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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Food for older dogs

Hi everyone,

This is probably a silly question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. I've never had this problem before, because honestly I've never had a dog as old as Tango. I've always had bigger dogs, which have a shorter lifespan.

Tango is now 13(ish). She's in great health, except her teeth are really bad. I do have them cleaned annually, but they weren't cared for at all when she was younger. She currently only has about half of her teeth, and I believe they sometimes cause her pain.

She's gotten to the point that she won't eat anything crunchy (not just kibble - she won't chew on greenies, bully sticks, even real bones). I've switched her to soft (canned) food, and I now feed her separate from the other dogs.

This is working well, except that even with just one dog, the canned food is getting cost prohibitive. DH and I are on a pretty tight budget, and the extra cost of the canned food is starting to add up (she's been on soft food for about 4 months now).

How have some of you handled aging dogs and dental issues?

Thanks a bunch!
Jo
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2010, 11:54 PM
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Hi Jo, I have an older dog Chingy who just turned 12! Chingy is a Chinese Crested. She's the hairless variety and it seems that hairless and toothless come hand in hand with this breed. Chingy has hardly any teeth -10 maybe? I feed her kibble but warm a little water with a tablespoon of canned food like a gravy and let it soak the kibble. The kibble softens just a bit and you can judge how much she needs it softened and let it sit a little longer if needed. Do you brush Tango's teeth? I use the Petzlife gel for my kids and I think it helps the teeth, but also helps to keep the gums healthy. Chingy will still eat chews but sometimes won't want a Flossie so I give her "Twistix"--they are still nice chews but are softer and made from rice powder. I think it's important for them to have chews as an aid to keep there teeth and gums healthy. If her teeth seem to be causing pain maybe another trip to the dentist to have them checked out is in order? If her teeth are going bad, perhaps the dentist would wish to pull them? I haven't found that missing teeth has been much of a problem for my Cresteds. Sometimes their tongue might sneak out a little with no toofs on the side to hold it in, but I think it's cute.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 12:28 AM
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Christy has the same ideas I was going to post. Soft food can be softened kibble. You don't have to pay the extra money for canned food.

You may also be able to skip the annual cleanings, especially if she just had it done by going to a dog toothpaste. The Petzlife gel is the most aggressive and effective for keeping the teeth clean, but some dogs totally hate the taste of it. (The only way I can describe it is "zingy".) In her advanced age, the enzymatic flavored toothpastes (C.E.T., Petrodex, etc.) may be easier for her to accept, but the Petzlife has a higher success rate for keeping the teeth clean.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you both!

Her teeth were cleaned in March, and the vet did remove 3 at that time. I've been using Petzlife on the other three dogs, but Tango absolutely can't stand it. I fought her for about two weeks, then it just got to be too stressful for her. It was making her regress, back to where she would run from me and started shaking in fear when she saw me coming (she was mill dog rescue, and it took me literally years before she came out of her shell and would trust me). To me, that just wasn't worth it. I would rather have the expense of annual cleanings and have a dog who loves and trusts me!

I'll definitely try to soften some kibble and see if she'll accept that. Thanks so much!
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 10:53 AM
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Since she cannot stand Petzlife, you may want to pick up a tube of Petrodex in the poultry flavor from your local Petsmart or Petco. It is only a couple of dollars. Start off by putting a teeny dab on your finger and giving it to her to lick as a reward. Once she tastes it, you can start offering it to her like that twice a day, and then in another day or two, you can put it on her upper back molars with your finger. Sounds like she probably wouldn't care for the toothbrush too much either. I use my finger with all my dogs anyway because it is so much faster.

I'm not convinced that Petrodex will get rid of built up tarter, but it will help prevent it from sticking.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 01:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Kimberly, I will definitely try that.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 04:26 PM
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That is what I use on my three-Petrodex-I have not had Frannie's teeth cleaned yet this year-the vet does not seem to think she needs it. I feed her canned twice a day-cottage cheese or yogurt for lunch-then human food at night. Meat-vegs-and a starch of some type.

It is very expense to feed canned but I can't feed raw to Frannie-would not be good for her system. Still working on finding a good home cooked diet for her that she will eat & I can afford.

Good Luck
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 07:07 PM
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I agree with soaking kibble in hot water, then throw in a spoonful of canned and make a nice mush out of it.

For what it's worth, I scrape my dog's teeth. You can get a tool from PetEdge, etc. I don't do anything fancy with it, just scrap off the biggest pieces of tarter and avoid the gumline (where it would hurt the most). Clover lies across my lap while I watch TV; the show dogs I do while they sit on the grooming table. I've found my dogs get much less stressed out about me poking around their mouths than trying to use any toothpaste or things like that. They are all individual of course :-) Clover just turned 13 and even with his crazy bite (undershot, crooked) he's had no dental issues.

~Karen
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-10-2010, 09:29 PM
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You can also whirr some kibble in your food processor and then measure it out and add warm water to it, sort of like a cereal or paste. Good quality canned food is quite pricey, but this can help. If you have time, making a batch of your own soft food can save a lot of money. They have mixes available where all you do is measure the powder, add water and your protein. Easy! Here's one, just as an example: http://www.knowbetterpetfood.com/home

I'd be very careful with a scraper as you can hurt the gums if you get too close - not for you, Karen, but for those that haven't ever used one, esp. on a reluctant dog. It can easily slip. Something I've heard, is that a scraper can also leave minute grooves on the tooth's surface, trapping bacteria/food and creating a bigger problem. Not sure if that's true ....




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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-11-2010, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not sure I would use a scraper. I've heard stories about them leaving grooves in teeth, as well. And with Tango, I especially don't want to do anything that would make her afraid of me. I think it's important to know both my and her limits!!!

That make your own food stuff is interesting....thanks! I really appreciate all of the suggestions everyone!

I'll try a few different things and see what works best for us. You guys are the best!
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