Nobody Likes Going to the Dentist

Tell your kids to go brush their teeth. Trust me. Just do it. If they decline, show them this. (Scroll down to photos below.)

Ok. Do you brush your dog’s teeth?

I admit, I don’t. I’m a good dog Mom. I am. I absolutely DO NOT brush 6 to 8 dog’s teeth daily, or weekly, or at all. I just don’t. I really hope that my kids are actually brushing their damn teeth when they say they have. That is enough of a battle. What I DO is give my dogs very healthy dog food. I NEVER feed them people food, (ok, I use some all beef hotdogs to give pills, and very occasionally I give the dogs frozen peanut butter Kongs, but that’s it).

February is Canine Dental Health month. Woo! How important is a dog’s oral hygiene? And why am I writing this in January? We have a new guest, a senior, and she had the most awful breath. I mean really bad. You could smell her breath within 5 feet of her, poor thing. It was bad. Cora was living outside with two other dogs for three years after her owner died.

The neighbors fed them.*  What they fed them – who knows? But Cora isn’t at all thin. Unfortunately, her mouth was a mess. An actual stinking mess.










Well, if you don’t want your dog to smell, and who does, their oral hygiene is quite important. Bad breath makes cuddling less fun, but did you know that canine dental problems can actually have major adverse health impacts? The toxins from periodontal disease are absorbed into a dog’s blood stream. As the kidneys, liver, and brain filter the blood, small infections occur. These can become life-threatening infections, causing permanent and even fatal heart, liver, and kidney disease.

Whether or not you brush your dog’s teeth (and hey, good for you if you do, because most of us don’t), you should have a look inside your dog’s mouth every once in a while. If you notice any of these signs of dental problems, you need to visit the vet:
  • Bad breath
  • Change in eating/chewing habits
  • Pawing at the face or mouth
  • Depression
  • Excessive drooling
  • Misaligned/missing teeth
  • Discolored, broken, missing/crooked teeth
  • Red, swollen, painful or bleeding gums
  • Yellowish-brown crust along the gum line
  • Bumps or growths in the mouth

Your dog should have his teeth checked by a professional every six to twelve months.

Cora had to have almost all of her teeth extracted. 27 I believe. She was in bad shape. These are pictures from my amazing vet. You can’t see how bad it is until the teeth come out. Look how much of the damage was well below the surface. Yuck.

GROSS, right?

PREVENTION is so important! Addressing problems when they are minor is key to your dog’s overall health and longevity. Most pet insurance policies won’t pay out for dental treatment, so delaying can be costly.

What to do?

Brushing your dog’s teeth is best, but needs to be done daily to be truly effective. Alternatively, for the busy and the lazy, like myself, it’s really easy to give them treats that help remove tartar and plaque build up and also help with that bad breath. We use these and these.

What you feed your dog is very important to your their overall health. Generally, a good quality dry kibble is better than soft food, which is more likely to stick to you dog’s teeth and cause tooth decay. You can also provide natural treats. Most dogs like the taste of apples. Chewing on fresh, crisp apple slices helps remove bacteria and food particles from teeth. Just no seeds, there are bad, (tiny bit of arsenic). Fresh carrots and celery are also good bacteria removers. Good luck with the celery, not a hit at my house.

Adding a little dollop of plain yogurt with live active cultures to your dog’s daily kibble is beneficial. Probiotics are great for their tummies, but yogurt can reduce odor causing hydrogen sulfide in your dog’s mouth and also help destroy the bacteria that cause plaque and tartar.
Recommended Daily Intake of  plain, nothing added yogurt:
  • Small size dogs – 1 tsp to 1 tbs
  • Medium size dogs – 1/8 cup
  • Large dogs – 1/3 cup
  • Extra large dogs – 1/2 cup

Miss Cora is home, resting, and is already feeling so much better without her teeth. We will be giving her soft foods for a few weeks and antibiotics. She is going to be such a happy girl! Now we just need to find her forever family!

*All three senior dogs are rescued and in foster homes. Let me know if you are interested in adopting!


Backyard breeding

When you think puppy, you think happy things, right? Puppies are soft, and playful, and adorable. Most of us would never think of anyone mistreating a puppy.

This 9 week old puppy has had a rough start in life. He has been rescued from an outdoor kennel in freezing, filthy conditions. His brothers and his parents have been sold by a profit motivated backyard breeder. Because of the tenacity of several rescue women, this puppy was saved and will be adopted to a wonderful forever home through Take Paws Rescue. I have seen evidence that his brothers are both in safe homes. Unfortunately, I have no idea where his parents ended up.

He is an Anatolian Shepherd, a large Turkish breed that protects livestock. I lived in Turkmenistan for 2 years and learned a few Turkish names. This boy, while he is with me, will be Naciye. In Turkish it means saved and being secured; saved from hell and deserving heaven. It is pronounced (NAH-jee-uh), but the last syllable is very slight, so NAH-jee. Naciye was happy to have a bath and got the bad smell off. He loves being bundled in warm, soft blankets.

At 9 weeks old and already 21lbs, this is going to be a really big dog! He could reach 130-150lbs easily.

I learned about Naciye from the woman that went to buy a puppy and discovered and documented the deplorable conditions that these dogs were living in. She (and many others) have called the authorities and reported this. As far as we have seen, nothing has been done. Shockingly, this is legal and within the owners rights because these dogs have been “provided shelter”. Look at this photo. This is legal. It makes me sick that this is the case.

It makes me feel really good to know that these particular puppies are safe and warm right now, but this is part of a much larger problem – backyard breeding.

If you are looking to add a dog to your family, rescue one, or at least research and check out the breeder thoroughly. Backyard breeding (anyone who deliberately breeds for profit, or has a litter by negligent accident and then gives away or sells the puppies), is the single greatest cause of the pet overpopulation. Backyard breeders, and people who buy dogs from backyard breeders, are perpetuating a crisis that is being cruelly  “managed” through euthanization.

Although it is appalling to me that anyone would keep puppies, or any dogs, in these conditions, it is worse that because these dogs are poorly bred, unsocialized, and tend to require more medical care than most owners, shelters and rescues can afford, all too many of these dogs will be euthanized. These backyard breeders all too often end up with more dogs than they can properly care for, and then the authorities seize the dogs and take them to overcrowded shelters, or else, as with our recent foster-Lab, Maddie, the breeder dumps a large group of them at the shelter. If there isn’t space, if there aren’t adopters and fosters, they are put down.

Worse, most of the dogs being euthanized in the shelters day after day are are actually young and healthy, adoptable dogs. Even puppies are put to sleep. I’ve seen estimates that the majority of euthanized dogs are under 12 months old. The problem is simple. There are too many dogs and there are too few homes. The majority of killing could easily be prevented by spaying and neutering our pets.

Euthanasia is the single largest cause of death for dogs in the U.S. & the only way to stop the needless killing of dogs is to stop the needless breeding of them.  





This puppy is happy to be safe, inside and warm, well fed, and dewormed. (He doesn’t understand that last one, but he sure feels better.) Naciye has several interested adopters. He will be neutered at 6 months old by people who love dogs and care enough to not be part of the problem.