Dental Plaque

Having recently changed from kibble to a combination of Natures Menu (Raw) and Lupo Natural Swiss Chicken (compressed) do I need to give my GSD and JR anything to clean plaque off teeth? Natures Menu recommend raw bones for teeth cleaning, but I gave my GSD one of their ducks necks and it was gone in about 30 seconds (not much chewing went on!) . The Lupo is not crispy like kibble so I guess it may not clean plaque (and there are many differing opinions of whether kibble actually cleans plaque or not).
Anyone have any thoughts?

PS they love both meals - can’t get enough of it and I use the Lupo for training treats as well.

Hello again Gill (just replied to your introduction). I certainly find that raw bones are the best and most natural thing for clean teeth. For large dogs like Luca, you’ll want something a bit more substantial like a knuckle bone fed in place of a meal once or twice a week. I’ve never seen any real evidence that normal kibble helps to keep teeth clean. There are some dry foods incorporating abrasives for that purpose but they tend to be quite controversial ingredients and not something I personally would recommend. There are also all sorts of other chews and supplements that are intended for plaque removal but as far as I’m concerned, raw bones are the way forward.

Having only just started raw feeding I haven’t moved on to bones yet. I do have some pieces of chicken ones in the freezer so am just waiting for the opportunity to try the girls with them. I am a bit nervous though and will have to put the three of them in separate areas because I know from experience that things like this are very precious and can cause ructions. Anyway, I do clean their teeth but not as often as I should. Right now they are looking OK. The product PetzLife gel does work but is expensive. Also you do have to keep at it. It might take a couple of weeks before the plaque starts to soften. If it is really bad then I suppose the best thing to do is to have a dental treatment at the vet because extractions might be necessary. This then gives you a good start to keep the teeth clean.

I have just started my terrier on natures menu. She has the country hunter cubes at the moment and I have been thinking about teeth as they contain fruit. She does eat a bone occasionally and can munch her way through a big one without too much trouble. I hope this will keep her teeth clean.

I seem to remember that NM add green tea extract to their food and if James Wellbeloved are to be believed, it is supposed to be good for teeth.

If you get a problem with plaque, plaque off seems to be recommended time and time again. I was talking to someone with a very old rottie at a dog show the other week, he was a rescue and his teeth were awful when he got him. He used plaque off, and said it took a few months to really start seeing results, but his teeth were lovely (I had a good look!).
My latest rescue, Dexter, has hideous teeth, I’m going to start him on plaque off soon, he really needs a dental at the vets but because he is a very fearful dog and has a needle phobia they don’t want to stress him out that much for the time being. He would have to be heavily sedated before they could even get near him :frowning:
I’ve got some raw duck necks ready for him, but as he is a resource guarder, it’s going to need some serious management to let him and my other dog both have a bone without ructions!

I hear that bones are the thing for keeping teeth clean but I recall seeing the television programme on dog food that Channel 5 aired at the end of January 2014. There was a dental specialist vet on it and he reckoned that he sees dirty mouths in dogs who have had bones. His opinion was that the best way of keeping them clean is simply to brush daily with an appropriate toothpaste. I can vouch for this - I have managed to clear tartar, and to keep them free of it by consistent brushing but the word ‘consistent’ is key. I’ve also used PetzLife gel which works but only by using it regularly. It seems to soften the tartar so that it can easily be scraped off.

The whole RAW movement started as a reaction to the amount of poor dental health observed in dogs. The opposition of merit is the US vet PitcairnA whose book is brilliant and argument very sound. As a consequence I feed one RAW which might be chicken carcass and one meal commercial. I have five dogs and have fostered another 10 and my results are interesting. My 11 year old terrier has no raw bones and has pretty good teeth considering age and overshot jaw while my two year old jrt had plaque. My three year old lurcher cross had really bad tartar on one side . Other older jrt fine and a foster with uncleanedand teeth improved .My conclusion is that diet is very important but I am adding rawhide chews, chicken wings and brushing for Jim as his problem is teeth removed on lower jaw . The little jrt probably gulps down her feed. With a perfect set of teeth diet works but even RAW does not usualy include the fur and sinews of a whole prey animal.

I agree with brushing, however…
Dexter with his manky teeth will not let me get a brush in there, although the day before yesterday I did discover that he is better with a proper dog toothbrush than a finger brush (the rubbery ones), he will now at least sort of chew on it once I can actually get it in the vague direction of his mouth, rather than up his nose or nearly taking an eye out (he is such a little sod!) but it’s progress, which I need to encourage. I want to really get him used to the brush, as I have now started him on plaque off, so once the tartar starts to soften up a bit, I want to be able to brush it off, and keep him in a good routine. My other problem is that both of my dogs HATE the toothpaste. If you imagine the face a baby pulls when you give them a lemon to suck on; that’s pretty much the face the dogs pull lol! :o
I’ve got a sample of LOGIC gel to try, so will see if they find that any better, in the meantime I’ll just keep on with a slightly dampened brush.

I am a little concerned that I noticed Jenna slightly tacky teeth when they were on cold pressed Markus Muller and now they are better on Ancestral Canine. Jim’s are clear too. I did clean but not as often as suggested on the gel bottle and am giving them a hide chew so probably more down to my action. Could rice based feed be a little sticky? It certainly can be when you cook it.

Possible. My terriers teeth weren’t too bad on cold pressed food but I have to say, her breath is definitely better since changing to mainly raw. Again though she is a speed eater so food probably doesn’t hang around long in the mouth.

My border collie cross has brown staining on her rear teeth both sides. I feed her on a good quality wet food and she has regular dental chews. I used to give her the odd knuckle bone but have been put off bones by my vet and various TV vet programs which show dogs needing to be operated on to remove sharp pieces of bone which have got stuck somewhere in their digestive system. She’s been on Plaque Off for about a month and although slightly better. It’s still not completely gone. I’ve yet to try brushing, but can see it not going very well as she’s a wuss with anything like that. I suppose the best rule is gradual introduction. I’m quite taken by the design of the relatively new Pedigree DentaFlex sticks, although they are fairly expensive to give on a daily basis. My dog used to like rawhide chews as a pup, but won’t touch them now.

I was told by the vet that brushing is the best option and this was confirmed by the specialist vet in the Channel 5 programme on dog food that was aired at the end of January 2014. Sometimes it’s best to bite the bullet and have dental treatment at the vets then you have a clean start for keeping them clean with brushing.

Bryan my 12 year old has pretty bad stained teeth at the back. we have used PetzLife gel and it did work pretty well on some of them.
my question is, what type of brush does everybody use. I have a soft rubber finger brush with lots of little soft bristles. I have tried the dog toothbrush before, but he just chewed that! :slight_smile:

I have used child toothbrushes in the past and they have been fine - cheaper than dog ones too.



Not that our boy has a major problem here, he doesn’t, but we do want to keep his teeth as clean as possible, try to reduce the possibility of tooth decay, and keep his breath sweet. So, I am looking for any pearls of wisdom that anyone might be able to offer. What I am really looking for are suggestions on what we can give a 6 year old Golden Retriever, to replace those Dentastix ‘type’ chews (not the actual Pedigree ones), that my wife will insist on buying. I am not convinced that they do any good at all, as for one thing they are consumed before you can blink an eyelid, and on the other hand the ingredients don’t fill me with any confidence.

Let me be a little specific! Our boy is rather manic when it comes to bones, hide chews and the like, and more often than not, because of the way he ‘goes at it’ will make his gums bleed. Such things will undoubtedly last longer, but I would prefer it if he didn’t damage himself in the process.

I have given him Tripe Sticks in the past, which I presume may help with the problem. They are healthier in my view than some of the ‘tat’ that is marketed by some pet food companies, and those which can also be seen in popular supermarkets (I think that these may be also be made by the same pet food companies!

Regularity of use is also significant, as I am trying to get some weight off him. So I wouldn’t want something that would potentially increase his weight.

Any suggestions?



Bleeding when chewing bones could be a sign of gum disease. Bones are one of the best ways of keeping teeth clean. A rope ragger to be played with after meals can act like a toothbrush.

Hi Alan,

It is the shearing action of the raw bones that clean the teeth - kibble doesn’t, despite what the manufacturers tell you.

Alternatives to bones and Dentastix -
Stag / Antler bars (real antlers ) - last longer than bones, don’t have the mess but are much more expensive,
A dental mix supplement that can be sprinkled onto the food which contains natural ingredients that attack plaque and tartar,
Toothpaste specially formulated for dogs - don’t use your own toothpaste, it may contain an ingredients such as Xylitol that is toxic to dogs.

Incidently, the ingredients in our dental mix also help at regulating metabolism and in weight loss.

Ards Animal Health

Sorry but just a few tips from vast and traumatising clinical experience…

Antlers are causing a massive increase in carnassial (the big tooth at the back of the top jaw) slab fractures…ouch!

Bones can get stuck in throats and oesophagi (food pipes) with fatal consequences. Yes they might be rare but when it is your patient that has died after hours of trying to dislodge with various contraptions, it becomes more significant and warrants me piping up on this forum.

Just think about brushing please.

Here’s to happy healthy doggies


Hi Vet,

Thanks for posting the information on Antlers and for your valued opinion. We were aware of the problem of giving them to puppies (the supplier does mention they are not suitable for puppies) but not of the increase in carnassial caused by the antlers.

I’ve had a look at the emphatic research into the increase of carnassial (see news on antler dog chews an update after surge of fractured upper carnassial teeth) and we will be informing our customers of the risks.

From personal experience - up until last year our dogs never had antlers, only raw bones on occasions, and have always had good clean teeth. They are eight years old and never had their teeth cleaned. However, we do notice when we leave out the dental mix for a while, the plaque and tartar starts to appear so, straight back on the dental mix and the odd raw bone. We are aware of the risk of raw bones but believe giving the bone after a meal for 10-15 minutes (always supervised) helps with the digestion and their general well-being. There’s plenty of literature out there for owners to decide (see Natures Menu’s Vet video).

It seems there must be others posting about the dangers of antlers and other hard chews because the sale of our dental mix has noticably increased over the weekend; we did wonder why.

In addition to the toothpaste option, there is also another product out there for dental hygene, Fragaria, but it’s controversial because it’s homeopathic - just thought I’d throw that bone in!

Victoria EA-SQP.