Chihuahua's first raw chicken wing (for dental reasons)

2-years-and-9-months-old 6 lb intact male long-haired chihuahua… Fed wet food in the morning and raw complete in the evening.

He came to me at 16 months old. A few weeks later, a vet opened his mouth and exclaimed, “What is it with chihuahuas and teeth?!” That phrase has never left me…

He was unsocialised, unhousebroken and extremely fearful, and it was several months later after working on these things with him that I could start to turn my attention towards his teeth. He flat out doesn’t cooperate with toothbrush/toothpaste, but every day now I make tiny inroads into desensitising him with this method, plus with wiping them with a damp cloth. But his jaw is so tiny with all of those impossible-to-reach teeth back there, and he clamps it shut. His teeth are now somewhat improved with all my efforts, but he still has some tartar build-up.

I tried Tropiclean gel (didn’t work), and I have been using Plaque Off for months (hasn’t worked).

I gave him a raw chicken wing (skin on) at 9.20 am today, and he was gnawing away very happily for an hour. He was left with a two-inch piece when he let me know he was done with it. I placed the chicken wing initially on a clean pot towel and he did keep it on there. He thoroughly enjoyed the chicken wing. He growled when I got within seven feet of him, to let me know I wasn’t to take it off him! I managed to build a cage around him (his 4’ x 6’ pen) to stop him from wandering around with it and dragging it onto the carpeted area.

When done, I put him in the sink in an inch of warm water and cleaned his snout, ruff and feet with a pet wipe and water.

I am thinking of giving him a chicken wing once a week to help with the tartar, and at £2.50 for 12 wings, this is an economical dental method. I will still be keeping up with my other efforts at cleaning his teeth every day.

If anyone has any concerns about the weekly chicken wing, or any advice, please let me know.

I gave him the chicken wing in place of his breakfast but I’m not sure if it is enough as a meal, which is usually 50 g of wet food.

I have 3 toy dogs and they have a chicken wing or a small drumstick every other morning. I usually just throw them out on the patio for them… they love them. Does help to keep their teeth clean.

Do you trim any fat/skin off them? They don’t seem to have much meat on them.

No I don’t trim anything off. No there’s not much meat but plenty of fats. Chicken feet are good too, less meat but plenty of the grizzly joints which is good for dogs. Mine love their chicken in the morning. You could get him a smaller sized marrow bone as he will use different teeth trying to get the marrow out and it will keep him occupied for ages.

I stopped feeding them to my dog because she eats too quickly and swallows bits that are worryingly big to me. That is just personal choice however based on her habits.

Yes, it’s a bit of a worry feeling that something may go wrong (swallowing sharp pieces, blockages, fracturing teeth); and it makes me feel irresponsible that I may be putting him at risk, so I don’t know if I will continue with it. I have read enough from people to quell my fears, but not entirely. I would much prefer to give him raw carrots, but I feel they may be just as dangerous (for a 6 lb dog), if not more so.

IMHO if the pet owner is not comfortable with feeding raw body parts then it is better not to. We should enjoy feeding our dogs, not be made anxious by it. If the dog is to be given these then they should not be left unsupervised and the owner needs to be aware of what to do if choking occurs. Dental problems in small dogs is quite common. If they won’t cooperate with a brushing regime then an occasional veterinary dental treatment is probably going to be the only option.

I think I would worry more about him having even a one-off anaesthetic and all it entails than giving him a weekly chicken wing (and observing him carefully, but not neurotically). An anaesthetic, to me, seems like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. Both are not without risk, I suppose. Hopefully I will eventually win the ‘war on tartar’ by other methods. I think it’s better to do a little ‘tooth work’ every day, and he may come to realise that his treat straight afterwards is worth it.

I totally agree you must always do what you are comfortable with. I would never say any different.

My Bella is a gulper, many a times she’s swallowed a biggish piece of wing/thigh but she always hacks it back up, chews it up a bit more to finish it.
I don’t panic when this happens and leave her to do her thing, she just does a couple of big urges and the bone is back up. I wouldn’t stress her or panic her at this time.
I may be wrong but my way of thinking is if it goes down, they can regurgitate.
Chicken bones providing they are not cooked are soft.
Marrow bones are much harder, my dogs work their teeth against them trying to get the marrow from the middle but they couldn’t bite off a lump of bone as my dogs are small and their jaws are not that powerful. (+ the bone is too big for them to swallow).
Lamb bones from Morrisons are good too, they are soft enough for them to eat, as well as having to chew them for while.
My 3 love a bone, to me that’s what dogs do. If anything happened I wouldn’t change the way I feed them, as I believe it’s species appropriate.
Just my opinion :slight_smile:

I gave him his second chicken wing this morning. It took him 50 minutes to eat it, and I was surprised that he crunched and ate the whole thing. And again, he kept it on the tea towel. I left him to it and listened out for any choking noises, and glanced over occasionally, and he was fine.

I have been making good progress with the toothbrush and toothpaste. He now, in exchange for half of a small Lily’s Kitchen Woof Brush, has his teeth brushed every evening. He doesn’t like it, and I can’t do a thorough job of it just yet, but I can see signs that he will accept it in time as just another part of the day, and that teeth-cleaning and Woof Brush will come to mean the same thing.

I even managed to very gently and lightly scrape the tiniest bit of tartar from near his canine-tooth gum-line with my tweezers.

His teeth are looking a lot better!

Sounds good, just keep the routine going.
A product called Plaque Off helps keep tartar softish and easier to remove :slight_smile:

Thanks. I’ve been using Plaque Off for several months, but I don’t rate it on tartar unless it is extremely slow to work. I did notice that his rotten breath improved overnight when I started using it though. But when I changed his diet and stopped using the Plaque Off for a couple of weeks, his bad breath didn’t return. His previous diet made him very smelly all over, but now he’s transformed.

I noticed a few specks of (his) blood on the tea towel this morning after he had finished eating the chicken wing. I think that maybe he is getting a good dental from them rather than that they may be damaging his teeth.


Well done for persevering with your dog’s dental health. It is obviously paying dividends.

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Thanks, Dottie. The softly, softly approach is working. I managed three tiny scrapes of his upper ‘canine’ teeth yesterday after the brushing; two scrapes the day before.

I gave him his third chicken wing yesterday morning. He chewed it for 10 minutes and then left it, mostly uneaten.

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