned green beans for almost a year. She’s on meds that make her super hungry so this keeps her appetite at bay with very little calories. ZERO improvement to her teeth. This doesn’t even make sense to me as there’s nothing in the bean to sparkle (or scrape) the teeth. At least you won’t be out lots of money for trying!

          1. You can mix them or place them on top. It doesn’t matter. The use the cut version that is in pieces that are 1/2 to 1 inch long.

        5. Hello, Lee. Are you still on this blog? the date of your post is 2018. am interested if you are still doing the green beans with your dog. Thank you.

        6. Hello, I did everything mentioned here. My dogs teeth were a mess and the vet was aghast but I could not afford the cleaning.
          So I got the Plaque softener mentioned above, the Milk Bone dental chews for after dinner, the green beans in salt. I squeezed them in my hands. I assume when she chews them, the salt and citric acid, cleans the gums. I gave one cup a day as a snack for about a week, and now every couple of days. And then the cows ears every couple of days. And after less than a month her teeth are clean and sparkling white. I also just started giving her organic bovine colostrum for animals. And homeopathic calciums, phosoporica 6 C, and Calcium phosphorica 6 C, two each a day, to remineralize her teeth. and Coconut oil rubbed into her gums. I will keep going for more. things. I hope everyone gets to read this. This saved my life. My dogs teeth were a mess. Thank you.

        7. Sodium is bad for dogs. I recommend fresh steamed green beans beans. Home grown is the best. Some dogs will eat them straight off the vine!

        8. @Lee , Dogs have toxicity to salt, this seems like was too much salt if you aren’t using the low sodium as mentioned. Frozen organic green beans Are a much better choice.

      2. The comparison pictures look like 2 different dogs. Their mouths are totally different. The teeth are different, different lengths, gum line is not the same.

        1. I could see how you might think that because the pictures are poor quality but all I can say is that is IS the same dog… and you believe me or don’t. I can’t control that. As I’ve said to others before, I’m not a professional photographer with a studio. Just a girl with no help to take photos trying to take a pic of a squirmy dog’s mouth with one hand and a cell phone.

        2. It’s obviously the same dog. There’s even the pink spot under one of the bottom teeth. The teeth position and shape is exactly the same. The only difference is the plaque and the lighting. Why would you think this is fake? Look closely.

          1. Thanks Terry. I didn’t take these photos in a studio with a dog well trained to stay completely still (far from it! Ha). There is clearly some differences between the two pictures (angles, lighting, etc). I appreciate you giving me the benefit of the doubt and concentrating on finding the similarities between the two vs desiring to be critical of me and pointing out only the differences.

            1. And what would you have to gain by putting a fake pic on here??? People are too paranoid these days. It’s not like you’re asking them to pay you for the information…….sheesh……

              1. Nothing. Which is why there is no fake picture? People are so untrustworthy of stuff on the internet these days, I get it. Maybe have a little empathy for strangers though? You try taking the exact same photo of a squirmy dog, at the exact same angle, in the exact same lighting, in the exact perfect way, by yourself, with no studio and a cell phone camera, that makes the images look 100% identical. I’m doing the best I can here lady. Give me a break.

              2. I think it might be not that people are paranoid but more that they are obnoxious. And possibly oppositional and argumentive. You have no reason to fake this. You’re just sharing what you found that works for your dog.

        3. It’s not a different dog. Look at the birthmarkings inside the upper gum line- do you really believe that this pet parent actually sought out and hired a doggie stand-in with exact, identical gum line markings more so than you believe she is just like the rest of us dealing with a wiggly bum and iPhone? That’s just silly. Pay attention to the details before you are mean spirited and condescending please.

      3. My Max eats, green beans (frozen) carrots, brown rice and baked chicken (frozen)
        I don’t know if any of that cleans his teeth but it is healthy!
        Apples are known to clean our teeth, so why not give them to our “kids”? Cut the apple in small pieces. I have also put toothpaste on a slice of apple so if Max chews on his back teeth those will get cleaned also!

        1. please im a little confused on the green beans for my dogs, do you steam the green beans frozen ones or fresh ones are they to be soft for them to eat them and then add it to their food, if i make their food as i don’t give my dogs tin food can i cook the beans with that.

          1. can you go up and see my comment above. After reading all these comments i did them and more, including the green beans canned. My dogs teeth are sparkling white.
            Thank you.

      4. I give my dog big sticks to chew on bc it’s natural and it really does clean their teeth, only drawback is that it makes a mess all over the floor

        1. Summit really likes to chew sticks. I worry though because so many people have warned me that they can splinter and injure her gums or she could swallow a piece and it could poke a hole in her stomach. How to you deal with that or are you not concerned based on experience?

          1. My dogs eat sticks made of potato and other vegetables. Aboit 6″ long and thr si,e of your little finger. They get twova day and beg for them. Very clean teeth. I get them at a high end pet store.

      5. Hi Jessica,

        Have you heard of a product called Healthy Mouth? I have 4 small dogs and I had 3 need dental work in a 4 month time period, let’s just say ouch! I took dog number 4 in for shots and I had them look at her teeth. They was definitely tartar building up. The vet recommended the Helthy Mouth. It is not cheap, but it is cheaper then having the vet clean them. Both the vet and tech were really please when we came in 8 weeks later at the tartar reduction and it is even better now.

        1. Hi Lynda. I am not sure if I have. That name sounds so similar to many other dental products out there. Is it one that you have to buy from a veterinarian?

    2. Does it hurt the dog? I have a 11 pound maltese. .And b for health reasons hhe can’t be put under..
      thank you

      1. It shouldn’t if it is done right (ie. by a qualified veterinarian or dog dental specialist). The down side is that they can’t get as far under the gums as they can with cleaning under anesthesia because that WOULD hurt. But if the teeth aren’t bad, or your dog can’t be under anesthesia, then this can be a great alternative.

        1. I took my 5 year old malamute in to get his teeth cleaned. My vet uses anesthia. My dog had a reaction to the anesthia and started seizing. I almost lost my dog. I wound up in the emergency room with a possible hole in his trachiA seizures and dejydrTion. My dog is never allowed to b put under anesthia again unless a specialist does it. I am not sure what to do in the future as I kno I need to keep the plaque build up under control and u can not do this with brushing. Any suggestions would. Greatly appreciTee. Debbieddavis@comcast.net

          1. I am sorry to hear about your experience Debbie. That’s sounds scary and frustrating.

            My suggested would be the one in this post – to try anesthesia free dental cleaning if it’s available in your area. While it is true that it is not at thorough as cleaning under anesthesia (it is painful to get that far under the gums without it), it’s a really good option for people who can’t or won’t put their dog under anesthesia.

            I’ll shoot you an email though

            1. So you didn’t even ask what dental cleaner he was using? This webpage smells of advertising, not advising. I don’t believe it.

              1. It’s very true I have no opinion on this post but the content is true I’m a dog groomer and we used to have a specialist come to the shop once a month and do just that kind of cleaning w/o anesthesia and it works great and the dogs handle it really well

              2. So she put a plug for the establishment she took her dog to. Big woopi deal. I didn’t ask my anesthesia free tech what she uses. I must say the cleaning my elderly dog went through may have taken off the plaque yet didn’t resolve the stained teeth.

                1. “She” is the blog author – me, Jessica – who wrote this post in response to many, many questions I got. Sorry you are unhappy with it but I can’t, and am not trying to, please everyone.

                  When Gretel has this cleaning done, she still has a slight yellowing to her teeth. As you said, that is staining and, personally, I didn’t expect that to go away. For me, since I don’t brush her teeth to knock the plaque down, I do this to remove the build up. Have you had it done under anesthesia? Gretel hasn’t so I’m curious whether their teeth come out sparkling white after that.

                  1. Not once did I think your post was advertisement. It provided answers I’ve been searching for. I can’t believe how people immediately jump to conclusions about advertisements or that you are trying to sell products.

                    Anyway, My doggy is a bichon, and I don’t really want to take her to get her teeth cleaned… for financial reasons and for fear of possible anesthesia reaction… I’m not sure how she’ll respond.

                    Thanks so much for your information! And you’re right! You can’t satisfy everyone, and I’m glad you’re not trying to! Stay true to you!

                    1. Thanks Norine. I do occasionally recommend products but it’s things that have helped me based on experience and research. A lot of my readers actually ask me for that information so I’m doing them a favor. It IS a bit hurtful when strangers attack me for helping people though. Honestly, it’s hard enough putting your honest thoughts out on the internet for anyone to read. Over the 8 years I’ve been blogging though, I’ve learned to grow a thick skin.

                      I hope you can find a good solution for your pup. I’m all for teeth cleaning under anesthesia if there are signs of serious dental problems. To me, the risk of anesthesia is outweighed by the risks of not getting the issues properly taken care of. I do think, and my vet has agreed, that alternative techniques of cleaning teeth may be sufficient for those lower-risk, routine cleaning situations. I can tell you are a good dog Mama so I know you will make the best choice for your pup no matter what that is.

                  2. My toy chihuahua has her teeth cleaned under anesthesia once a year and her teeth are very white and clean. She is now 9 years old has had this done since she was a about a year old.

                    1. Cleaning under anesthesia is definitely effective. Whether to do it or not is a personal choice. I just wanted to show people that there are alternatives to doing nothing if they chose not to (or can’t) put their dog under anesthesia.

                2. I just stumbled upon this and tried the product in combination with the raw meat bones. It worked for both of my dogs. I saw a difference after one week. I am really thankful to have read this article. Maybe try it?

              3. @Doxy Mom

                I’m not ADVISING anyone on anything. My title states, plainly, that I don’t brush my dog’s teeth so I did I do this instead. I presented exactly what I did instead. This is a blog so I share my experience. Take it or leave it.

                1. Some people post comments without reading – like when you wrote you’re not a vet, this is just what you do, personally. Don’t waste your breath on them. Use that energy to snuggle with your fur-babies instead?

                  1. Here here, I agree! Thanks for the info. My daughter told me that my dogs teeth were really terrible and I hadn’t even noticed! So, that shows how bad I am. I’m going to try that stuff you mentioned and see if it helps. And maybe try the rubber finger toothbrush on her afterwards. Thanks for the nice blog post.

                2. I’m puppy whipped myself and also don’t brush her teeth she won’t let me. So I’m happy to learn new ways to take care of her. I give my dog fresh green beans for weight loss and she gets ice cubes to chew on when she wants an extra treat.

                  I’ll watch and see if the green beans effect staining.

                  Thank you for sharing your experience.

              4. LOL, I don’t even know what you’re referring to. I thought this was a well written, entertaining post that informed me of a new method for improving my dog’s dental health. I appreciate when a dog owner/lover shares a positive treatment they’ve received. I love the voice this is written in, so genuine and relatable. Thank you Jessica!

                1. Thanks Lindsay. I thought it was a useful post already, for the reasons you mentioned, but I did update it some this morning. Basically, I had linked to another post to learn more about what I do to clean my dog’s teeth (the home routine) but found that people were not reading. Some people were irritated with me because that information was “left out” so I put it right into this article so they would be sure to see it. Thanks for the compliment about my post 🙂

              5. @Doxie mom I dont see where the blog author is advertising?
                I even saw this same statement on TV from a gentleman called “Doggie Dentist” on the pet tv channel.
                You can clean your dog’s teeth but they will never stay white. Because of what they. They tend to chew on hard things and est hard things etc.

              6. That’s the oddest comment I have ever read. From all of us here in Houston Texas, we give you a great big “WELL BLESS YOUR HEART”.

              1. I Shelia. I don’t provide this service so I don’t have a whole lot of other information for you. I know it’s not offered everywhere in the country (I believe it is in most major cities though) and you have to be really sure the person doing is trained to do so (not just a dog groomer with a dental pick). It’s also important to know that not every dog is a candidate for this. Our doggy dentist won’t perform this cleaning if there are clear signs of dental disease or that teeth need to be pulled. It’s great for keeping healthy teeth healthy though.

                I did a lot of Q & A in this article about the procedure so it might help: https://youdidwhatwithyourweiner.com/cleaning-your-dogs-teeth-anesthesia-free-teeth-cleaning-is-not-evil/

                1. I am a dog lover and they need to have their teeth brushed everyday just like you and I. It’s the responsibility of the pet owner to take care of your pets needs. They are your children but can’t talk to let you know what they need. They rely on you to take care of them! Would you not feed them or give them fresh water everyday? This is the same as brushing their teeth.
                  The easiest way to brush dogs teeth is start doing it when they are very young. They get used to it and later on actually love getting their teeth brushed.
                  If you keep up with brushing their teeth almost everyday you are doing them a favor by not having to do a dental cleaning under anesthesia or putting them through a anesthesia free cleaning.
                  Please take care of your companions and treat them as if they were your own children. They give you unconditional love!

                  1. I understand your passion around this topic, and thank you for sharing your tips, but I don’t agree that not brushing your dog’s teeth means you don’t love them. 1) There are many ways to help keep your dog’s teeth clean. Brushing isn’t the only way. Besides anesthesia-free cleaning, which works fine for many, many dogs, there are things like giving raw meaty bones. I’ve seen many more dogs that receive those have sparkling white teeth than those that have their teeth brushed. 2) There are many, many “best” things you can do for your pet but rarely does a person to all of them. For example, I’ve seen people who brush their dog’s teeth every day but don’t regularly express their dog’s anal glands (for those dogs that need it) or let their nails grow “too long”. To me, any “best” effort in any area does is not negated if someone doesn’t do “the absolute best” in another area. Personally, I go above and beyond most dog owners in many, many care categories and I don’t ignore the care of their teeth. Not brushing doesn’t mean I’m not taking care of my dogs.

                    1. I brush my dog’s teeth 6-7 days weekly. They are still yellow and have tartar built up. I have to get their teeth cleaned at the vet every 3 years. I have a 13-year old Italian Greyhound and a new 2 year old mostly Min Pin.

                    2. It’s so frustrating with small dogs. They are notorious for teeth problems. Good on you for brushing them so often though! Three years is still longer between cleanings is still better than many small dogs need.

                  2. Holy moses people! I am a dog momma to a beautiful golden retriever, that is until she smiles…my reason for letting her dental health slide goes hand in hand with the horrible news I received 2 1/2 years ago that she had days or weeks to live. The vet basically said spoil her rotten and love every minute you have left. Oral car was not a favourite part of her routine so with the diagnosis I did not want to add any extra stress to her. Yes she has tart build up and yes she has staining, so judge me if you like, she is loved more than life itself. Dogs are wild animals that have been domesticated, they don’t have fancy finger toothbrushes or flavoured toothpaste in the wild what they eat in their natural habitat is how they kept their teeth clean. So yes, as part of the domestication process our job is to keep them as healthy as you can. Whatever works for you, do it but don’t jump on people for not meeting your standards or if a link offends you move on. After all, all this negativity is not healthy for your pets, they feed off your energy. So be happy for every day you have with your pup and find a way to meet their needs to what best suits your situation. Thanks for the great post and try to focus only on the positive comments. Haters will always hate.

                    1. It’s so wonderful that your pup is still with you. I agree with your vet about spoiling her and not making her life any more stressful than it absolutely needs to be.

                  3. Randi,
                    Please don’t insinuate she is not taking care of her dogs, just because she doesn’t brush their teeth. I don’t brush my dogs teeth either, for various reasons. The top reason being they absolutely hate it. Also, I have four dogs so it is very time consuming. However, they get homemade food, minimal vaccines, and I use natural flea and tick deterrents, therefore they are extremely healthy. I also take them for anesthesia free teeth cleaning.
                    So am I not taking good care of my dogs either?

                    Jessica keep up the good work! I totally understand where you are coming from. I just took two of my dogs for anesthesia free cleanings today. Best thing I ever discovered! My dogs are all small and two of them are getting up there in age so putting them under isn’t even an option to me. I know of too many dogs that have died during “routine procedures”. Blessings to you and your pups!

                    1. Thank you Julie. I agree that just because an owner doesn’t do something “recommended” doesn’t mean they don’t take care of their dogs. That’s like throwing the baby out with the bathwater and definitely not looking at the whole picture. For example, I know people who have never brushed their dog’s teeth but feed raw food and bones and their dog’s teeth are cleaner than the one that gets a brushing. Also, some people brush their dog’s teeth but feed a lower quality dog food than I do or never clip their dog’s nails even if they are too long. Thanks for chiming in here and taking such great care of your pups!

            2. How do I find a Vet in the Goodyear, Arizona area to do non-Anesthesia dental cleaning?? There are a LOT of Veterinarians in this area! Where should I begin?

              1. Hi Monique. Most regular vets don’t perform anesthesia-free teeth cleaning. In fact, many don’t actually approve of the practice (so you might not get a helpful answer if you called at asked). I would perform a Google search in your area for a doggy dentist that does this type of cleaning. Make sure you find someone trained, not just a dog groomer that claims they can use a tool to scrape your dog’s teeth. To me done right, it needs to be performed by someone trained in the procedure. Also of note, it’s not widely available everywhere so there might not actually be someone in your area. It’s definitely more available in larger cities.

                1. Our local pet store Pet Planet has someone come in from time to time to clean dogs teeth. Try pet stores that have groomers in their shops. I will be having it done with my dogs next time it’s offered. I’m nervous having my dogs put under even when absolutely necessary. Also I had two dogs that had their teeth regularly checked by our vet and for 10 and 11 years I was told their teeth were in really good shape until all of a sudden they both needed 800.00 plus in dental surgery. So I will be trying out the cleaning at the pet store. Good luck. I hope you find someone that does it.

            3. When my Dog was hieven anesthesia for her second annual Dental cleaning she died , she was healthy and happy , I just don’t think it is worth loosing your Furbany over that . Any other option but under anesthesia !!!

              1. Oh, no. That’s tragic. I’m sorry. I have a friend whose dog died because of teeth cleaning. They laid it on a heating pad to keep it warm and it got burned so badly it died. I spoke with my neighbor over the weekend and he just lost his cat because of anesthesia gone wrong. I realize that many, many pets go under anesthesia every day with no problem but the risk of something going wrong is real! I’d do it for Gretel if she medically needed it but if anesthesia-free cleaning is enough according to our vet (because she doesn’t have any bad teeth that need to come out) then I’m going to stick with that.

          2. Hi, I have a similar situation with one of ours dogs. We adopted him about 6 months ago when he was 4 years old; he was once close to death after a surgical procedure and we are afraid to ever put him under anesthesia if he doesn’t have to be. He has nice teeth but had lots of brown tartar buildup on his canine teeth. After looking for safe options, but feeling skeptical that a dog treat could really be that effective, I found the Milk Bone Brushing Chews, that claim to be more effective than brushing. For the last 2 weeks I have been giving him, and my other two dogs, just one daily, and I canNOT even believe how much tartar they have removed from my dogs’ teeth! The formerly brown canines are almost completely clean!! Even my oldest dog, who will be 12 in May, has noticeably cleaner teeth To me it’s amazing how something so easy can be so effective! They have truly been a blessing. Good luck, I can certainly relate!

            1. That’s great that the Milk Bone brushing chews worked so well for you. I have heard of them but never tried them. I might give them a second look when I am PetSmart next time.

            2. Cindy Collins was pioneer of anesthesia free teeth cleaning. While the folks in Sacramento decided to interfere in a dog owner’s right to choose who they have clean teeth (now a licensed vet), the work to eliminate unnecessary anesthesia. Check out Natural Pet Dental, Inc.

              I do not work for, nor have ever worked for Natural Pet Dental. I have had the pleasure to know Cindy and you will be in great hands!

            3. Hi, I have had dogs most of my adult life. I never take them to the vet for cleanings. They get two natural dried cows ears a week. This is all it takes. They are not rawhide, they are the interior cartridge of the ear. Totally healthy for your furries. At first you will notice blood all over it as they chew. Do not be alarmed. This is natural for god’s as their gums become soft over time. It goes away as they become healthier. I hope you give this a try. It totally works & most dogs love them.

          3. Have you asked CRVS, Columbia River Veterinary Specialists? They are in Vancouver and have a dental specialist there. I’ve wondered why they can’t just do ‘conscious sedation’ ? Let me know what you find out because we have a similar problem and I think if our dog was just more relaxed it would go well!
            Thank you, Jill Callahan

          4. Brush your dogs teeth!!!! I take the time to do two diss daily. It takes all os 5 mins for both and the love ❤️ it!!!!!

          5. I use a trick I learned from rescue groups for Borzoi and Greyhound. Wild carnivores eat thru RAW skin, meat, bone which keeps their teeth clean. The bone is soft and won’t hurt them like a cooked bone.
            1 drumstick a day for 1 to 2 weeks and clean teeth!
            For my picky dog I season them. Freeze & pull out as needed.

                1. My dog has really bad anxiety problems, and has a split in half, rotting molar. Is this normal what should I do? She’s a pit/boxer/lab, and is 4 years old. Please help.

                  1. Hi Ming. I suggest you take her to a vet to have her teeth examined. The split molar is probably very painful and can cause other health issues but only a vet can fix it. Good luck.

                  2. We had the same issue with our dog, but honestly I took the CBD advice and it really helped out. I would highly recommend using CBD to calm your dog down before brushing her teeth.

          6. Use the anesthesia free cleaning it works great. Also pass along to anyone who needs a rigor their pet to insist on isoflorine…it is super safe and gentle

            1. the right one is Sevoflurane not Isoflurane, Iso is an old cheap gas that vets like to use because it is cheap. I am a retired former rep who introduced Sevo to human Drs in Michigan in the 90s . Sevo is way safer and gentler on the dog or cat. I sold them both, so I am not biased. I worked for Abbott Labs. look it up. Also some dog breed are more sensitive than others, also be very careful of the narcs they give your dog again some are very sensitive and they can be deadly, Black Russian Terriers are one breed that is known to be sensitive so overdose much be carefully watched for.

          7. I use a little stainless steel dental tool that I picked up at a yard sale. It has right angle small hooks on either end that are flat. I gently scrape off the plaque starting from the gum line and down toward the end of each tooth. I usually only do 1 or 2 teeth at a time and wait a day or two and do another 1 or 2 and so on. The plaque will slide right off. I keep treats handy too. Hope that helps.

          8. I use greenies or some other teeth brushing treat at night for my baby girl. She loves them & according to our groomer & vet her teeth are very good/healthy. However, I did have to have them cleaned once under anesthesia cause she needed to have a couple teeth pulled too. That was a couple yrs ago & now her & mouth & teeth are all happy and healthy.

          9. I don’t know where you are located but in British Columbia and Alberta there is a company called Gentle Dental that does an amazing job anesthetic free. They are very loving and gentle and sit on the floor with your dog on their back on their laps – very little if any stress. My girl’s teeth are gleaming – although I do brush her teeth (almost) every night!

            1. Thanks for sharing that Patricia. I hope the service, from QUALIFIED professionals, becomes more available for the dogs that need it.

          10. I use a dental rinse from vet and brush their teeth. My chihuahua has terrible plaque but lets me scrap them with a dental tool. The more you do it the more they get used to the procedure. I started out just putting toothpaste on his brush and let him kinda chew on it. Within two weeks I. Ould brush for a minute. Now it just like brushing their hair. Good luck

      2. How do you brush your Maltese’ teeth? I have an 8 year old Maltese and brush his teeth every other day. I couldn’t find the information on what this article says about how they brush their dogs teeth.
        Thanks Annmarie

      3. I had my small Sheltie put under for teeth cleaning and it liked to kill him. His eyes rolled back in his head and he was groggy for 3-4 days. Maybe it was just him, but I will never do that again.

    3. I live on the Island of Cozumel in Mexico. Veterinarians here never give dogs anesthesia in order to clean their teeth. They give them a muscle relaxer and clean away. My dogs are relaxed and have no issue with the cleaning. Their teeth sparkle afterwards. By the way, it costs around $30 US.

    4. What area are you in? I know someone very good with this service in Alberta. Check out pet dental on Facebook for pics and info.

        1. I am in Alberta too. Just give your dogs 2 natural, dried cows ears a week minimum & their teeth will love you, so will your dogs. *make sure they are dried cows ears not pigs ears, they have to much fat.

      1. What part of Alberta are you in? I’m in Alberta. I have my Doxies teeth done yearly as they are very bad. Costs upwards of 1000.00. My dogs are very important to me. They are getting older and the anesthesia aspect is starting to worry me. To try an alternative would be great.

    5. I’m SOLD on anesthesia-free cleaning. Truth be told……..there are only SO MANY times a dog can be put under anesthesia and survive! I recommend the yearly anesthesia-free cleaning PLUS a weekly dog treat designed to ward off plaque and bad breath in between visits. Thank you for posting!

      1. Thanks for commenting!

        That’s part of what worries me about regular teeth cleaning. If they NEED to have it done anesthesia, fine. But to put them under 1-2 times a year (like vets recommend) for routine cleaning? I’m not so sure myself. I know others disagree. And some, like you, totally agree.

        Although our doggie dentist recommends the anesthesia free cleaning 2 times a year we, like you, get it done once and give plenty of chews that will naturally scrape the plaque off.

    6. Hello. New to this; never have posted on a blog before. Hope this works.

      The Article didn’t give any specifics, nor have any of the subsequent posts about HOW anesthesia-free cleaning is done. I had my 2 1/2 yr-old min pin’s teeth cleaned in December for her 1st time – no anesthesia.

      She’s not been around many strangers & so is suspicious/afraid of them. I was expecting at least a screaming Mimi although I’m a shelter volunteer & understood the procedure they were going to do (they wouldn’t let me in the van to watch either) & knew she wouldn’t be hurting in any way, only frightened & uncooperative..

      A van with a vet & two techs makes the rounds to various pet store parking lots and does the dogs signed up for that location that day. What they do is “bundle” the dogs up tight in a large towel – they call it a “dog burrito.” That immobilizes them so they can’t struggle & fight/bite during the procedure. Then they use ultrasound to get the tartar off.

      Color me amazed – in 15 minutes they handed me back a calm, quiet min pin with pearly whites along with a carbon copy of her dental exam results from the vet on board! Not even a peep of protest did I hear from her. Cost: $125.

      They make the rounds throughout the Santa Clarita valley in southern California. They are by my pet store monthly. Easy on both of us & very handy; we can walk to the pet store & then back home afterwards. The pet store has their appt sheet inside so you can just sign up for a time for their next scheduled visit day anytime.

      I don’t know whether this service is offered elsewhere, but boy, it sure works & doesn’t stress out the dogs at all, it seems – at least not in my case, & I expected the worst from my min pin in terms of not being cooperative & localizing her feelings!

      I’m also going to look for the dried cow’s ears. No one mentioned where you can get them; I’ve never heard of them before, only pig ears, which I’d never give her.

      1. “…Vocalize her feelings…” Not “localize her feelings.” Sorry I missed that autocorrect.

          1. Frances, brushing is one way. But the point of this article is that I don’t do that. It sounds like you don’t either. Did you read the article I liked to that explains what I do, besides anesthesia free teeth cleaning, to help keep my dog’s teeth clean? In case you missed it, you can see it here: https://youdidwhatwithyourweiner.com/one-way-to-clean-your-dogs-teeth-without-brushing/

            Let me know if you have any specific questions and I’ll do my best to help.

      2. Hi Beth, I live in Los Angeles. What is the name of the van with vet & 2 cleaners?
        Many thanks and all the best to your luv doggies.

    7. I have never been able to brush my dog’s teeth. I started giving them kong chew toys with unrefined coconut oil. Their teeth are pearly white and breath is fresh. I startedwhen i had a dog with an infected tooth. They wanted to put her under and remove tooth. At age 12 it was considered risky. I started treating with coconut oil. It healed and all Of her teeth improved.

      1. Hi Kim. While I do give Chester and Gretel coconut oil, I never thought about putting it in a treat toy. I just started doing this for Gretel now that you mentioned it. Because she has to lick it out bit-by-bit, my hope is that it will be more effective for protecting her teeth.

        1. Hi guys. I am from south Australia and not so wealthy. I give my two boys carrots. We started with grated on their food, now whole raw carrots every day. I make my own bisciuits, grated apples, pears, rolled Oates, shredded chicken carrots and whatever is in the fridge. They are not vegetarian they also get raw chicken wings twice a week. Yoghurt a spoonful once or twice a week. Never canned food. Dry dog biscuits only in small amounts. So really varied has made a great difference. Little teeth cleaning required. They love dinner time to see what mum has made.

          1. Chicken bones can slither and cut their stomach. Plus they can
            get it hung in their throat and choke. Vets do not recommend that.
            Hope you are watching them close while they are eating.

      2. How do u give ur dog a kong with unrefined coconut oil? Rub the kong with it? I’m not dumb but i have no clue what u mean.

        Please explain we just got a new,puppy and she loves her kong, so I’d like to try it


    8. I can tell evetyone that is commenting and read this article truly loves their pet. However I feel the need to shed some light on the procedure that they are supporting unknowingly is causing more harm than good. Please visit the following site and scroll down for the document regarding anesthetic free dentistry. http://www.toothvet.ca. this information is from a board certified veterinary dentist. I just feel you need yo know all thr facts before making a decision that directly impacts your pet’s health.

      1. Hi Carley. Thanks for sharing. My blog is located in the US. It seems the practice is not vilified as much here by veterinarians. For example, there is this article: According to an article by Martin Downs Animal Hospital – Anesthetic-free pet teeth cleaning – an educated view (http://www.vet4yourpet.net/medical/anesthetic-free-pet-teeth-cleaning-educated-view/): “In the early stages of tartar build-up and gingivitis [stage 1 or stage 2 dental care], the pet’s teeth can be cleaned effectively without anesthesia. A recent double-blind study on this subject was published in Integrative Veterinary Care Journal confirming the validity of non-anesthetic teeth cleaning in pets. The study finds: “After the Professional Outpatient Preventative Dentistry (POPD) was completed, no residual plaque or calculus was detected on any dogs or cats and there were no post treatment complications. Although a POPD is not intended to be a substitute for anesthetic dentistry, it may prove to be a valuable supplemental treatment.” The key here being stage 1 or stage 2.

        I’ve compiled a simple, thorough list of arguments AGAINST anesthesia-free teeth cleaning as a replacement for thorough teeth cleaning here: https://youdidwhatwithyourweiner.com/cleaning-your-dogs-teeth-anesthesia-free-teeth-cleaning-is-not-evil/. However, I’re presented the other side too. Of special note is that every single article or paper I read against the procedure make the arguments from the assumption that one is using it in place of an extensive tooth examination under anesthesia for a dog that is in great need of dental care. I present it as an alternative to regular maintenance like brushing teeth. Also, in articles I write about the procedure, I make it clear that cleaning with no anesthesia is not the same as a thorough cleaning with you pet sedated. I think I do a pretty good job of being clear about “the facts” about this procedure.

    9. I did have my weiner-baby’s teeth cleaned once under anesthesia at a cost of $700+. Her vet identified a cracked tooth with potential problems, thus going the whole 9 yards.

      Otherwise, she has been having the non-anesthesia cleaning twice annually for about 5 years now. She will be 11 years and otherwise in pretty-good shape. NOTE* Some tooth cleaning techs are BETTER than others. I am searching now for a more experienced one as the original one has moved.

      1. Thanks for sharing your success story. It’s very true that not all tooth cleaning techs are created equal. I hope you can find an new one as good as your first one was.

    10. Raw Beef marrow bones cut in 2 inch chunks keep my pups teeth bright white. They are thick and hard so they don’t break easily and the marrow they get out is super healthy for them.

    11. I have fed my 13 year old golden retriever carrots since she was a young pup teething. The vet has bragged on how clean her teeth are. She gets a carrot everytime the refrigerator door is opened. She stands there and waits for her carrot. I do not give raw hides or bones.

    12. They gobble down those raw meaty bones because they love them. I’ve never brushed my dog’s teeth before. I can’t imagine doing so. Dogs don’t have to brush their teeth. To think that they do is cartoonish and silly. Raw bones are much softer than you think, especially in the jaws of a dog (or even a cat). I’ve been feeding my dog raw chicken legs, thighs, and necks since he was about 2 months old. (My cat as well, although not as often as it takes her several hours to eat a chicken leg, bone and all, to my dog’s 20 seconds or so). The bone is a great source of calcium while scraping those teeth clean, the meat is full of protein, the skin is full of good fats, and the marrow is packed with ALL SORTS of good stuff. Don’t shy away from meaty bones. They’re extremely beneficial. Their teeth are literally designed for that sort of thing.

      1. Hi Dersey. Do you have any “cuts” of bone, or specific brands, that you recommend? I’ve tried rib bones but my dogs broke big chunks off. That made me nervous and it also meant they weren’t doing the desired chewing action to clean teeth. I’ve tried the big marrow bones but they are uninterested after they eat the marrow out. I’d love to try incorporating meaty bones again though.

    13. I had a miniature Dachshund mixed with yorkie(Dorkie), age 1, 10 pounds, took him in to have his teeth cleaned and a scraggler baby tooth removed, it was quoted at a 30 minute total procedure. My baby was under for an hour, they never did clean his teeth and after an hour of anesthesia his heart stopped and after 15 minutes of attempting to revive my Oakley, I was never able to pick him up from the vet. Instead I received him via UPS in an urn. Any treatment without anesthesia is highly recommended. A necropcy was performed by an outside pathologist and he was in top shape, no health issues at all. Caution with anesthesia for all dogs, healthy, sick, young, old, large or tiny. I realize the odds of dying under anesthesia is 1/100,000 yes that’s right but that 1 does happen.

    14. I found an amazing product 12 years ago at Costco. It is called Checkups. Of course, Costco discontinued them. I now buy them on Boxed. I have a 12 year old Border Collie that has really nice breath and just the beginnings of some plaque. I give one each night after the lasty trip outside.

  2. I’ve always been curious about the anesthesia free teeth cleanings. I’ve performed tons of dental cleanings under anesthesia. I’d say they did a pretty good job! Dachsunds always seemed more prone to building up tartar. That’s a huge price tag. I worked for a very expensive clinic and our prices weren’t even that high… more like $200-$300 bucks I’d say. Sometimes a little less. Oh yea… I don’t really brush my dog’s teeth either lol…

    1. $500 IS a lot but is the going average (among the 4 vets I have contacted) in Seattle….for the minimum! If your dog needs deep cleaning or extractions it could be closer to $1,000. I am going to keep looking for more of a “bargain” though. I know Gretel will probably need a cleaning under anesthesia in the next few years.

    1. Would you please let me know which vet she found in seattle that did the non anesthesia cleaning?
      Admitting to not brushing my dogs teeth too!

      1. I don’t remember the name of the vet but he visits All the Best Pet Care to do the anesthesia free cleaning. The link to the information is in the post. I think the web page it links to has the vets’ name.

          1. The last time I went in, it was $175 each for the anesthesia cleaning. Sorry, I don’t have time to email people directly but will respond if you message me through our Facebook page or at Jessica(at)pettalkmedia(dot)com.

  3. Thank you for sharing this! I’ve been wanting to do this. Anesthesia can be so hard on dogs, especially little ones, so this option looks way better than the old way of doing it.
    Their teeth look great too!

    1. I am sitting with my dog, petting her and trying to help her recover from a dental cleaning she had 2 days ago. they pulled all her molars. I am feeding her soft food and giving her antibiotics. Her personality has changed since the anesthesia. My rambunctious, sweet loving Molly is subdued and lethargic.
      I gave them dental treats everyday but did not brush their teeth. My dogs are King Charles spaniels, 8 years old, litter mates. Copper is due forbhis dental but I don’t think I will ever do this to them again.
      I live near Atlanta and don’t know if anesthesia free dentistry is available.

      Therc has to be a better way.


      1. Sorry your pup is having a hard time recovering from the anesthesia. In my experience, it always a takes a few days for it to fully wear of and for them to return to their normal selves. Unfortunately, when there is dental disease present, and teeth that need extracted, anesthesia is the only way to go. There isn’t another option. Doggy dentists can only do routine cleaning without using anesthesia.

        If Copper only needs some tartar scraped, I would definitely do a Google search for anesthesia-free teeth cleaning in your area. Atlanta is such a large city, I would be pretty surprised if that option was not there.

      2. Please Chris, try natural dried cows ears. I have miniature poodles and never take them to the vet for teeth cleaning. They are not rawhide, they are the cartridge in the ear flap. Your dogs will love you & you will never need another vet cleaning again. Cost is about $1.99 each. Minimum of two a week. There will be some bleeding when they first start chewing them, but that is because their gums have gon soft. Good luck.

  4. Every year when I take the dogs in for teeth cleaning the price has jumped another $100 or more. And there is the fear from the anesthetic. This looks like a great alternative.

  5. Didn’t know this was an option. His teeth look great in the after shot!

    I recently started brushing Rita’s teeth with coconut oil. Read you only have to brush them every other week. Hope it’s true! So far so good.

    1. Ok I am going to sound like a twit but dont bones and things like that keep the teeth clean . I have two dogs and if i notice something on their teeth I scrap it off soemtimes it is harder then others and my guys are not too happy but it works .
      I thank you all for great advice.

      1. Hi April. Yes, bones help to keep a dog’s teeth cleaned…IF your dog will chew on bones. My dogs won’t. Or rather they will chew on the thinner ones but they break off chunks and swallow them (which I am not comfortable with). They aren’t interested in the big ones. A lot of the difference between dogs with clean and dirty teeth is genetics. Sounds like you and your pups got lucky. I got lucky with Chester but not so lucky with Gretel. Most dogs will need a real dental cleaning done at least once in their lives. For dogs not showing signs of gum disease, anesthesia-free cleaning can be an option. Some dogs will need x-rays and must be put under anesthesia for that.

        1. I always watch them with bones. Accidents can happen while chewing on anything….choking, cracked teeth, etc….so dogs should always be watched with stuff.

  6. I do the anesthesia free dental cleanings on my 3 weenies. I love it! The less I have to put them under anesthesia the better in my opinion…. They seem to like it – no problems. I really like that the “dentists” will also stop (& not charge for what they’ve done) and let you know if they need to go in for a “regular” cleaning as well.

    1. Thanks for the info – I have a chiweenie (chihuahua/dachsund) and I do brush his teeth every day but he still has really bad teeth and requires a full dentistry every year. It’s not the money I care about, it’s him going under anesthesia. Sometimes he has to have extractions, but right now I think it’s just a really good cleaning is due. How does this other cleaning work? Do they somehow bind them so they don’t struggle? Isn’t that stressful for them? Please advise!

      1. Sorry to hear about your pups teeth. I am convinced that, like with people, some dogs just have good genes and fewer teeth problems. I would be concerned about putting my dogs under anesthesia once a year too.

        During the anesthesia teeth cleaning I was not allowed to watch them do it. The vet said that the dog does not relax enough with it’s Mamma there to perform a good, safe cleaning. However, based on photos and the description I was given, The vet holds a small dog between their legs so they can’t move their body (I think the dog is sitting on a box or something) and holds their jaw in their hands. He said they usually struggle for a few seconds but then relax and he is able to perform the cleaning.

        The vet was very clear that this cleaning is not as thorough as a cleaning under anesthesia. He can’t get deep under the gum line and there are no X-rays. Its IS a great alternative for dogs that have relatively healthy teeth and just need some of the tartar knocked off to help prevent tooth problems in the future.

  7. Interesting! I’ve often been curious about this too. Now that Bella is older, I’m even more hesitant to put her under for anything. I may have to ask my vet about this one.

    Oh, and another trick my vet gave me (as my two also hate having their teeth brushed) is to use CET Hextra Dental Chews… the dogs LOVE them and apparently they help reduce plaque. It’s not as good as brushing, of course, but it seems to help!

  8. I love that you admitted you don’t brush your dogs teeth….I don’t also. We have a 13 year old mini doxie and she has never had anything done to her teeth…..I know baaaaddd doxie momma, we just thought giving her rawhide bones treated to clean teeth and milk bones would be ok AND we just can’t afford the cost. Now said 13 yr old is on Lasix and the vet wants me to bring her in for a cleaning. 1. We are down to 1 income coming in. (I am currently unemployed) 2. She is 13! is putting her under really a good idea? I feel terrible they have gotten bad but what else can I do? I am proud to say she gets her Lasix daily even if I forget my own meds sometimes. Any other affordable options????

    1. I was the same as you, and had to have my 13 year old dachshund go in for a teeth cleaning this past January. Honestly, it depends on the dog. My vet did a lot of tests (bloodwork, urinalysis, chest x-rays) before deciding that he was healthy enough to go under anesthesia. He had the procedure done and everything went without a hitch, although he was a little groggy that night. I do brush both of my doxies teeth now, but it seems to me that bones do more to reduce tartar than anything.

      If cost is a concern, the Banfield pet plans (the vet clinic in Petsmart) make it pretty affordable, but, as with most chain stores, it can be hit or miss depending on your area.

      Good luck!

      1. Cost is a consideration for me but not a deterrent in any way. I would totally spring for the cleaning if they needed it. I am not overly worried about the anesthesia because I know that many of these procedures are performed daily without comp0lications. It’s just a “concern” of mine to do it “unnecessarily” if the vet hasn’t told me it is necessary. I am thinking of doing it just so I can get x-rays and be sure though.

        1. Sorry, Jessica, I posted that in response to Melissa’s post. It probably would’ve helped if I addressed the post towars her, huh? I think it’s great you were able to do it anesthesia free, and I’m definetely impressed with the results! It probably helps to have such a sweet and gentle patient too though 😉

            1. I bought TropiClean Fresh Breath Clean Teeth Gel for my dachshund. My precious cocker spaniel would actually show me his teeth when I got out the toothbrush, the dachshund…nah. I rub the gel along his teeth and let him lick a drop, too. If I use it regularly, his teeth do look cleaner.

              1. I tried that once but Chester and Gretel hated it. They ran around the house for 10 minutes shaking their heads and digging at their mouth. *sigh* They are so stubborn.

                  1. What do you think of lambs ears? Might they work too? I worry about the calories in a cow ear due to the size (big and my dogs are only 10 lbs).

  9. I’m concerned with health issues with any kind of heavy cleaning without antibiotics to keep the bacteria out of the bloodstream. Any comments or guidance on this?

    I think locally (northern California) a vet is required by law to at least oversee even any cleanings without anesthesia for this reason.

  10. We think those results are pretty pawsome. Our mom bought the toothpaste & brush about 3 months ago…she still hasn’t actually gotten around to using them on us though.
    Wally & Sammy

  11. I clean my guys teeth every year. My vets says the teeth problem is mostly a small dog problem but was interested in your grain free comment, my doxie is on gluten-free grain-free because I thought that was best.

  12. That’s so funny….”sock dental floss”
    Yes, that is deifnitely a hot topic that people feel very strongly about.

    I try and brush Sienna’s teeth about once a week but there are weeks that get missed. I also rub a little coconut oil on her gums because it kills bacteria (I heard) and is good for inflammation. Plus she loves the taste. There is no way I am putting Sienna under anaesthesia to get her teeth cleaned so I’ll be curious to hear how it goes with Gretel. I have heard the results are no where near as good as with a cleaning under anasethesia but Chester’s teeth sure do look good.

    The other thing I have noticed confirming what they said- I brought Sienna in recently for a nail clipping and I held her while they tried to clip her nails and she went ballistic. I have never seen her like that…she almost but me and them. They suggested bringing her into a room out of my site and it was like Jekyll and Hyde,. She turned into the sweetest, calmest doggie. Lesson learned. I was transferring my anxiety to her.

  13. That is very interesting, thanks for sharing. I have noticed more tartar on my dog’s teeth lately and we have switched to grain free food in the last 6 months. I have started brushing their teeth every night . . . . we will see how long this lasts!

  14. We have had similar paths and issues. We’ve done the $500 vet cleanings, and have tried the same pet store teeth cleaner. We were pleased with the pet store cleaning, but our vet was horrified that we did it say that the dog could be harmed by infections, slipped tools and other horrors. We have heard of cheaper vets, and think about trying them too.
    However, more recently, we have gone back to tooth brushing. If I’m correct, the current toothpaste for dogs has an enzymatic action. Much of the work gets done by the enzymes, and not as much by the brushing. So, I disciplined myself to start using it regularly. We are now on our 2nd tube of paste. The first one was “meat” flavor, and the current one is anchovy or something like that.
    Our dogs are now lining up to get their teeth brushed because they love the flavor. The fingertip brush takes a few seconds, where I do one side and then the other. Then, they line up to lick the past off the brush.
    When I brush them regularly, I notice that their breath odor is much improved. I think the tartar is going down as well, but that’s not as easy to tell.
    Every dog is different, but ours (3 of them) sure like the paste and don’t mind me lifting their lips to brush briefly on one side, and then the other.

    1. Anesthesia Free Teeth Cleaning – Began in California and was developed over 35 years ago by Cindy Collins. She is the foremost expert in this field. However, the California state board shut her down about 2 years ago. They also said that animals were being hurt but could not provide any prof of this happening. There is a lot of information regarding her and her fight to keep AFTC legal without a vet in attendance. She and her company had cleaned millions of dogs and cats teeth.

      1. Thanks for the information. A veterinarian performs our anesthesia free teeth cleaning but I know of places where a vet doesn’t. I don’t necessarily disagree with that. Technicians can do a wonderful job. I do think the people should have SOME KIND of formal training though. I will look into this.

    2. Hi Bruce, try natural dried cows ears. They really work. My boy Levi, small standard poodle, gets at least 2 a week. When I take him to my vet he cannot believe how clean his teeth are. They are not rawhide, they are the cartridge in the ears that is stripped of the rawhide and dried. They are very hard and it takes a lot of chewing action for him to get it eaten. At first there was a lot of blood on it because his gums were so soft. Now his mouth is clean & healthy. I learned this several years back from a reputable poodle breeder. Try them you will be glad you did & your dogs will love you for it.

      1. Hi Cy. I heard back from Bruce and this is what he said: “I asked the vet about that since I had gotten ours from her. She said any pet store toothpaste with enzyme action would be fine. I think the vet uses this one.” https://amzn.to/2LibYom (affiliate link so I, Jessica, get a small commission for referring you)

  15. Whew, $500?! Ouch. I do brush Nola’s teeth daily, partly for the reason your vet mentioned with the high protein diet, and partly because doggie breath makes me want to vomit. And I like her shiny white teeth. :p

  16. Looks like excellent results! I admire your public confession 🙂 We use dental chews and I try to brush our pack’s teeth once a week. Jeffie and Rudy hate it. So far Rosie doesn’t mind. At Jeffie’s vet checkup last month, our vet was surprised his teeth looked so good, so I think we’re doing okay.

  17. Gosh I just had Thunder’s teeth cleaned and a bit of gum over growth removed so he had to have anesthesia. I didn’t pay anywhere near $500. His teeth were actually in good shape and this was his first cleaning. Now that he is 7 he got that bit of gum over growth and I wanted the vet to look under and make sure it wasn’t something bad (like a tumor). It wasn’t, just old age starting…lol.

  18. That’s amazing! Mom brushes my teeth every day, but I still turn up looking like the Before picture. I wish there was a no-sleep-tooth-cleaner-guy around here!

    Love and licks,

  19. Woof! Woof! My mom hardly brushed my teeth too. Definitely the high protein diet. I had that issues. I switched to grain free due to my allergies which helps a lot with my teeth too. DIET according to our vet is very important to maintain good teeth. Dental chews does not work for me (as it gives me digestive problems).
    WOW! what a great result. Golden Thanks for sharing. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  20. I did this method with Sampson and posted about and was told by the vet techs that despite my having the plaque scraped off, it was important for him to be put out and have a good review of his teeth because sometimes there is underlying issues with their gums.

    It is costly in CT too, I was told about $700 and that’s if no teeth need to be pulled. I had a friend who had it done and it cost her about $1,200. I’m also leery about putting him under but will discuss it with my vet on Thursday as that is when Delilah is scheduled for her yearly.

    I’m glad it worked out okay for you, his teeth look gorgeous!

    1. It was great to meet you too. I wish we lived closer because I could see us hanging out more 🙂

  21. My dogs are raw fed and never need this. If they have dirty teeth you are feeding a food that is inappropriate for them. Just another of many reasons to feed raw. Your dogs are just healthier and don’t need heart worm “preventatives” which are dangerous and not effective. They get stomach worms much less too. You say it costs too much? Consider the vet bills I don’t have. Zero!

  22. I have conditioned my dogs over the years to calm down and let me do it myself. They don’t like it but they lie there and let me do it. My Blue Heeler hates it but lets me brush and de-plaque with a dental pick every few months. Far better than having any type of vet do it. He calms if I place his head gently between my legs and he’s on his back. But I have been doing it since he was very little. He is a larger dog, and less likely (like a Daschound) to bite me. I just did it today, another success, and saved $150-500 dollars. And my old 12 yr old dog from dying in anesthesia.

    1. Thanks for the info. I heard you can get a dental pick and do it yourself but never talked to anyone who has done it. My Dachshunds don’t bite and tolerate me clipping their nails (even if I accidentally cut the quick) so it might be an option for me. They don’t like me messing with their mouth though so maybe not…..just have to try sometime I guess.

    2. I’m sure you do a far better job than any vet could do. You scrape off the tartar every few months and I’m sure the crowns of the teeth look real pretty while the true problem (what is under the gumline) is completely and ignorantly ignored for years. Then you eventually realize the problem and you bring him to your vet who puts him under anesthesia and takes dental xrays and you see what that infection under the gumline has done and finally realize how truly ignorant you are. You are not saving your dog from dying under anesthesia. You are committing him to a lIfetime of unseen pain and suffering.

      1. I don’t appreciate your sarcasm as you might have cleverly hoped that I would. As I stated, I am not adverse to having my dog’s teeth cleaned under anesthesia. IF my vet recommended it, I would have it done as soon as they could schedule us. My vet HAS NOT recommended cleaning to us (I ask every time I go in…several times a year). Some people brush their dog’s teeth in hopes of maintaining dental and gum health. I don’t brush my dog’s teeth but instead have them cleaned anesthesia-free periodically. My preventative measures may be different but are no more or less effective than brushing. Anesthesia free-cleaning is not something I did in order to escape my real responsibility of caring for my dog’s health. If you read my blog before insulting me, you would have seen that I am a VERY studious dog parent and would have understood that this is not something I did to avoid a proper dental cleaning all together.

            1. Just want to say, I appreciate your common sense attitude to dog care, I have scraped my 7 yr old English setters teeth about once a year since she began needing it. Yes, the gum bleeds a bit, but she dosen’t seem hurt and no infections (so far). I did this out of my own concerns and her teeth are white and clean , no stain. If the vet told me she needed a cleaning, I wd opt for the non anesthesia deal. I would not risk her life. I love my dog more than a lot of people in my life and I try to be educated and up on the newest information on what things are in her best interest, I do not brush her teeth,but do rub coconut oil on her gums weekly.

              1. Hi Marcia. It sounds like you are doing what you can to take care of your dog’s teeth. While anesthesia has risks, so does undiscovered tooth/gum disease (which can’t always be 100% caught without anesthesia and x-rays). My aim was to provide information so that people can make the decision that is best for them and their dog. Personally, I would only do the anesthesia teeth cleaning if my vet said my dog really needed it for purposes of X-rays (ie. saw signs that there might be an issue under the gums).

      2. Could you possibly get your ideas across without such sarcasm and meanness? Would you have spoken in this manner to this lady as you posted via computer to her? Don’t you think that world needs more kindness and understanding, rather than sarcasm? Each of us contributes by our words to the general peace in this world, incident by incident and word by word.

        1. Hi Lyn. Thank you for reading my blog comments! Not everyone takes the time to do that.

          I assume your “meanness” statement was aimed at the original comment by “Jessica” and not me (whose name is also Jessica…confusing huh?). Mean and insulting comments used to really hurt my feelings but then I had to remember that someone that feels ok with insulting random strangers online has some anger inside of them (so it has nothing to do with me) or they had a bad experience and don’t have the skills to communicate that in a way that ads to the conversation and educates people. I try to consider these things when I respond and try to do so in a fair way.

          “Each of us contributes by our words to the general peace in this world, incident by incident and word by word.” —> I couldn’t agree with you more! You sound like a very wonderful person.

          1. Jessica’s comment might have been ‘mean’ but she was probably upset with the suffering-promotion that this blog entry is. White teeth are not, and cannot be any indication of the health of the dog’s gumline. If your vet thinks otherwise, you should get a new one. There are bad vets out there. The facts are that white teeth are not evidence that the underlying tissue is healthy. There is no arguing around this, unless you can present a peer-reviewed study to the contrary. I’m afraid that people who offer anesthesia-free cleanings are just money-grubbing opportunists who prey on those who are afraid and/or not made of money for what their dogs need. I sympathize, but pretending the anesthesia-free procedure is equivalent to even brushing is not the solution.

            1. The anesthesia-free procedure isn’t equivalent to brushing, but her point is that it’s better than nothing at all.

              For those unwilling/unable to btush their pets teeth, and/or unwilling/unable to afford anesthetic dental care, this may be an alternative.

  23. I went the grain free food direction also, I haven’t noticed a differencenin their teeth (I have a Golden and a Doxy). I have noticed a ton more energy, less skin issues. I clean their teeth once a month…some times are better than others. I give them hard dog chews and bones to chomp on….seems to be working.

    1. I guess when your dog’s already have a ton of energy and no skin problems, you aren’t going to notice many changes 🙂 I know they are healthier inside though.

  24. If you were aware of the composition of “grain free: dog foods, you wouldn’t have been surprised when changing to one impacted your dog’s teeth negatively.

    Process corn and wheat have gotten an unfair bad rap. The forms in which they are normally used are intended to provide not nutrition, but bulk in the form of fiber.

    What most of the GF foods substitute for processed corn and wheat is brewers rice – “a processed rice product that is missing many of the nutrients contained in whole ground rice and brown rice thus reducing the quality.

    Brewers rice and second heads are one of the many byproducts that rice milling creates. Second heads are milled rice kernels that are one half to three quarters of the original kernel. Brewers rice is a milled rice kernel that is one quarter to half the size of a full kernel. Second heads, depending on their quality are used to make rice flour. “If the quality of the second heads are poor, they will be sold for pet food or dairy feed. Brewers rice is sold for pet food and dairy feed exclusively.” – wikipedia article

    When milled rice is used instead of corn or wheat, it is lacking in fiber and high in carbohydrates that are easily digestible by the bacteria found in a normal dog’s saliva. Those bacteria are what produces tartar.

    Another misconception about dog food is the use of animal byproducts. That intestines and organ meats are not on the average American table is because of conditioning, not nutrition. The two largest pet food companies test their products for adequate nutrition not just by lab analysis, but with dogs on controlled diets over their entire lifetimes. When independent research indicates that a supplement or vitamin is beneficial for improving or maintaining dogs’ health, it is tested on dogs, then incorporated.

    In the US no major manufacturer of dog food uses any meat source that isn’t eaten by humans somewhere in the world. Many pet food labels don’t manufacture what they sell; they have their food made for them by one of a very few processor, who blend stock ingredients, and/or stock kibbles, add dyes, mold it into pellets and deliver it in bulk. That’s why recalls are often multi-label across several pet food company’s products.

    As far as your dog is concerned, unless it has a specific allergy, fat is fat, carbs are carbs, and protein is protein, Protein is protein, whatever organ it comes from. If the source, or more likely the manufacturing facility, becomes contaminated, the entire manufacturing chain from that point onward becomes contaminated, requiring not only recalls, but plant shutdowns and inspections.

    1. Thanks for the insight. I am confused though because the gain-free kibble I feed Chester and Gretel doesn’t have any brewers rice or milled rice.

      Theses are the ingredients: Deboned lamb, lamb meal, duck meal, whitefish meal, whole peas, red lentils, field beans, whole potato, deboned duck, whole eggs, deboned walleye, duck fat, herring oil, lamb liver, herring meal, sun-cured alfalfa, pea fibre, whole apples, whole pears, sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, parsnips, carrots, spinach, cranberries, blueberries, kelp, chicory root, juniper berries, angelica root, marigold flowers, sweet fennel, peppermint leaf, lavender, rosemary.

      I don’t see what ingredient on this list would cause increased tartar on the teeth.

      1. The availability of carbs in the ingredients is the key factor. In human nutrition, relative availability of carbs is measured as the “glycemic index”

        When processed, whole peas, red lentils, field beans, and whole potato all have high glycemic indexes.

        Whole apples, whole pears, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, cranberries, blueberries as incorporated into dog kibble all have more readily available carbohydrates before processing than do corn and wheat after processing.

        If these ingredients were consumed as whole raw fruits and vegetables, they’d be better for a dog and a dog’s teeth. Most would still have a lot of readily available carbs in sugar form and simple starches, but all but the berries would have enough unprocessed fiber to help scour away plaque before it could calcify into tartar.

        Carrots, cranberries, blueberries and chicory root could stain plaque or tartar, making it look worse than it is.

    2. Peter, please advise where I can find materials…names, books, articles I can read to understand more about dog nutrition. I have a 1 y.o. french bulldog and a 12 y.o chihuahua mix.

      Thank you so much!

  25. I’ve had many Dachshunds in the past that I didn’t do regular brushings. They had to go in for cleanings every year because of heavy buildup and terrible breath. Thank goodness my vet has been reasonably priced. The two minis I have now are brother and sister, like kids to me. Their toothbrushes and paste sit alongside mine. They seem to expect the ritual and cooperate with the process, almost like they look forward to it. It only takes a few minutes since we are so practiced and their teeth are white and breath fresh.

  26. I will try anesthesia-free next time Quincy has his teeth cleaned. He just had them done a few days ago, and I knew he needed a couple removed, so we had to go with anesthesia this time. I’m not sure if Bentley would relax enough for anesthesia-free. Just clipping his toe nails is a 4 person job! I’d like to at least give it a shot though. I hate having them put under anesthesia.

  27. You know that anesthesia free teeth cleaning is not recommended by vets because it doesn’t get the tartar under the gum line, right? When a dog gets his teeth cleaned under anesthesia they probe under the gums with a pick to see if there are any pockets which would show erosion happening under there. Understandably, it hurts a little and bleeds a little, and dogs don’t like to sit still for this.

    I started brushing my dogs teeth daily from when he was a puppy, but I started on my cat after 2 years and shes much less tolerant. There are other products you can use that are less invasive than teeth brushing. I usually use an oral rinse on the cat. She’s very strong for her size (seriously, we call her Schwarzenegger because she’s 5 pounds max and can open all manner of doors by brute force jiggling) and doesn’t like being picked up. But I can get the rinse in her mouth in 2 minutes flat. Stick her hind legs on the edge of the sink so she can’t get her balance, facing her away from myself I quickly lift her head and stick the syringe in her mouth on both sides — done.

    There’s also an additive you can add to their water that will do the same thing as the rinse which I hear can be very effective. The only thing is that you must check to see if they’re avoiding the water because they don’t like the taste. I prefer the syringe method so I can control how much they get, and because half the time the cat likes to drink out the sink.

    1. Yes, I am aware about the anesthesia-free tooth cleaning is not as thorough. I even stated so – “but it is not as thorough as a deep cleaning with anesthesia”. Thanks for making sure I knew though.

      While not recommended by vets as a substitute for teeth cleaning WITH anesthesia, if your dog’s teeth and gums are healthy (as I stated Chester’s are), there is no harm is getting it done. If you do not brush your dog’s teeth, I think it is a great alternative.

      I am glad you found a system that works for you. Starting to brush from when they are a puppy is probably the best way to go if you are going to brush them. I’ll never say never but I don’t see brushing my dog’s teeth in my future. I have a little system myself and have wrote about it in another post. I use a combination of Plaque Off, antlers, and coconut oil. I may also try the anesthesia-free teeth cleaning. When my vet DOES recommend the anesthesia, thorough teeth cleaning I will get that done too.

  28. I had never heard that before about grain free causing tartar build up. Who knew?!? I have Brittanys and both what I consider heavier than normal tartar build up and we are getting ready to go in to have their teeth cleaned at the vet. I live in S. Florida and the average price is around $250 – $275 per dog. So glad to see a vet is doing the anesthesia free cleaning. We have a lot of “people” offering that service here that are NOT vets – it is around $40 – $50 and is often part of a dog/fun event…so kind of weird and not for me in this setting – I would consider it as a maintenance if it were done under veterinarian supervision though. I have the brushes, gels etc..my dogs really like them and tolerate the brushing…but I don’t think it really does anything in the long run. But they will lick all the doggie toothpaste you will give them!

    1. Oh my. There is no way I would let anyone but a vet perform the anesthesia-free teeth cleaning. As you said, it is a good option as maintenance as long as you have a safe place to get it done.

      I don’t know that I can claim that the grain-free food CAUSED the tartar buildup. There was a suspicious connection to me but everyone I talked to (vets as well as other people who feed grain-free) said it is not supposed to. Perhaps it was a fluke for us.

  29. I`ve been trying to brush our dogs teeth every other day or so. We have 5 rescues, 2 of which have horrible teeth. What does help is a scaler, which can be bought online for as little as 2$, if I see a big chunk of plaque I just get my husband to help me hold them down and gently remove it. They don`t really like the teeth brushing, but I`ve seen some results. Though I have heard feeding uncooked chicken bones to them fresh can help. Never tried it though

  30. Some raw diets include raw bones, if you can keep them bacteria free, but cooked bones can splinter and break a dog’s teeth or get caught in a dog’s intestines.

    My two senior dachshunds used to hate toothbrushing but I just switched to C.E.T. enzymatic toothpaste. It comes in a smelly fish flavor that my dogs love (also poultry and mint.) Honestly, they line up for it like it’s a treat. The brushing is just the price they have to pay to get it. I’m hoping it will cut down on expensive vet cleaning and extraction bills.

  31. We cannot brush Lola’s teeth. She sees that tub of paste, the toothbrush, or the finger brush and it’s like she runs….But if I’m just sitting there I can lift up her cheeks, check out her teeth all day – ugh. She is only 1 1/2 right now so not much to worry about right now, but we’ll have to keep an eye on them in the future. Good thing she’s a chewer….
    We’ll have to wait and see with Rio (once his big teeth come in), he might be a better candidate for at-home brushing, lol.

  32. Ooo! I get my daily brushings and yet it still doesn’t do much. I’m not sure why that is the case though. It was fine for a while and now the plaque is building up. What tools do they use for the cleaning? My sapiens are interested in doing the cleaning themselves at home!

    1. They use a pick/scrapey thing like they use at the dentist to clean human teeth, I DO know people who have picked up one of those tools (I think you can get them at some drugstores) and scrape the tartar off their dog’s teeth themselves. Your dog has to be calm, and it is no substitute for dental cleaning by a vet, but it can help knock the plaque down.

  33. Just be sure that the person doing the anesthetic-free dental knows what they are doing. Too many places aren’t run by vets, just laymen, and they just scale the visible stuff on the teeth – that brown stuff – and leave it at that. People go home happy thinking the problem is solved, but since dogs rarely get cavities, the brown stuff isn’t actually the problem. It’s the stuff under the gums which get into the bloodstream and cause heart disease and diabetes.

    A lot of anesthetic-free dental places don’t actually go under the gums because it’s painful and the dogs would freak out. Many of them also don’t polish after they have scraped off the tartar, which means that your pet’s teeth will have little grooves in them that plaque just LOVES to hide in. It’s clever – it makes your pet’s teeth worse, and guarantees that you’ll come back to them in 6 months or a year…

    1. Good reminder. I know this service has gotten popular so less qualified people are popping up and promising a lot.

      Our anesthesia free teeth cleaning was done by a vet. Yes, it doesn’t get under the gums as well as with anesthesia but he knows the warning signs to look for which, although it doesn’t catch everything, gives you a pretty good indication of their dental health. Also, I am pretty sure he did not polish their teeth but it’s been over a year and their teeth are not as bad as when I took them in for the cleaning. They DO eat raw food mostly and get things to chew on though.

      1. The raw food diet is probably the most important part. Our patients on raw diet tend to have way better teeth than your average kibble fed dog, although breed and brushing still makes a big difference. Obviously, a yorkie on raw still won’t have as good teeth as a pittie on kibble!

  34. Dogs are omnivores and getting a portion of their nutrition from grain is just fine. I am not willing to pay $50/bag for dog food. Anyway, no matter how fancy the breed, any dog would be happiest with a dead squirrel – no, I do not feed squirrels to my dogs, it’s just hyperbole.

    I have one 6 lb dog and one 120 lb dog. About 4 nights a week, we all sit down together and I use my finger to smear liver-flavored enzymatic toothpaste on the back teeth and at least the outside surfaces of the front teeth. The challenge is getting the paste on the teeth quickly before they lick it off my finger. Takes about 5 min for both dogs, including washing my hands afterward. Has worked like a charm and, at check up time, the vet always praises me and gives me a treat.

    1. That’s great Herb. I’ve tried that but as not as fast as you. They always lick it off my finger before I get it on their teeth 🙂 The anestensia-free teeth cleaning is a great option but not a cheap one for sure!

  35. I need to look into this option though I’m a bit nervous because I wonder if my dog will go exorcist on the vet as well lol. I do brush my dogs teeth but it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, she eats the same food as my previous dog but she’s just a plaque magnet. Maybe I’m discouraged because I don’t see quick results with brushing.

    I would love the option of a dental cleaning without anesthesia, I just didn’t realize until now it was an option. Thanks for all the great info.

  36. Soo…I do this on my Labrador Retriever myself. Don’t know if the “dentists” do something else…but based on them saying it’s a “good enough” job I’m inclined to think it’s similar.

    I just do the outsides of the teeth…she doesn’t let me do the insides…but I could see if you had something for them to bite on, then they’d be okay keeping their mouth open for you to reach in.

    I have her lie on her side on her dog bed w a pillow or something under her head, so she’s stable and comfortable and doesn’t feel vulnerable (vs flipped on her back between my legs).

    I use a basic (not sharp) dental pick and gently push her lips up w the rounded bit of my top knuckles so my fingernails don’t hit anything.

    Always gently, w small motions push on the plaque down and away from the gum line w the pick flat against the tooth. Controlled small motions so you don’t hit the point against the gum or lips (that makes them squirmy…just as I would be).

    Also, I never steady my hand across the bridge of her nose because I’ve heard that’s uncomfortable for them as makes them feel overly controlled/vulnerable too.

    And soft voice the whole time.

    She does like Pet Dental toothpaste…I always let her lick some off the brush at the start…and more try to time moving the brush in between letting her gnaw down on the brush…less tooth brushing and more toothbrush chewing…but it works.

    Good luck!

    1. Hi Petra. I have heard of people using a dental pick on their dogs but I am not sure I would be brave enough. Thanks for the tips though. I would probably do that before brushing and your explanation makes it seem attainable.

    1. Hi Brian. Yes, it is available in most major cities. It’s very important that you choose someone who knows what they are doing though (had formal training in anesthesia free teeth cleaning and knows how to identify dental problems that may need more in-depth treatment. A Google search revealed several in the Dallas area. Here are a couple that looked promising to me: http://www.thetexastoothfairyllc.com/pet_teeth_cleaning.aspx andhttp://cowtowncanines.com/other-services/. Good luck!

  37. I don’t brush my minpins’ teeth either. They were both adopted. One chews bones and needs a cleaning every 3 years or so. The other… Does not chew bones is super weird. For instance she will not drink water from a bowl out in the open. When she goes in her crate she drinks there. I think genes and the water bones thing is the readon her teeth are do bad. She had a dental less than a year ago and just had four abscessed teeth pulled! We also feed grain free. Did you decide to change food? The minpin I had before them only had one dental. She was not on grainfree food. Luckily where I live demtals are only $120.

    1. Wow. Only $120 for a dental cleaning? I wish.

      I have switched food since I wrote this but it wasn’t because of the teeth thing. I mostly feed then raw now because it really helped my senior Chester with his energy level.

      1. Thank you do much for responding. Yes we have a wonderful vet who keeps prices low. He removed abreast tumor from one of our foster pups for $80. He’s charged us $0-15 for other visits. Yearly visit are generally more expensive but the majority of that cost is hw prevention. When he retires I know I’ll be in for a sticker shock!

        1. I’ve used several brands over the years and continue to rotate them every few months. My favorites are Darwin’s Naturals, Nature’s Variety, and Vital Essentials.

          1. I have given my little, 6 pound Papillon raw marrow bones cut in 1/2 inch rounds as a means of cleaning his teeth. The bones were recommended by the breeder. That works great to clean his teeth! Our only problem is making sure our larger dog (45 lb Cattle dog/Rhodesian Ridgeback cross) does not get the marrow bones as she can Crack them and I am afraid she might swallow them. A raw beef ankle bone works for the bigger dog.

            I am uneasy about feeding raw food because I am afraid that I may not handle the raw food correctly and make my dogs sick. This is a personal choice for me but I commend anyone who loves their dog enough to do the very best for them!

    1. The doggy dentist that cleaned Chester’s teeth did. Since anesthesia-free cleaning has not yet been standardized, it’s my understanding that results can vary. It’s always best to find a vet, vet technician, or doggy dentist to do it.

  38. With all the flack you received from people saying anesthesia-free tooth cleanings didn’t clean plaque beneath the gumline, not one of the naysayers suggested using a waterpik, yet they dare to call themselves zealots.

  39. I’m honestly glad I’m not the only one. Yes it’s bad but my shepsky girl is wayyy to stubborn and hates her mouth being messed with. Instead I want to continue with her raw diet- but also i seen where you can get those stringy tug-a-war toys and put doggie toothpaste or something like that on it and let them chew at it. On my next paycheck i wanted to try it. But so far her raw diet has been helping a good bit with her yucky mouth 🙂 It’s hard to afford daily though so I usually feed her 4Health Salmon as a back up meal- that(kibble) usually causes terrible breath/ and yucky teeth.

    1. Yes, It’s nice to know other people have the same dilemmas as you when it comes to pet care. I know we all do the best we can. I’ve heard that raw feeding can do wonders for teeth. Some claim that their dogs teeth are sparkly white because of it. I will honestly say that hadn’t been our experience though. A lot of the people that claim that also feed their dogs raw bones regularly though and I don’t give them to Chester and Gretel often. I’ve liked the idea of those stringy tug-a-war toys but Chester and Gretel aren’t interested. Good idea to put the doggy toothpaste on them. Coconut oil might also work. I would just worry that Chester and Gretel might actually try to eat the strings which can be bad news internally if a long one got wrapped around something. There’s risks in everything though.

  40. Unless I missed it while reading almost 3 years of replies, , I never did see a follow-up reply from you regarding “Gretel’s” anesthesia free cleaning? Did you decide to not have it performed?

    1. Hi Steve. Yes, I did get Gretel’s teeth cleaned that way and it worked out fine – just as easy and effective as Chester’s. It wasn’t notable, nor was there anything particular to say about it, so there was no update. I can just say that she did perfectly fine even those she has a tendency to be an anxious dog.

  41. Most anesthesia free dental vets are not licensed. It is physically impossible to clean any plague, tarter,etc while your pet is conscious and alert. If done wrong it can result in most of the enamel being scrapped away or gum injuries by the scaler. Not to mention in most places anesthesia free dental is considered illegal. A lot of these practices have been sued by costumers once they realized more harm was done then good. There has even been reports of these vets breaking jaw bones because the dog struggled during the dental clean. The poster of this article sounds cheap,lazy, and irresponsible. For someone who claims to care about your pets you put them at an unneeded risk. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    1. Wow. You seem like a very pleasant person. Do you always go around insulting random strangers on the internet? I don’t think I have anything to be ashamed of. I’m sharing my personal experience and DO state that I am using someone trained to perform such services. My vet does NOT recommend cleaning under anesthesia for either of my dog at this time because their teeth are in good shape and it’s not worth the risk (one due to age and the other due to a major back issue). And anesthesia free teeth cleaning is definitely not cheap. I pay slightly more to get their teeth cleaned this way. I’m not saying this because I feel like I need to defend myself to you but so that others reading the comments can learn more.

  42. My little Yorkie, Jordyn, had her teeth cleaned under anesthesia when she was spayed. I feel so guilty that I haven’t cleaned her teeth daily, as recommended by the vet. Your article was comical because my Jordyn would go “all Exorcist on the vet”! She’s still young (11 mos). I will try to be more diligent about daily cleaning of her choppers. I don’t like the thought of anesthesia cleaning.

    1. I haven’t seen stories that give cause for worry about the dogs life after teeth cleaning. My guys always came out of it quite well until the last time. I don’t know what the matter was but he came out shaky. After 24 hours she said to bring him back for an iv for 2-3 days. Forgetting how much my guy hates a cage, and that they held him all day before the brushing (i still feel responsible). My 14 year old beagle had worsened, quite the opposite of what I had been told. I had to carry him to the car. He picked him up from a blanket he was
      on, took him to bed where he died during the night. I don’t know why things have to go down hard when I’m around, but this is a cautionary tail about both the veterinarians judgement and mine.

  43. This is great as I refuse to fork over 500 for my little schnauzer to be put under! .My groomer literally used her fingernail and popped OFF a yellow layer of plaque from almost all my dogs teeth in 2 minutes. I was amazed! I tried doing the rest myself but couldnt get them, so we are heading back for her to do the rest (the dog would only hold still for a few before she got too antsy)

    1. Most of the $500 is for the anesthesia. While plaque can be scraped off a tooth, plaque can only be scraped off from way up under the gumline if they are under anesthesia. I still opt not to do it though. For me, it’s more about the anesthesia itself, rather than the money. And my vet says that there is no PROOF that anesthesia-free teeth cleaning isn’t effective or worthwhile at all.

  44. I’m gonna have my mom look for an anastesia free tooth cleaner in NJ.. I was adopted 5 years ago and while I was being spayed my heart stopped beating.. So the vet told my mom that I may not live thru a second time to be put to under for any procedures.. Since my teeth are still in great shape.. Even the awake cleaning is better than NO cleaning… since I run and hide when I see mommy with my toothbrush, she can’t do it herself !!
    Even my mom had to have her teeth removed from abscesses and even had a heart attack from tooth problems, even after going to the dentist regularly !!

    1. Hi Opie. I agree that the awake cleaning is better than no cleaning. It sounds like anesthesia might be very risky for you. I’m sure your Mom has done her research and will make the right choice to keep you safe and healthy 🙂

  45. I didn’t start brushing my dogs teeth till about 2 weeks ago I make my own doggy tooth past out of 1 cup coconut oil 1/2 teaspoon tumeric 1/2 teaspoon kelp and 1/8teaspoon parsly. I can now take a store bout pick for teeth or my finger nail an pick the nasty plaque off. There breath is way better and my vet has cansuled there cleaning appointment because thay don’t need it I make my own because one of my dogs has very bad allergies an can’t use the doggy tooth past.I just run it on there gums 2 times a day an put it on there afternoon duck jurky.I hope this will help others with there furry kids

    1. Hi Deana. Thanks for sharing your recipe. If I was to brush Chester and Gretel’s teeth, I would definitely go with a coconut-oil based toothpaste. I sometimes rub some on their gums so I know that they like the taste 🙂

    2. Deana, what kind of dog(s) do you have please?

      Where did you find the recipe for home-made toothpaste?

      Thank you!!

  46. You can even just rub the home made tooth past on the teeth at night an it will help with the target up under the gums

  47. I tried many times to clean my two doxies teeth with the finger toothbrush, sprays etc. Now, I only use the doggies tooth paste & brush with my finger! LOL! which is not cleaning at all, they love the taste of the toothpaste…

    I came across our local dog magazine and seen the ad for K9 Dental Service, Dr. Blanchard for anesthesia-free cleaning. The cost is $150.00 (by cash) and $155.00 (check or charge). I haven’t made an appointment yet, because I wanted to know if they can perform the cleaning on Becks who has CHF.
    I am hoping they are not charging more that $150 because of the CHF.

    1. Dr. Blanchard is the one that does Chester and Gretel’s teeth. He’s good. I don’t see why he can’t do it on a a dog with CHF. I mean, that’s kind of the point of anesthesia free teeth cleaning – for dogs that can’t go under anesthesia. I don’t know much about the condition and limitations though. Hopefully he’s able to do it fine. Did you try and call them?

  48. I recently adopted a 6 year old Aussie. The shelter was feeding him a kibble with grains, so I switched him to a high protein grain free kibble. His breath smells worse, his drool is thicker and sticky and his teeth are noticeable a different color. He was sick last week and he was eating chicken and rice and his drool and breath improved. I’ve been considering switching to freeze dried food. Do you think this helped with your dogs teeth? What brand do you use?

    1. Hi Heather. I believe switching to raw food (either freeze dried or frozen prepared) helped their health. However, I don’t believe that freeze dried food has the same active enzymes as raw meat has. I don’t feel like there was a noticeable difference in their breath no matter what kind of food they ate. It’s just bad. Ha, ha. I’m not sure what was causing the thick drool. That’s usually related to hydration so, if you do switch to freeze dried, make sure to mix it with enough water.

  49. We did get our dogs used to brushing their teeth. But i got a tip from the vet. I clean their teeth with the back of o teaspoon. It has a edge but it isnt sharp. It gets all of the stuff of. And it doesnt hurt. It can bleed a bit just like our gums do but one lik of their tong and it should be gone.

  50. I’m really torn on this. I’ve been suspecting hay the anesthesia free cleaning done on my dog at 2 is what has DONE her teeth in. She was taken to the back room of a local run pet store, swaddled in a towel, sat in the floor in the lap of the person and her teeth scraped. I watched as I wanted to see what was being done and I don’t let people work on her without me there. I think his took off all the good enamel. As she has had such teeth problems since. Thoughts or experiences to give me some other ideas?

    I brush prob 3-4 times a week, she eats grain free blue buffalo, she get pizzle twist chews and other chews almost daily, she inhales her kibble, doesn’t chew it, she also gets Sojo or Honest Kitchen dehydrated food, and frozen but heated up organic veggies at dinner. Yet she is 7 and has periodontal disease. She has had 16 teeth removed (and they were such cute teeth) and may have to have more done next month. I’m heart broken if the anesthesia free cleaning I did to her caused this!! I need to know why and how to stop this! I hate to have her go under, it is expensive and it is uncomfortable for her when she has bad teeth in her mouth (I can tell from certain things she does). She is an American cocker.

    1. Hi Amy. It’s my understanding that it’s important for your dog’s teeth to be polished a bit after any type of teeth cleaning (under anesthesia or not). Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s always done after anesthesia-free teeth cleaning is done. The dental took can leave little grooves on the surface on the teeth which can, in some cases, make them accumulate plaque more easily. Did the doggie dentist polish them after? If not, that is likely the issue. If you get that type of cleaning done again, I would find someone else. You may also be able to get a tooth polish at the pet store and do it yourself. I’m guessing it will be less effective if you do it after there is already plaque on the teeth though.

      The procedure you describe sounds pretty common. That’s how it’s done for Chester and Gretel. However, I’m surprised they performed the cleaning if there were any signs of periodontal disease. Anesthesia-free teeth cleaning is meant to keep healthy teeth healthy. If there are deeper issues, they should be addressed by your veterinarian under anesthesia. The person who does ours performs a dental inspection and will refuse to do the cleaning if there are any signs of trouble.

  51. You all, just be careful with those doing anesthesia free teeth cleaning. Our dear Milo was wrapped in a towel, and so undone by the process that he blew a back knee from catching it in the towel and flailing. So… saved $ and having him anesthetized, but got to spend mega bucks having a knee plate put in. The procedure was so stressful at his age, that 10months later, he was declining very fast. 2 months later he took the last ride. I’ll never forgive myself.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that Suzanne. It must have been heartbreaking.

      It sounds like the person that performed the cleaning wasn’t very responsible. The doggy dentist who does my dogs won’t do it if they are squirming around a lot. He told me that up front. I have one dog that is very nervous so I warned him. He said, “Sorry, if she moves around too much, I won’t be able to do it.” I’m not saying you went to someone that wasn’t qualified – I don’t know and accidents can happen during any procedure – but your warning is a good one. People should find a qualified professional to do it and be sure to ask a lot of questions.

  52. I am a Veterinary Tech…since 1982! I have done lots of dentals on dogs at the clinic over the years, so I know all about them. I am retired now.
    It occurred to me that when I eat crackers or dry foods, they stick to my teeth unless I have a liquids to rinse and swallow with. DESPITE what veterinarians will tell us, dry kibble does NOT clean teeth!! Nor do “biscuits”. I’ve been putting warm water (a good amount) on my dog’s kibble for years now. Last time our 13 1/2 year old dog went to vet, she asked what i did to his teeth…they look like those of a 2 yr old! And they did. I told her my dry vs. wet theory. She had to admit it makes sense. He had never had a dental done either. Gorgeous teeth.
    Why “warm” water? When dogs (in the wild) make a kill, they eat warm, moist meat. Even in summer, I use warm. They love it!
    Just my 2c worth… 🙂 <3

    1. Thanks for commenting and thanks for the tip! My dogs no longer eat kibble but I hope this helps the pups that do.

    2. What kinds of dogs do you have and what do you feed them? What is the warm water ratio to dry dog food please? Thank you so much!

  53. I have a 9 year old Boston Terrier. I have never brushed her teeth. Every year at her annual vet exam, the vet continues to be amazed at how beautiful and clean my dog’s teeth are. The secret??? One Greenie dental treat a day and one Ark Naturals Breath-less Plaque-Zapper additive that goes in her water 3 times a week. Also, no canned food, only hard treats and teeth cleaning toys.

    1. That’s a great system. I don’t now but I used to put drops in Chester and Gretel’s water. Now I use Plaque Off. It’s a powder I sprinkle on their food that helps soften the plaque.

  54. All of you that noticed issues with teeth after switching to grain free are right on the money! But it’s not the protein that’s to blame, it’s the lack of specific enzymes and excess carbs. Think about it this way, the grains were holding the kibble together remove them and you need to find another starch to act as the glue. So take a look at the ingredients do you see potatoes, peas, quinoa, etc.? There’s your unnecessary carbs and one of your biggest problems. Please don’t read that as a prompt to go buy grains those are associated with even more health problems as some of you noted.

    While I don’t agree with feeding kibble as no matter what brand you buy it is no better than McDonald’s. If you still insist on kibble find a good supplier for raw bones. Do your research and get the appropriate size and type for your dog. The reason raw bones work is because they have an enzyme that actually combats plaque. No plaque no tartar.

    1. That’s good information. I never thought about it that way.

      Chester and Gretel eat raw food now but it’s ground, and they don’t really chew it, so it doesn’t help keep their teeth clean. I can’t give them whole chicken necks because they try to gulp them down like a snake! I tried holding on to them while they chewed but got bit badly (totally my fault). I recently started cutting them at each vertebrae and found they will chew those chunks. Since I’ve been doing that, their teeth are much cleaner!

  55. Results
    please see this article, the pictures would not copy. How to reduce tartar buildup on your dogs teeth by 80% (Hint, give them raw bone see the article for the type very important)

    A gradual removal of calculus formation took place, with 70.6% reduction happening over 12 days when the compact bone was given. After the first study, a 7-month period of no treatment followed, which allowed a significant dental calculus buildup in a similar pattern to that initially seen in the first study. At day 12, an average of 81.6% reduction was seen in all dogs receiving the spongy bone. On day 20, the dogs’ teeth were virtually clean and had only 4.7% of the teeth area covered by calculus (coming down from almost 40% of their teeth covered). What is really interesting that for the entire experimental period, no complications; such as pieces of bones stuck between the teeth, dental fractures or intestinal obstructions were observed.
    What the researchers did in this study it that their compared the effect of chewing on bovine raw cortical or ‘compact’ bone (CB) from femur diaphysis (lower part of the bone), to bovine raw ‘spongy’ bone (SB) from the femoral epiphysis (top part of the bone), to reduce established calculus in adult Beagle dogs.

    Australian Veterinary Journal
    Volume 94, Issue 1-2, pages 18-23, 26 JAN 2016 DOI: 10.1111/avj.12394

    1. Thanks for the info Linda. The raw bones didn’t seem to be very effective for us but I’m not sure what type they were. Maybe I’ll look specifically for these types of bones and try again.

    1. Hi Bonnie. I’m not sure Linda will see this comment. I haven’t looked for spongey bones myself but I imagine a butcher could help you out (ask at your local grocery store).

  56. for years i took my dog to a vet that recommended a “high quality kibble”. this dog had ongoing chronic problems like hair lose, allergies, bad breath. after about 2 years i got a few books on the pet food industry. a real eye opener. i’ll admit that dog food never made much sense to me. imagine a kibble that fulfilled all human nutritional requirements and could sit on a shelf for months. long story short…i changed his diet and had one of those best case scenario experiences with many obvious improvements. this experience threw into question all the advice i’d gotten from vets over the years. i started to questions a lot of it.

    teeth cleaning. i was first told i needed to brush my dogs teeth. i had to do it. no way around it. this seemed silly to me as no wild animals brush their teeth and have better dental health then most people if they eat their traditional diet. ok. but maybe domestic dogs were different. they have been eating dog food and not wild game for hundreds of year (i’m not saying thousands because the dog food industry is relativity new). and their mouths and teeth have been changed by selective breeding. so maybe they did need some tooth brushing.

    but my guy had a lot of tartar and gum disease when i got him (10 lbs chihuahua mix). i wasn’t going to brush that off. on top of that he has a heart murmur. putting him under for a cleaning is risky. and the no-anesthetic cleaners wouldn’t take him either saying the experience could stress his heart.

    so i turned to 2 things. vitamin C and raw bones. i have noticed an improvement to my own gum health while taking large dosages of vit C over long periods of time. it’s not overnight. while i can’t prove that vit C has improved my dogs gum health i believe it has. in theory most animals make vit C (except humans and few others) so, in theory, your dog doesn’t need any. in practice vets see benefits. at least the rare vets that give vit C.

    raw bones. i really didn’t see how a bone would clean the sides of my dog’s teeth and up near the gum line. but they really have. i started giving him regular raw bones a few months ago. there are some cautions. no cooked bones! they splinter. and not all dobs are bone smart. some will chew too aggressively. slow and low to start. i started with chicken feet for 5 min while watching. now i give him 20 mins on lamb necks. i think the type of bone does make a difference. lamb necks (with all meat on) seem to work best. these are actually necks cut into about 4x2x2 chunks. take pictures before you start with bones. i wish i had. it’s a huge and obvious difference. i recently saw a before and after pic from the raw feeder i buy from. huge difference much like the one i’m seeing. i should have taken pics!

    what i have concluded is my dog does not need brushing. he does not need a cleaning. he needs regular appropriate bones. i believe in a month or 2 his teeth will look perfectly healthy once more. one last thing… he eats people grade food….meets, carbs, small amount of veggies. imo it is a mistake to see dental health as something separate from total health. diet can change the ph in your mouth, help you maintain good gums, and a lot more.

    1. May I ask where do you live near? I’m curious because I wonder how you discovered this information and just wonder a bit of your background.

      Have a french bulldog in LA and I haven’t read many posts like yours.

      Best, C

  57. “I have bought sprays and gels with “active enzymes” (affiliate link) but the struggle with prying open strong Doxie jaws while trying to shoot the stuff into their mouth always resulted with more goop on me than in them. Think Something About Mary crossed with The Exorcist.”

    Are you 3 years old? Do you do so little physical activity that you honestly struggle to open a DACHSUND’s mouth? Lmao. You don’t deserve to own dogs if you won’t brush their teeth. Rationalize it all you want. Doesn’t change the fact that you’re a bad owner.

    1. We’re all entitled to our opinion. There are many, many things one needs to do in order to be a good dog owner. After 8 years of being deeply immersed in the pet-owner community, I can say that I’ve not met anyone who does 100% of them 100% of the time. We all pick our battles (no pun intended here) and do what we can. Also, maybe you should lighten up a little. That description was meant to be funny.

  58. Your doxies are adorable! But I thought this was going to be something you did/do at home that we could duplicate. If I brushed my dog’s teeth, I could barely afford the doggie brush and paste, let alone a semi-annual trip to the vet for a $150+ teeth cleaning. Honestly, I feel like this borders on click bait stuff. So disappointed.

    1. I’m sorry you feel that way. Nowhere in the title do I indicate that my alternative is something you can do at home or that it’s cheap. Clickbait is something that promises one thing but then doesn’t deliver. In this case, my article delivers exactly what I promise – this is what I do instead of brushing.

      If you are looking for something you can do at home, you might be interested in this article: https://youdidwhatwithyourweiner.com/one-way-to-clean-your-dogs-teeth-without-brushing/. That being said, the cost of the chews and Plaque Off in this article would exceed what a cheap toothbrush and dog toothpaste would cost. There are a lot of recipes for home made dog toothpaste like these: https://www.care.com/c/stories/6301/5-homemade-dog-toothpaste-recipes-to-freshen/. I’m pretty sure you could pick up a toothbrush at the dollar store.

      Perhaps, like me, you don’t plan to brush your dog’s teeth and I understand that you can’t afford anesthesia-free teeth cleaning. Unfortunately, the only options then are to do nothing or to implement an at-home system like I linked to above. Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.

  59. Reading through the article and then the comments, it feels like I’ve been had. Others mentioned clickbait, I’m not exactly sure what that is, but I’m beginning to find out I think? Not sure that this article is even noteworthy to be honest, in my opinion. ‘I don’t brush my dogs teeth’, it says, but affectively someone else does, it says surely? At the end of the day, it’s your dog, do what you think is right. I feed raw, prey model raw, have been for years. All my dogs (including rescue and foster) have been healthy, allergy free and only visiting a vet when necessary, and that doesn’t include teeth brushing, because they didn’t need it. Recreational meaty bones, under supervision, along with their diet sees to this. Shame the article wasn’t more about this, as it’s mentioned in passing.

    1. I always find it interesting when people come to my article with an expectation – one that is eluded to nowhere in my title or image – and then are unhappy when my article doesn’t meet those expectations. As you can see, my article is about anesthesia-free dental as a way to help keep your pet’s teeth clean between thorough exams and cleaning at the vet. I receive way more comments and emails about this information being helpful to people than not.

      I’ve heard so many success stories about raw and I’m happy for that and that it’s working for your pup. Unfortunately, feeding raw doesn’t totally take care of the tartar problem with my dog so that isn’t a topic I feel I have authority to write on (“I hear it works for my friends but I don’t know” would be kind of silly to me). There is still plaque build up over time. Dachshunds are known for bad teeth and plaque problems though. My veterinarian said that breed and genetics is also a factor in dental health.

  60. After many dogs over last 30 years
    I’ve found one one inch raw marrow bone ring a day keeps my dogs teeth sparkling. Ask butcher to
    cut bones in one inch rings.Freeze the package.
    As you use the last of package put next package of
    about 5 rings in fridge . NEVER GIVE FROZEN as it wears down front teeth. Everyone loves my
    Dogs’ breath as well.
    Happiness for all..

    1. Good tip on the frozen bones! I didn’t know that. Unfortunately, in my case, Gretel will barely chew on bones and, even if she does, it’s not enough to keep her teeth clean.

  61. My vet office actually offers anesthesia free cleaning. They have someone that comes in and does it periodically.

    1. That’s great. At some point, I would like to compile a list of good places around the country that do it. Where do you live?

    1. I do not but perhaps a reader will see this and can respond. Eventually I would like to research where else in the country this is offered but I just haven’t had the time.

  62. Didn’t know there is such thing as professional dental cleanings for pets. Might stick with DentaStix for now as the cost of anesthesia-free teeth cleaning is beyond what I could afford.

    1. There are two ways to get your dogs teeth professionally cleaned. One is at the veterinarian under anesthesia and it’s important if a dog has lose teeth, needs X-rays, or the vet says the pet needs it. Anesthesia-free cleaning can work great to keep the tartar problem at bay in the first place (much like brushing regularly). Unfortunately, both are expensive. prevention is definitely the best medicine. I’m glad that the DentaStix are working for you.

  63. I am so very glad I came across your article via Pinterest. I worked for a vet for several years and I can tell you a human cleaning may be a tad painful and although sedated, the procedure on a dog is almost cruel. I have a 10 year old English Bulldog that has made it a wrestling match making and impossible to clean her teeth. English Bulldog only have an 8 to 10 year life expectancy and have had difficulties with sedation, so I would never put her thru that. Your suggestions however, have given me hope of her keeping her teeth and being with me longer.

    1. I hope you are able to find a good anesthesia-free doggy dentist in your area. Sometimes one just can’t help but put their dog under for dental surgery and cleaning but I totally understand your concern with that. Hopefully you can keep her teeth clean enough that she won’t need it.

  64. I ordered that powder and am going to give it a try. I really hope it works on my 9 year old lab. I need to find something that he will chew on other then a water bottle with a sock on it. His front teeth are nice and white.. but he tends to break huge pieces off and swallow then whole . And the nyla bone types he turns his nose up at. Any ideas? Thanks for this great article.. I will look for a place here that cleans without putting him to sleep too.

    1. We use the bully sticks I mentioned and linked to in the article. I give one to Gretel and Summit several times a day for 5-10 minutes. I can’t leave them down or they would eat the whole thing at once (and I give them the 12 inch ones!). Once the plaque is softened with the powder, it helps to scrape it off.

  65. Thanks for the information. I don’t always brush my 2 furbabies teeth either. It took everything in me to give them a bath and clip their nails tonight. My baby a little over year old fought me all the way. The other one who is more used to it did great until the end of the nail clipping. It frustrated me how much people get mad and judge what you said about not brushing your dog’s teeth. Just because they do it doesn’t make someone who doesn’t do it a poor pet owner. My dogs are well-loved and they are happy to be adopted from the shelter and happy to be loved, spoiled, treated like a baby, and have a wonderful home and yard to run around in. At least you are doing other things to keep their teeth clean. Again thank you for the information. This is my first time reading the blog.

    1. “Just because they do it doesn’t make someone who doesn’t do it a poor pet owner.” Agreed. We all love our pets and do the best we can. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and say, “well, I would do that.” or “It’s easy” but not every pet is the same and not every person is the same. I think making at least some attempts, even if one doesn’t go as far as brushing, is better than none.

  66. Raw beef marrow bones cut into 1.5-2 inch chunks. Ask the butcher at the grocery store. Keeps my pups teeth bright white and the marrow is super healthy

  67. I have a little 8 pound Chi/italian greyhound mix and she is fast, squirmy and she bites if she doesn’t like something. I do not brush her teeth as I am a big fan of my fingers being attached lol. I try and get the groomer to give them a little brush but only one girl has ever been able to and sadly we moved so my little Ellie has to go to a new person. I try and give denta sticks every once in a while and it helps that she doesn’t eat wet food or much people food(only little treats here and there) You are not alone for sure!!

  68. My Chihuahua would as soon rip your hand off as let you into he mouth. I did have my MinPins death done without anesthetic a few ties. I seemed to go well but after a routine checkup with the vet I found out she had 2 cracked teeth in back and 3 loose ones. I was not told about this when I had her teeth cleaned 3 weeks prior. Now I had to spend additional money to have the vet clean them too. I use bully stick all the time. Small dogs just are more difficult to keep teeth clean.

  69. Please do not advocate for anesthesia free dentals and give vet advice when you are not a veterinarian. I see LOTS of anesthesia free dentals come back later with HORRIBLE periodontal disease. Why? Because when you cannot clean under the gum line (where the true problem is) you end up PUSHING it up there with anesthesia free dentals. Many times I have had to perform full mouth extractions on these patients because their teeth were abscessed at the root tip, but looked great on the visible crown portion. Anesthesia free dentals are for cosmetic purposes only. They do nothing beneficial for the health of your dog’s mouth. This is why most veterinarians do not perform them. Putting bad medical advice on the internet is dangerous for other pet owners that think you know what you are talking about, and it makes our job harder.

    1. Thanks for your comment. As you can clearly see several times I stated that I am not a veterinarian and, in fact, I stated exactly what a veterinarian would recommend (brushing your dog’s teeth). Thew fact is, it works for us, some dogs cannot go under anesthesia and need their teeth cleaned, pet owners are free to care for their dogs the way they want, and it’s my blog so I can share my experience with this type of cleaning if I want. But, as an aside, I’ve discussed this procedure with my own veterinarian and many of my friends have with theirs. Some vets are willing to embrace new technologies and alternative treatments and support this kind of cleaning in place of brushing if an owner is not going to do it (which I also made abundantly clear… that’s it can be a replacement for brushing, not a thorough teeth cleaning. It’s better than doing nothing for their teeth in between thorough cleanings).

  70. Thanks for all of the information! My dog is going in for his first professional cleaning next week, and it’s great to have knowledge about other options. I hope his before and after pictures look just as great 🙂

  71. I love your blog! It is so unfortunate that there are people that have the reading comprehension of a 2 year old. I came across your IVDD post on pinterest (my 6 year old doxie just was diagnosed with stage 2) and this blog has been super helpful! I appreciate all the time and thought you’ve put into your work. I don’t brush his teeth, some days I don’t even want to brush my own. *cue all the judgemental “perfect” people comment* I’ve been looking into this for him for a while but haven’t taken the plunge yet. Which will have to postponed till later this year but one thing at a time. Thank you for sharing all of your experiences!

    1. Thanks Jamie. I’m sorry to hear about your pup but glad my posts on IVDD can help. As far as mean or derogatory comments, it just kind of goes along with putting yourself out there on the internet I guess.

  72. I have four Italian Greyhounds aged between four and twelve years, in good health, if not exactly skinny. I admit that the brushing thing did not work for us either. My hounds hated it. I was not aware of alternative options [but relieved to read about it] and have been taking my hounds every year to the trusted vet to have their teeth cleaned under general anaesthesia. Believe me, that is both costly and stressful; the procedure itself does carry some risks.
    I will order the products and immediately give it a try!

    1. Good luck to you. I hope you find something that works to keep their teeth clean between cleaning under anesthesia (and that may potentially require your dogs to get it done less often).

  73. I would love to brush my dogs teeth but they are bigger than me so it is almost impossible without hurting myself. 160 lb st. Bernard and a rottie mastiff, so yeah

  74. My dog is 13. I have purchased several dog toothpastes over the years. The finger brush and a regular brush. My dog HATES this and acts like I’m trying to murder her. The vet says it would not be safe for her age to put her under. He did prescribe her antibiotics and said it was called “pulsing” or something. He recommended doing it a few times a year. The antibiotics I guess kills the bacteria in the mouth. I cannot remember. He said he learned of the concept at a conference he attended.

    I give my dog these turkey tendons to chew on because she doesn’t like chewing on stuff. But goes crazy over turkey tendons.

    For 13, her teeth are starting to look awful. I truly wish I had done more in her younger years…it’s just soooo expensive.

    1. Hi Amanda. Well, it doesn’t sound like you did nothing. When you know better, you do better. Maybe you will have some new ideas if and when you get another pet.

      Interesting thing the vet said about the antibiotics. I’ve never heard of that.

  75. Thank you, Jessica! Honestly, I have probably tried to brush Chico’s, my Chiweenie, teeth maybe a handful of times and he locked down every time so the most I was able to get was maybe the outside of one side. Other than that, I might have Pet Smart do it when I drop him off for a grooming appointment from time to time. Now, I also have a Papichon mix, who is a wiggler by nature. I really appreciate your suggestion and can’t wait to try some of the other tips in the comments. Whoever suggested applying toothpaste to apple slices, GENIUS!!

    1. Yeah, the toothpaste on apples is a great idea. I actually forgot about that suggestion so I’ll probably try it.

      I’ve seen people brush their dog’s teeth and, honestly, it seems that most of them aren’t getting 100% of the tooth surface anyway.

  76. HI! i have a 4 yr old male Chiwa. and due to a very serious complication with an anesthesia surgery my dog now has strictures. which means he cant swallow anything bigger than a grain of rice. hes on a blended diet (raw canned food very blended with broth). I cant give him chew bones and he cant be put under anesthesia cleaning. He now has very bad breath and his teeth have plaque built-up. Ive never had to brush his teeth before and have tried and he REALLY wont let me (snaps and growls).
    I really need help because all these complications so far has cost me more then 4k and i cant afford the vet cleaning. Please give me help cause the kelp flakes dont do anything.

    1. I’m sorry Erika. That sounds like a very tough situation. Unfortunately, in my experience, nothing is as good as a paid dental cleaning (mechanical removal of plaque). Since doing it under anesthesia is not an option for your pup, you can see if there is a certified person that can do the anesthesia-free cleaning in your area. That still isn’t cheap though so the next best thing would be to keep trying dental products. Have you tried water additives or teeth cleaning gels you can spread on his teeth with your finger (you can do this with dog toothpaste too when isn’t quite as effective as brushing but may help).

  77. Well I read through most of the comments here and did not see my recommendation so I am posting it in hopes that it helps other “anesthesia averse” dog parents. My doxie mix has terrible teeth even though he is raw fed. He does not like to chew on bones though. I use the ozonated oils like Pur3 without stevia or sweeteners. Bought for myself to help with tartar and plaque, so I use it on my dogs as well. But I did not know about the kelp so I plan to add that to soften and then brush with the oil. They don’t like it but they do like a treat afterwards.

  78. My 10 yr old Shih Tzu has “pearly” white teeth and has not had his teeth brushed since he was very young I give him a daily dose of raw vegetables such as peppers, green, yellow, red, orange, he does not care as long as they are peppers – He likes these just raw (about 1/4 of a large one) as a snack.. I also give him fresh raw cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage or brussel sprouts – he love them all. With these, he will eat raw, or I steam them slightly then add to his dog food. He also likes green beans and carrots if I steam them just a bit, then add to his food since he shys away from them raw. With the beans and carrots, I buy fresh, cut up and steam and then freeze. For feeding, I add a tablespoon amount to a glass measuring cup (used specifically for the dog), unthaw/warm in the microwave on “pizza Reheat” setting, then add to his dog food. He loves his fresh veggies!!

    1. Veggies are a great idea. The rough texture can definitely help clean the tartar off of teeth. My Dachshunds love veggies too.

  79. A dog isn’t going to automatically like having his/her teeth brushed.You should start in small steps and work your way up.There’s plenty of youtube videos explaining how.First you should get them use to the taste of the tooth paste and using a flavor they like will help.Secondly,you need them to be use t you messing with gums and teeth.A well trained dog will not fight you on this.You have to train your dachshund to trust you to do this.Then when you have that out the way you introduce a toothbrush or finger scrubber.Sometimes just getting the tooth paste on the outer side of the teeth is enough and you don’t actually have to do the brushing.However,the brushing motion will help remove tarter that is already present.Chew dentals and supplements are helpful but not as a main regime.If you aren’t willing to commit to this kind of thing you really shouldn’t have pets.Also,you need to learn to take care of yourself before you try to take care of another living being.You are being lazy and selfish.You don’t enjoy it and it’s not easy so you are simply opting to do it because it’s too much work for your liking.

    1. You don’t know me from article. If you did, you would know that my Dachshunds receive better care than most dogs. The reality is, brushing a dog’s teeth will not prevent all dental issues. In fact, it’s primarily genetics that dictates the health of their teeth. I do things to protect their teeth, just not brushing. I won’t be shamed as a dog owner because I don’t do one thing you think I should be doing. Also, about my own teeth, learn to take a joke.

  80. We had adopted a senior chihuahua( 10 yrs old) and they recommended taking him to get a cleaning. After looking at his front teeth , they didn’t look bad at all but he did have some very bad breath and recently I lay him on his back in the grass, He’s very relaxed soaking in the sun , His mouth was opened and I noticed that his back teeth are covered in tartar and I told my husband we need to take him to the vet and he REFUSES because he had a furbaby prior and took him to get a cleaning and his baby never woke up and he-said NEVER again. Our little one is a nipper especially when you start poking around in his mouth.I know I have to do something and I’m going to give your recommendations a try..I purchased a tool to scrape off the tartar but he’s not having that AT ALL…I don’t give him rawhide chews,I give him Greenies and dried beef lung and I make his food myself so I’m not sure what else I can do…Any ideas are VERY APPRECIATED….

    1. Hi Mary. I understand your dilemma. While is sounds like a thorough cleaning and X-rays under anesthesia may be warranted, I get that the last experience was too traumatizing for you husband to try again. I would definitely try the Plaque Off to help soften the tartar on his teeth so giving him the chews will be more effective. Also Greenies are pretty soft and a lot of calories. Beef lung is also too soft to give much abrasive cleaning action. You may need to try something harder in order to get more plaque off. I absolutely do not condone the use of true rawhide but the bully sticks I mention are digestible and natural (unlike Rawhide which is not and is bleached with chemicals). Some people have also had success with adding some frozen green beans (slightly or fully thawed, no salt) to their dog’s food. The skin on a bean is actually quite abrasive and beans are low calorie. Good luck!

    1. No. I said, “I have a hard enough time remembering.” I don’t live life on a strict schedule so I don’t always brush them the moment I get up.

    1. We get the cleaning done at All the Best Pet Care. I can’t remember his name since it’s been a while since the dogs have needed it. Their website just says “visiting Technician from Canine Dental Services” but we always had the same one. It looks like they aren’t currently offering this service because of COVID.

      1. Hello, I am having some serious problems with my 15-year-old dogs mouth. It is full of plaque and smells horrible. He has a spot on his gum line that the vet said was a tumor. The problem is that the owner of the vet hospital started my dog on medication for his thyroid well he gave him triple of what he should have been on and the new vet there was angry to know my dog had been on that milligram amount for years, anyway the new vet told me that my dog was in kidney failure because of it and now cannot be put under to clean him teeth or deal with the tumor. Can you offer me some suggestions of what would you think might be the best thing I can do for him? Like would the green beans be the best for him and coconut oil. Any suggestions I would be very grateful for Thank you.

        1. Hi Cindy. I’m very sorry that happened with you and your pup. I’m not a vet, and don’t know much about cancer, so I can’t make any kind of medical suggestions. If you are primarily concerned with the plaque and bad breath, I would use the PlaqueOff I mention in this article (check with your vet to make sure it’s safe to do so with the medication he is on – it’s just (a special kind of) kelp but kelp contains iron). Then I would give him something to scrape the softened plaque off. I’m assuming a chew like I use may to be too hard for this old teeth so I agree that the green beans might be your best option. Or at least a good starting place. I’m not a fan of commercial dental chews but they ARE softer than what I use and will help scrape the plaque off. At his age, the extra calories may not be a big deal. Good luck.

    1. My friend an 83 year old Sicilian woman had a poodle that lived to be 21. They only fed her vegetables from the table and milk bones. I thought about it and the bones would have provided all the minerals necessary. I think they fed her any chicken or meat also, but they never used gravies. They ate very simply.

  81. I trained my dogs to relax and I scrap their teeth myself. I started them at a young age. If I see an issue with the gums or teeth I let my vet know. My dogs are so relaxed when I scrape their teeth they fall asleep all on their own.

  82. Hi Jessica, thank so much for the article. Especially the tip about putting toothpaste on a slice of apple, I’m definetely going to try that one out!

  83. I have an aussie cattledog mix. She is 8-19 years old and has perfect teeth. Not a spot anywhere. My vet is very impressed.
    My dog loves the round,rubber balls. They have “nubbies” on them. They are little spiky bumps you see on the tooth brushes. Different sizes reach different parts of her gum line. So she is basically chewing on a pliable toothbrush throughout the day. Every day.

    1. Those can work great if your dog will chew on them. Mine won’t but thanks for the suggestion as other people may want to try that.

    1. Hi Keiki. As I explained, in my experience, Plaque Off only softens the plaque. To remove it you will need to give chews like I do or brush. But I beleive I waited a couple weeks for it to start softening the plaque before I expected an abrasive chew would remove it.

  84. Here is my review of Proden Plaque-Off on Chewy. I am very interested in dog dental care and try many products on my own dogs. I write a lot of on-line evaluation of dog dental products that describe active ingredients.

    This stuff works. I have been using for years for my miniature poodles and rescue foster dogs. It works systemically vs. topically which means that it is ingested and then one or more components from the seaweed gets into the serum and finds its way into the saliva where it works to inhibit plaque causing bacteria. If you think about it, that is not magic as this is exactly the way that oral antibiotic pills work and also why garlic makes one’s sweat and saliva smell. BUT, despite Proden’s initial insinuations that there were unique compounds in this particular species of seaweed that prevent plaque just as in the ocean this seaweed fends off biofilms on its leaves, it is probably just Iodine. In fact, Proden now makes a point to state that this seaweed is “iodine rich”. I think the simplest explanation here is that this supplement increases iodine in the saliva (and in the body in general) and that makes the saliva better at fighting bacteria. It may be that salivary glands are supposed to concentrate iodine just like thyroid glands and that salivary glands have evolved to do this in mammals to promote oral health. This makes sense to me. The only concern is if this product overdoses iodine vs just supplies needed amounts.

  85. Thank you for providing an alternative solution to brushing a dog’s teeth. I will consider these steps with my own dog instead of brushing. Additionally, I may offer some delicious treats to my pup to make him happy and more willing to let me clean his teeth.

  86. Small dogs are known to have poor dental hygiene I believe because small dogs get more human food due to being lap dogs. My dog is a large Chihuahua mix and he is ALWAYS on my lap.. even when using the bathroom!! I can’t be the only one who has a dog like this haha.. but my daughters dogs his breath is the worst smell ever. She spent 300 dollars for a check up and for the vet to tell her it would cost 3000 Dollars for his dental work!! And all they’d be doing is pulling all the teeth.. thy are loose anyway .. easy fix right at home in my opinion just give the old man some taffy and out they’d come.. ANYWAY BACK TO WHAT WORKS FOR ME AND MY DOG: EVERY TIME I BATH MY BOY , WHICH IS A FEW TIMES A WEEK BECUASE HE LIKES TO GET INTO THE SHOWER WITH ME, WHEN I WRAP HIM UP THE TOWEL GETS DAMP AND HE LIKE TO CHEW ON THE TOWEL I PLAY WITH HIM BY PUTTING MY HAND UNDER THR TOWEL AND I SAY .. IMA GET YOU! AND HE BITES AT MY HAND AND I CAN MASSAGE HIS TEETH AND IT WORKS SO WELL!! TRY IT OUT!

    1. That sound fun. It’s not something that would fit into my normal routine well, or that is needed because my system works excellent for us, but someone else here might want to try it.

  87. I used to purchase Plaque Off until I realized I this just Kelp Granules which I can purchase off Amazon, they are organic. And only about $13.00 a POUND!!!!

    1. I tried that but found regular kelp didn’t work as well. Different kelp types help more in my experience, and PlaqueOff has worked the best for us out of all of the ones I have tried. If you feel like it works for your dog though, great.

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