HOW TO GIVE YOUR DOG A HEALTY SMILE
Canine dental troubles often start with a bacterial infection in the gums that leads to more severe problems. Some common warning signs of dental problems can include bad breath, loss of appetite, swollen gums, blood in the saliva and a brownish color at the gum line. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away.
How do bacteria spread in your dog’s mouth? First, plaque forms from a gathering of bacteria, mixed with saliva, blood cells, and other bacterial components. Second, tartar is created when plaque hardens and firmly adheres to tooth enamel. Third, the plaque and tartar combine to cause gums to become sore and inflamed. Finally, the gums separate from the teeth, creating pockets where entrenched bacteria colonies can thrive. If not treated, this bacteria and can lead to tooth and bone loss and threaten your pet’s major body organs if it enters the blood stream.
Annual Dental Cleaning by Your Veterinarian
A routine dental cleaning procedure by your veterinarian is a multi-step process. It generally includes pre-anesthetic blood work (to check your dog’s overall health for possible problems), followed by dental scaling and polishing under anesthesia and X-rays. Typically, each tooth and the surrounding gums are examined carefully for any signs of disease. Any abnormalities are recorded on your dog’s records. Prior to and after a dental cleaning, antibiotics are commonly used to prevent bacteria from spreading through the blood stream.
Home Care Tips
The best way for your dog to avoid serious dental problems is prevention through regular veterinary check-ups and home care.
The American Veterinary Medical Association offers these tips to help keep your pet's teeth healthy between regular veterinarian visits:
- Look for signs of tooth decay and oral disease by inspecting your pet's teeth regularly.
- Ask your vet to recommend how often to brush your dog’s teeth. It can be successfully introduced with patience, particularly if you start when the pet is young. To get your dog comfortable with dental care, start slowly and use plenty of praise and treats. Begin at a time when your dog is relaxed and massage the outside of their mouth with your finger. Then give them a taste of pet toothpaste -- poultry is a popular flavor (never use toothpaste for humans) -- and slowly introduce a toothbrush to their teeth. This may take many sessions to allow your dog time to get used to it.
- Dogs don't accumulate as much tartar on the outside of their teeth as they do the inside, so focus your dental hygiene attention there.
- The abrasive texture of hard kibble food can help keep your dog’s teeth clean, while soft food can cling to your pet's teeth and lead to decay. Also consider crunchy treats which also help clean teeth.
- Use chew toys designed specifically for dogs to help keep teeth clean and breath smelling fresh.
By following these tips and regular dental care by your veterinarian, you can help ensure that your dog’s mouth and body stay healthy. Both you and your dog will be proud of his healthy smile!
The AKC Pet Healthcare Wellness Plans helps fund the costs of an annual dental cleaning to help keep your dog’s teeth in good condition, as well as other preventive care treatments (such as heartworm and flea/tick controls and vaccinations), and unexpected accidents and illnesses.
Taking care of your chihuahua teeth is very important.
There are many products that can help you keep your chihuahua's teeth clean-but the most effective is to have your vet examine and treat your puppy teeth for removal of tatar, and decay.
Then your vet can provide you with up keep products to help keep your puppy teeth clean and tatar free. Clean teeth is a good way to keep your pet happy and healty