My dog is a 14 year old terrier mix. He already has lost most of his sight and hearing. While I love him dearly, I have a very limited income and cannot afford high vet care. Do you have any low cost suggestions for dealing with his bad breath? Our vet has suggested teeth cleaning/pulling, but that costs $300, that I don't have. Thanks for your input.
Yogurt is excellent, but make it the low fat, low sugar variety. Some yogurts are now worse than candy with all the sugar and fruit syrups they add.
You can also brush the dog's teeth yourself. There are toothpastes made for dogs, along with brushes that are sold in any larger pet section. The PlaqueOff Animal is good stuff, but there are a few good ones out there.
You should also watch what the dog eats. Especially with smaller dogs people tend to feed them what they think are cute treats and special small dog soft food. Dogs all need a similar diet with lots of crunchy foods and some veggies to help keep their teeth naturally clean.
Make sure they're getting plenty of water and as much exercise as they can comfortably do, too. Just because an animal loses its sight, etc. doesn't mean it no longer needs exercise. As long as animals live, they need daily exercise to be healthy.
In addition to the yogurt in the diet, try adding a little bit of raw carrot chunks to the meals along with dry dog food. If the dog won't eat, because they want the canned stuff that's bad for them; mix a small amount of the canned with water/yogurt and mix the dry in with that. A tiny amount of garlic or chicken heated with the food should work if all else fails.
Be careful to note if the dog doesn't want to eat the food or if they can no longer eat the crunchier food. Then you have to stay with softer foods.
Even if your budget is tight; you must save some for the proper care of your pets. I don't even believe in all the annual and biannual exams some vets want to give perfectly healthy animals, but every pet needs vet care from time to time. Even if you scrimped to save $5 a month; you'd have enough for a vet visit a year in some places.
Given that your dog is older; you really need to make this provision now since you haven't done so already. Even though you think you're pet is "just old" there can sometimes be meds they need or something simple that can really improve their quality of life for several more years.
Savings Tip: Don't buy the meds the vets sells you in their office. Have them write a script and make a good effort searching the internet for the meds you need. Sometimes you may not even need the script and can get the meds for pennies a day. It takes effort, but it's very do-able.
Also tell the vet you're on a very limited budget before they do anything. They may give a little discount or let you pay the bill off in time if you need to. (10/16/2008)
By Shelter Worker
My six year old golden baby has bad enough breath to knock a horse down. What we do is once a month we take a toothbrush (hers) and brush her teeth. I use baking soda with a little water and make a paste in a bowl. I scoop up the mixture with the toothbrush and brush her teeth. They problem is tartar. Like in humans it builds up. Instead of spending the money at the vets I do the cleaning myself. I also purchased a bone that's supposed to help keep her breathe"sweet", but the best way is good dental hygiene. (10/16/2008)
Try wetting a facecloth and use your finger to gently massage the teeth and gums. You can use chicken broth or tuna juice or something like that to make it more appealing, especially when your dog is new to this. Always treat after.
An old toothbrush with the tasty liquid will work, too. Let him chew on it while you hold it and praise him when he chews. Some dogs will resist letting you do the brushing, but will gladly do the brushing themselves. Don't let his sharp teeth cut through the bristles if you can help it.
A note about the low fat/low sugar yogurt: many of these products contain aspartame which is very unhealthy for all animals. And even if you don't believe that, Monsanto (the makers of Aspartame) is a company responsible for many deaths and environmental catastrophes. (Agent Orange, PCBs, Thalydamide, Round up, the decrease in the bee populations because of GM plants, just to name a few.) The company claims it's safe, but there is strong evidence to the contrary, and besides, the company also claimed/claims their other products are safe yet they have been proven to be liars in the past (as in PCBs).
Anyway, that was a bit off topic, but I wanted to warn you about the aspartame. And dogs can handle fat a lot better than humans can.
Hope this helps: Peanut, a mini Poodle, had the worst breath in the world, and our vet suggested charcoal dog biscuits. We used to grab a handful every time we were in the Petsmart, they're available in bulk in some pet stores and were more economical this way. Our little dog loved them. It's much cheaper than dental work. Good luck,
Nallorey from SK (10/18/2008)
The bad breath is caused by deep infection, and cleaning the teeth above the gum will not slow the infection one bit. Terrier breeds are notorious for being susceptible to periodontal disease and it gets into the dog's body causing system wide organ failure eventually. The tartar is made of calcium, which is not toxic, the cause of the infection is invasive bacteria and unsuccessful host response. (10/18/2008)
I buy doggie breath mints. My doggie loves them. (10/18/2008)
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