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 :: Brushing your dogs teeth
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FAQs - Teeth


It seems to be generally agreed that greyhound types are more prone to growing tartar on their teeth and developing gum disease than some other breeds. This is attributed by some people to soft diets as youngsters in racing kennels, and by others to having long jaws which tend to be less 'self cleaning'. Individual dogs vary a lot; some greyhounds teeth and gums stay OK without any tooth brushing, others having daily tooth brushing still have problems.

The main ways to help keep your dogs teeth and gums healthy are:

The type of food.

Iams produce a type of kibble that's supposed to reduce tartar build up. This will only be effective if your dog chews up the kibbles. If he shovels them down a mouthful at a time, the kibbles won't touch his teeth. Some people swear by raw bones, and others see this as reckless as illustrated in the extracts below.


There are various types of chews produced commercially which the dogs certainly seem to enjoy, and they give the jaw muscles a good work out. If your dog doesn't have much of a problem, these might be enough. Whatever the promotional literature says, commercial chews alone will not cure a serious gum problem.

Tooth brushing

If your dog has serious tooth/gum problems nothing will be anywhere near as effective as regular brushing. Soda bicarbonate paste seems most popular on the SpeakEasy as its reported to be very effective and has the bonus of being cheap.

Most dogs naturally have an inbuilt 'taboo' about letting people fiddle with their teeth. With progressive and gentle handling this can be overcome to make toothbrushing a welcome excuse for a cuddle. See the FAQ on how to brush your dogs teeth.

Here's some teeth and gums contributions from the SpeakEasy that might inform, or at least help you feel you are not alone if you have a gum problem:

  • Does anyone else have a grey with gingivitis that won't go away? Jims has had two dental operations and now doesn't have many teeth left plus two or three times a year he goes on antibiotics and/or steroids. Also I give him bones which help clean up his teeth, I also brush his teeth every day and my latest wheeze is to spray on bee propolis which is meant to encourage healing! Despite this, he does have very red and sore gums which only ever get a bit better despite all of the above. I've just started on Dave's suggestion (brushing with a bicarbonate of soda paste) which is certainly bringing up the teeth nicely, but has anyone been through this and solved it?

  • One of my greyhounds has extremely severe and painful gum disease, he had 4 teeth out last year and 16 out this year. Our vet has prescribed brushing with CHX-Guard Oral Cleansing Gel (with ZincChlorhexidate) It is apparently the equivalent of human antibacterial mouthwash and is the dog's best bet for keeping any of his remaining teeth. I don't know if there is a solution to the problem, this vet specialises in dentistry by the way.

  • I did try the CHX stuff which worked up to a point - I mean it must do some good, but again the gums never really cleared up.

  • ...If you have problems getting to the back teeth, then go to the dentist or Superdrug and get a long reach toothbrush, for the human back teeth. Its got the tiniest bristles and smallest head they do, it works for rocky real well. My vet said that greys have such teeth problems because they have such long faces, which makes sense really.

  • I was told by a dentist that you are as well using salt and bicarbonate soda rather than any mouthwashes it does a better job and is a hell of a lot cheaper thats when I started using this on my greys to great effect, water/salt and b/soda in cup and go to work on those molars bit by bit not 2 much in 1 day.

  • ...I did Smoke's pegs this am and, it's amazing, they're much better, cannot believe it after only one brushing, they must have been really coated. Have been using Four Paws natural Pet Dontal (peanut flavour) So pleased with the bi-carb treatment. He's pretty patient with me and lets me 'wrench' open his mouth to get at the back teeth.

  • Nothing better than a good bone to clean dog teeth. They are made for that. OBVIOUSLY, THE BONE MUST BE FED RAW this process help them get strong jaw and neck muscles, it clean their teeth and they have really nice gums.

  • ...but bones can become lodged in their throat or splintering causing internal damage (ask any vet what they think of giving dogs bones)
Information provided by contributors to the Speakeasy, and summarised by Jill

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