Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Dog tooth check: Charlie’s tartar

Charlie’s got dog breath. Well of course he has, he’s a dog. I mean he’s got ‘dog breath’ in human terms – rank-smelling and with a heavy build-up of tartar, the sort of stuff that can cause gum disease and won’t come off with a toothbrush.

His teeth were fine, if a bit yellow, at last year’s health check – in fact, they were pretty good for a 10-year-old dog. They’re still strong now, but their condition seems to have deteriorated quickly since his operation in June. At his health check in August this year, the vet was far less satisfied with them, noting a build-up of tartar. Normally, this would mean a scale and polish for Charlie, which is done under general anaesthetic. This time, the vet didn’t want to put him through another surgical procedure because he had major surgery just a few months ago.

What to do? Despite Charlie’s health issues, there’s the possibility that if his teeth don’t improve, surgery might become the only option. I know many other dog-owners will be in the same position, so I searched the internet for advice, and I came up with what appears to be one of those ‘miracle’ products. ‘PlaqueOff’ is a food supplement that claims to soften the tartar build-up until it just scrapes off either with the help of a toothbrush or when the dog is chewing.

I’m naturally sceptical of miracle products. Manufacturers make such bold claims about what they can do, and it’s easy for a simple-minded soul like me to be bamboozled by ‘the science bit’. This time, though, I found a large number of rave reviews from users of the product.  According to the instructions, results can be seen after 3-8 weeks of use. Quite a few of the user reviews said that their dogs’ teeth were good as new after three weeks, although this would obviously depend on how bad they were to start with. As I haven’t got many alternatives and it only cost about £10 for a 60-gram pot, I thought I’d give it a go.

We’re now four weeks into our trial (day 31) and although I’ve not seen any miracles yet, I'm pretty sure it’s working. Charlie’s teeth were pretty tartared-up, so it might take longer to see results than with some other dogs. But the tartar is gradually starting to rub off and his breath, though still a bit doggy, isn’t as bad as it was.

Maybe after 12 years of use, Charlie’s teeth will never be pristine. But if this product can save him from having dental surgery it will save me a lot of worry as well as money. So:
·         Will Charlie’s teeth come clean?
·         Will he avoid dental surgery?
·         How long will it take?

Watch this space to find out.

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