I had Ellie at the veterinarian's office yesterday and, at the end of the appointment, I asked the vet about what I can use to help with teeth cleaning.  Ellie likes to chew on her antler and her teeth look great, but Yuki has given up on antlers, it seems, and his teeth and breath are less than pleasant.  I do brush his teeth, but it doesn't seem to be quite enough for him.

Anyway, I asked about using raw bone as a chew to aid in cleaning his teeth because he needs something that he is motivated to chew on.  The vet, of course, told me that all bones are "bad" and I shouldn't feed any to the dogs.  It was a bit disappointing, as I had been hoping she would say ribs or other non-weight-bearing bones would be worth a try.  She did, however, recommend bully sticks, greenies and soft nylabones.  I don't like the idea of feeding my dogs plastic (no matter how safe they say the plastic is...) and I've known too many dogs who have had problems digesting greenies.  I also refuse to feed my dogs rawhide, as a personal choice, so she didn't bother to add that to the list.

So...has anyone ever tried using bully sticks to help with cleaning teeth?  I know Melissa feeds bully sticks to Franklin and so far his teeth have stayed great.  How about cleaning teeth that are already getting some plaque on them, though?  Has anyone seen bully sticks make an improvement?  Yuki isn't at the point where he needs a professional cleaning, yet, and I'd like to try to keep it that way.  Also, what sort of bully sticks do people recommend?  I've seen all sorts of them (braided, straight, knotted, etc.)

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Does anyone else give bully sticks but their pup has issues starting and finishing them?

Kaylee needs someone to hold it at the beginning and at the end when it gets too small for her paws to hold it. She'll just whimper with it in her mouth until we do something about it.

I definitely have a lot to think about regarding all of these chews.  And that's a good thing!  There's just so much information out there that it's hard to process it all.  It's so great having a community of loving owners to consult on these topics.  :) 

Nylabone makes a dental chew like greenies that also comes in a steak flavor. One of my dogs has trouble with the green ones but they all love the steak. They are expensive though!  I also use dentastix, and stick them in a treat holder like Occupi or Busy Buddy (see link below)  to make it last longer. One thing I have noticed is that some things they chew on leaves a residual smell on the carpet. I will see them all stop and sniff and lick at a spot that had been used for chewing. I assume if you give bones you don't let them chew on the carpet?

This is the best treat holder ever- sometimes Snickers can't get the last of the dentastix out, but she will try for an hour! And she has not been able to do any damage to it.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0009YJ4I6/ref=oh_details_o05_s01_i01

I don't know if bully sticks clean teeth but, Chuckie sure does like his bully sticks.  They are quite pricey, considering what it is, and quite stinky when I buy it from a pet store.  Seriously, they SMELL!  The first time he chewed on it I was like "WHAT is that SMELL?" After sniffing around and tracking it down to Chuckie and the bully stick in his mouth, I started looking for different brands of bully sticks.

I've found a brand called Nudges Bully Sticks at Wal-Mart that doesn't smell at all.  It's two 5 inch sticks for $4.98 or you could track down odorless bully sticks.  I usually buy 4 at a time and Chuckie seems to adore it.  I give it to him whenever I need 'Me' time because Chuckie thinks that whenever I sit down it's 'His' time so, it gives me a break from him.

His teeth are pretty good looking but, then again he is only 9 months so they shouldn't be any other way but good for now. 

I've decided I'm going to try some split knuckle bones (cautiously, of course; only 15 minutes of chewing before they go back into the freezer) and see how it goes.  I really gave it a lot of thought and realized that we used to buy the hardest of nylabones (I swear it was as hard as a real bone) and Yuki never had a problem with those.  I also realized that, no matter what I choose to let him chew on, there would always be some sort of hazard that I would be worrying about.  I don't think I'll feel that any option is really "right" and 100% safe.  And now that I know what a bully stick is (and that they are really stinky), I don't know that I will ever buy one.  I would be really grossed out if one of my children were to pick one up, haha.

Mine love the knuckle bones and I  throw them back in the freezer too. I don't know if deer antlers work for cleaning BUT are a safe toy to leave out for chewing and last  for a very long time:)

The split antlers and moose antlers are popular here. They are expensive and once they get into it only last the 3 of them a few days, but they do a FABULOUS job with the teeth. I wish I could keep them interested in them all the time- the cost of antlers compared to a vet cleaning is minimal.

Yeah, I actually prefer using antlers and do keep some elk antlers around for chewing. Unfortunately, Yuki has stopped chewing them and won't show interest in them until Ellie has one and he wants to play.

There are times when Franklin wouldn't eat a knuckle bone right away so I would rinse it with hot water and that would bring out some of the blood in the marrow and get him interested. Just make sure you have a place for them to chew that is safe, this is a raw bone and there will be blood and meat on it. Franklin has a towel that he always uses to chew his knuckle bones and so he knows when the towels are spread out its chew time. I'm then able to bleach the towels easily after each use. I put the knuckle bones in the fridge after a while and throw them out after about 3 days if there is anything left. After he broke his tooth I have still given him one or two, I'm just very careful not to give him anything that has ANY part of the shaft of the femur on it, I had been giving him just the heads weekly for over a year with no problems. Now that I work at a vet the cost of an extraction won't be nearly what it was last year! Lol

oh they don't look anything like what they are made of. 

I've heard soaking the antlers in water can rekindle their interest in them sometimes.

Well, Yuki had his annual exam last night and...the vet said he needs a cleaning to prevent his teeth from getting bad.  :(  She told my husband that his teeth won't improve without a cleaning (she marked him as grade 1.)  I had been hoping to avoid this, but it seems I waited too long in finding a chew to help along with his brushing.  With any luck, though, he'll do well with his knuckle chew and we won't have to schedule more than this one cleaning.

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