The annual trip to the vet last month resulted in two things: he'd gained a little weight and needed his teeth cleaned.
On the weight side, we'd changed his feeding routine a few months ago and we simply needed to cut back a little on his morning meal (from 2/3 to 1/2 cup of kibble). He's fed twice a day, gets tiny treats, and virtually no table scraps (except what he hoovers up off the kitchen floor), so the solution was easy.
On the teeth front, I was not surprised. Terriers are known to have teeth that attract plaque. He had teeth cleaning a year ago and the cost was outrageous: hundreds of dollars, the majority of which was for blood work and anesthesia. I love my dog, and want him to keep his teeth, but really. It was outrageous.
I popped into my local Global Pet Foods where we get his food and supplies, and chatted with Rosemary, one of the owners. I told her of my teeth angst and she proposed a solution (actually, one of two, but I'll focus on the first.) She suggested we give him raw bones to chew on once in a while. She explained that there is both a mechanical and biological benefit to this. Gnawing on the bones provides a physical scaling of the teeth, particularly as they try to get the marrow out of the centre of the bone. There are also enzymes in the bones that work to improve the flora of the mouth and prevent tartar from building up. They sell frozen organic marrow bones and it's important to get the right size for the dog. I bought a bag of bones and have been giving him a couple per week to chew on.
A few days ago, I looked at his teeth and really didn't see much improvement, Yesterday, he spent hours chewing on a large bone, and was really scraping out the centre. This morning when I looked at his teeth, there was NO brown buildup on his large incisors (canines?), and much less on his smaller teeth. Unbelieveable! And the extra bonus is that he enjoys the bones and they really occupy him for an extended period of time. The only downside is that he needs to be supervised so that he doesn't hide the bone somewhere in the house. He has already done this a couple of times and I had to follow him around for a while to figure out where he'd put it. I really didn't want a smelly raw bone to turn up under my pillow or behind the sofa!
I'll be a regular bone customer!