Yes, the sooner you start, the better. Any of the enzyme toothpastes work. I've used both C.E.T. and Arm and Hammer. The most important thing is that he likes the taste enough that it isn't aversive. The vet told me that if, at first, all you can do is get the toothpaste into their mouths, even that helps.
I have used a small dog toothbrush in the past, but Kodi seems more comfortable with a little terrycloth "sock" that I got at Petsmart, that fits over one finger. The good news is that at 3+ years, his teeth still look like a puppy's. The vet told me that they already see dental problems in a lot of 3 year old small dogs who don't get regular tooth care.
I palso feed him Plaque-Off daily. Iknow Dave doesn't like this supplement,(it is a natural kelp product, but as such, contains iodine) but the Kings use it for all. Their dogs, and are convinced that it works well in keeping tartar down. And they have never had a thyroid problem in their dogs. So I feel comfortable feeding it to Kodi, and my vet agrees.
I am not denying Karen that it works. I just feel that people need to know both sides of the story. here is a quote from another breeder and former member here. ...
"On Saturday, I was in a seminar with Jean Dodds, DVM all day. Her topics of discussion were thyroid, vaccines and nutrition. When she was on the topic of thyroid, she specifically mentioned that you should not add any kelp to your dog's diet if you feed a commercial product because commerical products already have Iodine in them and kelp will give them way too much iodine, which will suppress thyroid function. Those who do homecooking and raw (non-commercial) should be fine unless you are already adding iodine in another form. Strangely enough, this was the only specific food supplement that she mentioned to avoid in regard to thyroid function" (Kimberley)
And here is a statement by Sabine re placqueoff ..."Dogs who eat common commercial diets (especially dry food) often already get 3, 4 5 times and more the amount of iodine than the recommended daily allowance, and Plaque-Off adds to that.
Just as an example, per NRC 2006 guidelines the *weekly* recommended intake of iodine for a 10 pound dog is 645 mcg.
Let's say this dog eats Orijen Adult and needs 3 1/2 cups per week (1/2 cup per day) to maintain a good weight. This amount of dry food already supplies 2,012.5 mcg of iodine, or over 300%.
If you add even just 1/2 scoop of Plaque Off daily to that (200 mcg * 7 = 1,400 mcg), you end up at 3,412.5 mcg, or almost 530%.
The "minerals such as iodine are absorbed from the diet according to need; excess minerals pass straight through" claim is totally ignorant, since if that really were the case, we wouldn't have various toxicities from excess levels, including what Dr. Dodds is referring to."
If you want a very enlightening book on this