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This topic came to mind after reading posts on Greytalk facebook. A hound there has recently had all his teeth removed. I wondered about the inherent dental issues with hounds. My girl by all accounts has good teeth. I brush them often (but never often enough, guilty) She is on a raw diet. At our last annual vet visit, I mentioned to the vet my concern for her bottom row of front teeth, the ones located between the two canine teeth. The vet said that they were not the best. A lot of pulp was showing on the top of the teeth and it is possible they may need to be pulled in the future. She took a photo to gauge any further deterioration. Her back and other teeth looked great (quoting the vet) no plague build up at all. I have been watching them closely since then. They seem to be getting worse and will sometimes bleed when I brush that area. She does not show sensitivity to the area, but how does one really know for sure with an animal.


My questions for seasoned greyhound owners are these: Why the degree of pulp exposure? She is not a chewer at all.


Why these particular teeth and not any of the others? Is this area a common area for decline?


How old is the average hound when they start to have teeth removed? My girl just turned 6, first of Feb.


What is it about hounds to have such bad dental health?


Is there any thing I can do to slow the deterioration? (other than brushing of course)


What are the signs that a hound is having trouble or experiencing pain from poor dental health?


Could I rub a tiny bit of sensodyne on these teeth to help with sensitivity?

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Typically, the pulp exposure is receding gums--a symptom of gingivitis. And gingivitis is caused by a build-up of plaque. My girl is missing her two lower-front teeth, pulled by her vet when she was nearly 7 years old. She had another dental last year--a couple of months before she turned 9; nothing was pulled then, but I think she's going to need a dental soon and may lose something then. She's not eating as quickly as she used to (see below). Her breath is terrible--has been all along--and her gums bleed easily.


My dogs haven't had a "typical" area of their mouths to lose teeth from: Silver's lost lower-front teeth, others have lost back teeth. I've tried raw, frozen turkey necks, which lots of people have success with; my guys have bloody gums even from the turkey necks--and sometimes have gastric trouble from the necks. I usually resort to rubbing enzymatic toothpaste on teeth and gums with my finger; at least that doesn't lead to bloodshed. I've also used various dental/breath sprays designed for dogs, but I haven't noticed any improvement. (I avoid sprays that contain alcohol.)


If a dog eats more slowly, favors one side of its mouth or the other when eating treats, shies away from hands near its mouth--those are signs of a dog that may have mouth discomfort. Also, watch for a face that's suddenly a little swollen on one side, or a dog with an unexplained fever and a reluctance to eat: dogs can have abscessed teeth.


I would say no to the Sensodyne--even in minute quantities. I think a very small quantity wouldn't help, and a larger amount would be dangerous. Dogs won't spit out the fluoride. Since dogs aren't eating hot or cold food, dental sensitivity isn't normally a problem for dogs unless there's an actual dental problem; if there is a problem, you need to address the problem rather than the sensitivity.

I think the hound dental problem is acknowledged to be genetic in the breed, and greyhounds aren't the only breed notorious for bad teeth. Not every greyhound will have bad teeth, and there really isn't an average age for dental loss. It'll depend on dental care the dog has received, how the dog chews, whether the dog has damaged its teeth by chewing on inappropriate things (like the crate, or bones that are too hard, or things like that), and just the dog's genetic inheritance.


Really, the only thing to do is brush--daily is best (plaque starts to form our teeth between 4 and 12 hours after the last brushing)--and hope that your dog has a winning ticket in the genetic lottery.

Kathy and Q (CRT Qadeer from Fuzzy's Cannon and CRT Bonnie) and
Jane (WW's Aunt Jane from Trent Lee and Aunt M); photos to come.

Missing Silver (5.19.2005-10.27.2016), Tigger (4.5.2007-3.18.2016),
darling Sam (5.10.2000-8.8.2013), Jacey-Kasey (5.19.2003-8.22.2011), and Oreo (1997-3.30.2006)

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