Chihuahua Teeth Care - How to Deal With Tartar and Plaque?
Taking care of your dog’s teeth is crucial, no matter the breed. However, Chihuahua owners should be extra careful when it comes to teeth care. Our tiny companions tend to have a lot of dental problems due to their size.
Luckily, there are ways to keep your Chi’s pearly whites clean and healthy! Let’s learn more about the common question owners wonder about Chihuahua Teeth Care - How to Deal With Tartar and Plaque?
- General Information
- How to Know If Your Dog Has Dental Issues
- How to Deal With Tartar and Plaque
- Regular Teeth Care
Before we discuss removal and prevention, we need to fully understand the most common dental issues dogs face. From plaque and tartar to infections and even tooth decay, our furry friends can face a lot of problems.
Plaque is a term we use to describe the bacteria that form a layer on your pup’s teeth. This process happens after every meal, as your pup’s mouth is naturally full of bacteria. However, if plaque isn’t removed regularly, it hardens and turns into tartar through a process called calcification.
Both tartar and plaque are a health concern since they lead to issues like gingivitis and periodontitis. If left untreated, they can also lead to more serious problems, and even cause heart disease.
As we’ve mentioned, both humans and canines have a lot of bacteria in their mouths. Although that may sound nasty, these bacteria are crucial in maintaining our health. However, through a combination of food choices and saliva, the bacteria grows and causes the above-named problems.
Some foods increase the risk of plaque formation, such as milk and sugars (carbohydrates). As a result, the source of increased plaque build-up may be your pup’s diet. Some medications can also contribute to this problem.
However, the most common cause is simply inadequate dental care. Breeds like Chihuahuas need special treatment to ensure these issues don’t happen, as they have small jaws and teeth that make them harder to maintain
How Do I know if my Chihuahua Has Dental Issues?
Unfortunately, sometimes owners don’t know what to look out for when it comes to their pup’s health problems. For toy breeds, it can be even more difficult to notice any potential issues. However, to find out how to remove tartar and plaque, it’s important to be able to tell whether your dog has teeth problems in the first place.
Here are the most common things to watch out for:
- Bad breath.
Although a slight odor is normal, a healthy Chi’s breath should never smell putrid. Bad breath is a sign of increased bacteria, infection, or tooth decay.
- Refusal to eat.
If your pooch shows a reluctance to eat, eats a little and stops, or whimpers as it eats - it could be a sign it is experiencing tooth pain.
If your dog is a puppy and still has its milk teeth, a tiny bit of blood is normal as the permanent teeth emerge and others fall out. Otherwise, bleeding from the mouth can be a sign of numerous tooth and gum problems.
- Too much drooling.
Excessive drooling could also be a hint of a larger problem.
- Behavioral changes
Although changes in your pup’s behavior can be attributed to a number of things, some dogs may seem shy, sad, exhausted, or scared when they are experiencing pain. Sometimes, that pain can be attributed to dental problems, so make sure you notice if your dog starts acting differently than usual.
Plaque can be difficult to spot since it can have a white or yellowish hue. However, tartar almost always causes discoloration, especially near the gum area or between two teeth. If you notice any strange coloring on your dog’s teeth, it could point to dental issues.
How to Deal With Tartar and Plaque in Chihuahuas?
The best way to combat teeth problems in your Chi is prevention. We’ll learn more about dental care later, for now - let’s see what you can do to help your pup immediately!
Your goal is to remove as much buildup as possible. There are a few ways to do this:
However, it’s crucial to realize that more severe dental problems can’t (and shouldn’t) be fixed at home. As a result, the most important step is to take your dog to the vet’s. Even tartar shouldn’t be removed at home, since it’s too hard and you can damage your pup’s teeth in the process.
For all other issues, it’s always your best bet to take your dog to a medical professional. Not only will you relieve your dog of pain and potentially dangerous health issues, but you will also learn how to adequately take care of your Chi’s teeth. Remember, your pup’s wellbeing is the most important.
Importance of Regular Teeth Care in Chihuahuas.
Once you’ve gotten the vet’s approval that your pup’s teeth are all nice and healthy, let’s talk about prevention and regular care. As we’ve already mentioned, Chihuahuas are more prone to dental problems than other, larger dog breeds. The biggest reason is their size, so they have small jaws and tiny teeth.
As a result, it can be very difficult to properly maintain dental hygiene in a Chihuahua. Not only is it hard to reach all the areas of your pup’s mouth, but it’s also tough to notice when issues start to emerge. However, taking care of your friend is not impossible, you just need to be more thoughtful about prevention.
There are numerous steps you can take to prevent plaque buildup and other tooth-related problems in your Chi. However, the most effective way to maintain dental hygiene in your pet is simply by properly brushing its teeth. Although other methods can be a good starting point, nothing can replace proper brushing.
- Brushing Teeth.
Make sure you are using a good toothbrush that is specifically made for Chihuahuas and other toy breeds. Larger brushes may not give you the dexterity you need to reach all the areas you have to clean. Additionally, opt for a higher quality toothpaste, especially if your pooch has sensitive teeth.
Never use a human toothbrush or toothpaste on your dog. A toothbrush that’s made for us is simply not designed to thoroughly clean a dog’s mouth, while toothpaste can be toxic. Your Chi will probably eat most of the toothpaste, so it’s important that the paste is dog-friendly and tasty.
Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth once a day, or at least a couple of times a week. Start as soon as possible, even when your Chi is still a puppy and has all its milk teeth. Gradually make the brushing a part of your daily routine and your pup should get used to it in no time!
- Other Methods.
Although nothing can replace a thorough cleaning, chew toys and dry food are also vital in maintaining proper dental hygiene. Make sure to feed your dog dry kibble, as teeth lose their strength if they aren’t used every day. Additionally, look for chew toys that are made to loosen up plaque formation.
And of course, keep up with your regular vet visits! Just like humans, dogs benefit highly from a regular check-up. We recommend you take your pup in at least once a year (more if your Chi has sensitive teeth or has dental problems often).
If you have more questions about dental care in dogs, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with a professional. They will be happy to let you know what steps you can take to improve your Chi’s health, and, as a result, quality of life!
To sum up, good dental health is extremely important in all dogs. Chihuahuas and other toy breeds tend to be more complicated for dental care and require more attention due to their size. Consequently, they often have issues like plaque and tartar buildup, which may spread to other areas of the mouth if left untreated.
Chew toys and hard treats can be a good way to remove some of the plaque on your Chi’s teeth. However, more severe issues almost always require a trip to the vet’s office. Once your dog has developed dental problems, don’t try to fix them at home.
Lastly, prevention and good habits are crucial if you want your dog to live a long, happy life with healthy and strong teeth. Regular brushing with a good toothbrush, chew toys and dry kibble are vital for a good care routine. Follow our advice and your pooch will strive, with a smile to die for!