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Teeth & Dental Care
BY DIANE FINCH
Toy breed dogs? teeth and dental care are not the same as the larger breeds. Toy breeds do not always loose their baby teeth so they must be pulled and they need to be pulled at the appropriate time . My experience has taught me that few vets are knowledgeable about canine dentistry (few board certified in canine dentristy in the U.S.). Toy breeds seem to present a few more challenges.
Basically, toy breeds lower jaw grows faster than the upper jaw. This causes the bite to go undershot (the lower teeth protrude beyond the upper teeth ? a reverse scissor bite or worse). A scissor bite is a ?man-made? bite and the even bite is the natural bite. So according to one of the board certified vets in canine dentistry, we have created our own problems with bites/teeth.
First, I want to say that if the bite is incorrect on an 8 week old puppy, I personally do not believe a bite can be corrected. If a bite goes off after 8 weeks ? (1) undershot; (2) overshot; or wry mouth*, the appropriate teeth need to be removed ? either upper and lower jaw or the teeth in the jaw that are binding (i.e., if the bite is undershot, then remove the upper jaw teeth; if the bite is overshot, remove the lower jaw teeth; if the bite is wry, the canines should be removed because they are locking in place the way the teeth are coming in. Removing those baby teeth allow the adults to come down into place like they should. Remember that not only do the upper and lower jaws grow at a different rate, each side of the jaw grows at a different rate thus making the bite look like it is a wry bite. Because toy breed dogs seem to have those baby teeth anchored in so tight, they often mess up a bite severely. Baby teeth can make adult teeth come out making the teeth more forward (almost horizontal**) rather than straight up and down (vertical) and can cause the permanent adult teeth to appear inside the parameters of the teeth line (almost roof of the mouth).
Remove the appropriate teeth of a questionable bite at 10 to 12 weeks of age (the sooner the better ? actually as soon as you see it go off). Remove appropriate teeth anytime and as soon as you see a bite starting to go off and certainly all baby teeth should be out by 6 months of age. The canine teeth don?t normally come out till the dog is 9 months of age but if the bite looks like it is off, the proper jaw?s canines should be removed.
Also remember that if you do not remove baby teeth, it is not uncommon for the bite to go undershot since the lower jaw naturally grows faster than the upper jaw ? sometimes it takes up to a year and sometimes a year and a half to correct on it?s own. If the dog is a valuable show dog, you run a risk of a messed up bite if you do nothing or your vet doesn?t know what to do or advises you to just watch the bite. It is safer to pull the teeth at the appropriate times. A vet using isoflorine is best and no other medication and one that can keep small kittens alive during surgery is what you need to find to do your dental work on toy breeds. If a vet says he/she is an expert on canine dentistry, ask to see board certification for having received education in this specific field and check to see if that expertise also includes experience with toy breeds.
I pass this information on as what I have learned the hard way and it has taken me years to learn it through trial and error (way too many errors) so that you will not have to learn the hard way as I have and you will save many wonderful puppies that would have been lost as stars in the show ring.
*If the bite is a wry mouth, that is considered a ?severe? problem and all the baby teeth on that side need to be pulled ? even the back teeth. In slight under or over bites, remove only the front teeth and certainly remove the baby canines if they are binding any incorrect bite because they don?t normally come out on their own (if they come out at all) till 9 months of age. If the over or under bite is severe (quite a wide gap), then remove all the teeth in the appropriate jaw.
**If the bite is almost horizontal or ?parrot bite,? you may have a depletion (leeching) of the calcium from the bones (particularly noticeable in the extremities and teeth) going on in your puppy. Feeding a balance (I stress BALANCE) of calcium/phosphorus and getting the baby teeth out (all of them because this is a severe condition) will correct that bite if the dog had a correct bite at 8 weeks (young puppy). I give OsteoForm from ages 3 - 4 months to 9 months or longer and it is especially necessary in puppies who have big growth spurts.
Why Supplement Toy Breed Puppies With Calcium/Phosphorus?
Sometime during the earlier years of raising Pomeranians, I learned about the sudden and rapid growth spurt some puppies go through. Their bodies are growing so fast, their system robs calcium from their bones on which to grow. It is during this time (3 to 9 months of age) that some pretty strange things can happen in these rapid growth spurts. Some can?t hold their tails up flat on their backs, some can only hold their tails straight up to the sky, some ears droop, some break down in the pasterns and some splay their legs. They make the term ?falling apart? true.
Since I have been working with a bloodline for the past 12 years that are slow growers and smaller at birth, I had forgotten something I?d learned years before. Now I have been working with other bloodlines that the pups are larger when born and rapid growers but top out at the average show pom size. Just recently I had two reminders that I need to use OsteoForm on my puppies. OsteoForm is a supplement that balances calcium/phosphorus ? add this to their diet so their bodies don?t need to rob their bones (it typically shows up in extremities and teeth) to get the calcium they need for these growth spurts. And please note that any supplement used for this purpose needs to have a balance of calcium and phosphorus.
I recently had a show prospect puppy, but was growing him out a little before sending him to the handler. Thank goodness he was still with me or I?m certain he would have been another ?fallen apart? puppy! I noticed his ears were drooping and he was down in his pasterns and splay footed! This puppy was none of these previously and now suddenly he was pathetic. I started supplementing OsteoForm to him and three weeks later, I was seeing the puppy he used to be. I told my friends about this incident and recommended OsteoForm for all growing puppies (knowing they were working with these bloodlines).
Then, as if that wasn?t enough of a reminder, a puppy I?d previously placed as a show prospect with a correct tailset and correct bite was returned to me with the owner saying this puppy had her tail pointing straight up to the sky. I cared for the puppy for two months giving her my usual supplements including the OsteoForm. Within a month the puppy?s tail was flat on its back. Now I am convinced that some of these puppies that ?fall apart? can be saved by giving them OsteoForm when they needed it. The owners of the puppy didn?t recognize her when I said she was ready to return home.
Incidentally, this same puppy was presented to me with a ?parrot bite.? And this gets into another area of information I don?t think everyone is aware. And I suspect, as does my vet, that this ?parrot bite? appearance may also have had something to do with the calcium leeching. If something really funky is going on at this straggly stage, it may very well be this calcium leeching. And those were pretty strange looking teeth ? the only place I?d ever seen this bite was on a horse once. I had the puppy for 5 days (she was 5 months old and I believe the owners had noticed this for a month or more) when I was able to get my vet to pull all the baby teeth. Now the bite is as good a scissor bite as I?ve seen on poms. My vet has talked with one of six canine dental experts in this country (with board certified canine dentistry credentials) and I have posted this information on my website www.finchspoms.com what she learned from him about when is the correct time to pull baby teeth and which ones to pull for certain types of incorrect bites. The key is to pull these baby teeth at 10 to 12 weeks of age or whenever after that the bite starts to go off. Pulling baby teeth at 6 months of age may not be soon enough.
This is the second (of two) success stories I?ve had since learning this about the teeth. My writing explains what teeth to pull for whatever bite problem the dog has. The canine dental expert also says we have created our bite problems because a scissor bite is a man-made bite, not a natural bite ? an even bite is the way these dogs should be. A friend of mine recently told me her vet knew all about these theories/practices of pulling certain teeth to correct a bite and that it was covered in her vet course and she knew exactly what my friend was asking her to do. My personal experience has been that this is an exceptional vet because I?ve found most didn?t learn this in vet school even with some of the younger vets. Most say just ?wait and see.? If you ?wait and see,? you may be sorry if you have a messed up bite. In this case doing something is better than doing nothing.
Zinc is deficient in our poms diets and these coated northern breeds need more zinc than other breeds. I?ve added this to my poms? diets (but please if you add this to your poms? diets, make sure each pom gets an exact measured dose and do not overdose!). My co-breeder and I feel this has been very beneficial.
From everything I have seen, raw meat fed to poms (at least a rounded tablespoon per day) seems to put the best coats on poms and, in some cases, have prevented them from losing their coats. Raw poultry and raw hamburger and pork are the most likely to have E. coli and salmonella and other bad things in or on the meat so I don?t feed those raw (I cook those meats).
Poms who have luxating patellas can benefit greatly from using any of the joint formulas, but I like MSM the best for most. MSM is good for overall body health, not just the joints. It can be purchased in a powder form from a health food store and given daily in a meat or cheese ball. It needs to be human grade. Most will travel sound in 3 to 6 weeks after starting on it. In most cases it will spare the dog from surgery which isn?t always successful or safe and will give the dog 50% chance of not going arthritic in that area as it ages and certainly is less costly than surgery. I have yet to see a pom affected with a gimp from a patella luxation not travel sound after this MSM treatment.
What is MSM?
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM): organic sulfur, is the 3rd largest substance found in your body. Sulfur deficiencies are associated with slow wound healing, brittle finger and toe nails, brittle hair, gastrointestinal problems, regulation of inflammation lung disfunction, and immune disfunction. MSM is a natural compound that exists in our bodies and can be found in many common foods such as fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and milk.
Supplementing MSM assures that you have an adequate organic source for the body to use for whatever it needs. Remember the body is in a constant state of self repair, but if we do not have all the necessary ?parts,? (nutrients) the end product is going to be less than perfect. The body uses MSM to c0ntinually create new healthy cells to replace old ones.
As a Natural anti-inflammatory: Disease and injuries often cause our body?s cells to become inflamed or deteriorated, MSM relieves inflammation and allows our body to repair damaged cells. The anti-inflammatory properties of MSM effectively combat the pain commonly associated with arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, and spinal disc injury. By reducing inflammation, MSM improves the flow of blood through damaged areas of the body, thereby facilitating the healing process while reducing discomfort. Athletes often use MSM to relieve the pain of strained muscles or over extended joints.
One more additional piece of advice/information: ALWAYS have a contract for every agreement you ever make with anyone ? your trusted best friend, your business partner, EVERYONE. Never be without a signed contract on any agreement you have.
I feed a raw food diet and find my poms live a healthier life. I feed Urban Wolf and the following is the recipe I use and the method of mixing it and the supplements I use. I find this food does the most to prevent BSD or skin problems and must be fed from conception to end of life to get the full benefits:
Vitamin C powder, MSM powder, accidophilis, (www.nowcatalog.com) (If you feed NuVet Plus, you still need these supplements in your raw food mix.)
NutriSheen and Trinity (www.petpower.com) (Not needed if you feed NuVet Plus and Inflight Coat Formula.)
Tony at www.doggiefood.com (401-560-0090) has
Hokamix (I?m still using this even with NuVet Plus), Kelp, Wild Salmon Oil, Urban Wolf, and I think he may have equals for OsteoForm (Dog Bloom) (If you feed NuVet Plus in the recommended dosage, you do not need Osteoform) Vitamin C (must not be buffered because it is buffered with calcium and you will throw your ?balance? off). (Revival 800-786-4751).
I order Wheat Germ Oil with Vitamin A&D from Jeffers or American Livestock catalogs ? do not use Wheat Germ Oil Blend because it is blended with soybean meal which sheds the coat (good for horses, not poms)
Do a www.google.com search for ?Zinc? and the mushers from Alaska will come up and I use their zinc but a very very tiny bit of it ? read package directions for how much per pounds of dog. (If you are feeding NuVet Plus, you do not need extra Zinc.)
Read all package directions for dosage of each supplement. Per one batch Erin uses 1 tsp. zinc, ½ Tblsp. Nutri Sheen and Trinity each, 2 Tblsp. MSM, 2 Tblsp. Inflight (remember to eliminate the ones I recommended eliminating if you are feeding NuVet Plus) (www.inflightcoatformula.com).
I like an all around vitamin/mineral tablet (Pets Prefer A to Zinc skin formula).
How to mix. I recommend mixing 2 batches at one time which would be 4 cups of Urban Wolf (be sure to freeze the rest of Urban Wolf once you?ve opened the bag) and the supplements and mix these powders thoroughly in a big huge popcorn bowl.
Mix the liquids in a blender
1 can of mackerel or salmon
½ cup extra extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons of flax seed oil
4 tablespoons of wild salmon oil
2 tablespoons of pure wheat germ oil
6 cups water
Blend this liquid mixture with the powdered mix and allow to soak for 20 minutes. Then add 6 pounds of ground meat (I use beef raw except for hamburger) and cook the other meats but I use beef only. I like heart, liver, trite, tongue, and cheap chuck roasts. I ask the butcher to grind these together.
I have discovered a product called 8 In 1 Premium Coat & Skin Supplement (Nutricoat) Product # EO-00766 for 32 oz bottle at $15.05 which I order from Active K9, 295 Johnston Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 28702 (800-657-1014). It works wonders.
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