Good evening everyone!  I apologize for the later-than-usual blog post!  In all honesty, I have been busy mixed with procrastination and binge-watching Stranger Things.  What a great show!  So better late than never I suppose!  This week I have been thinking about Riley appointment that is approaching in a few weeks.  I want to share a little bit of his tooth history in hopes of spreading some light on this doggy problem.
When Rye was a few years old, my mom learned about a brand called Best Bully Sticks.  They have a wonderful selection of specially treated animal hides designed for dogs.  Since my mother is so good to Riley, she decided to buy some and see how he liked them.  Rye fell in love!  My mom signed up for monthly deliveries and Rye would get a some kind of bully stick  every day.  The “pizzles” were his favorite.  He would eat them in just a few minutes.  
Now these bully sticks worked wonders on his teeth.  He never had any noticeable buildup of plaque or tartar on his teeth.  The bully sticks would keep his teeth spotless!  The problem was that about once a month, Riley would wake up with a tummy ache.  He would shake and shiver for hours and I could hear his tummy rumbling.  He would just want to snuggle and be comforted.  It never crossed our mind that the problem may have been the bully sticks and pizzles.  We took him to the vet and they even did xrays to make sure he didn’t hurt his spine from jumping up and down from the furniture.  It was a mystery.
Once I moved out of the house, Riley didn’t get as many pizzles because I couldn’t afford them! My mom really did spoil him with the best of the best!  But, whenever we went to Grammy’s house, Riley got a pizzle.  He would chew it up so fast!  Paul and I started to notice that a day or two after leaving Grammy’s house, Riley would end up with that same terrible tummy ache!  Finally we put the pieces together.  The pizzles and bully sticks were the problem!  We stopped giving them to him as soon as we realized and he hasn’t had a mystery tummy ache since!  What a relief!
Solving one mystery unfortunately caused another problem for my little boy.  Once he stopped gnawing on bully sticks, the plaque started to accumulate on his teeth.  It was about 6 months after going pizzle-free that the vet told us Riley would need xrays of his teeth, scaling, and even tooth extractions as soon as possible from all of the tartar buildup.  I was shocked! I never would have thought that the tartar could become a problem so quickly! 
We declined the procedure and decided to try some less extreme measures before having to put Riley under anesthesia for a deep cleaning.  So we went to the pet store and bought some rubbery chew toys that claim to help remove tartar and some “healthy raw hides”.  Unfortunately for whatever reason, Riley was not interested in either of these!  Next we bought Oravet chews off of Amazon.  The Oravet claims to clean teeth as well as make your dog’s breath smell good.  Riley liked the Oravets and we bought them for 4 or 5 months.  They seemed to stop tartar growth from occurring, but didn’t get ride of existing plaque.  We also tried some raw beef bones from the frozen section of the grocery store.  They were cut into chunks that were the perfect size for Rye to gnaw on and get the marrow out of.  He loved them but they were kind of gross to have lying around the house!  
Lastly, I purchased a dog tooth scaler from Amazon.  In theory, you are supposed to take this sharp and pointy metal tool and scrape off the tartar from your dog’s teeth.  In a perfect world, this would be great, however, I tried it once with Paul’s help and was too scared to use any sort of pressure to have it work effectively.  I didn’t want to mess up and hurt my little guy!
After trying all these different ideas for decreasing the tartar on Riley’s teeth, we have decided to go to the vet and have them do it professionally in the most effective manner there is.  Even though it seems scary and a little bit over the top, my dog’s teeth are very important to his quality of life.  Riley still has a lot of years left and I want to make sure that his teeth stay as healthy as they can so that he can be happy and pain-free.  
As I am writing this, I realize that after this scaling, we will need to make sure to keep the plaque off of Riley’s teeth so that they stay healthy and so that he won’t need another scaling in the future.  Right now we have Riley eating about a Greenie or two a day.  I don’t think that will cut it to keep his teeth clean and so I will have to do some research into our best option for preventing plaque.  Maybe the Oravets will work well when his teeth are pearly white, but they are expensive!  I will let you know what I decide based on my research.
Have you had similar experiences with your dogs and their teeth? Has your dog gone through a teeth scaling procedure?  How do you keep your dog’s teeth clean?  I would love to hear any opinions you have on this matter!  Thank you for reading and thank you for the help!  Have a wonderful week!