Clean teeth and gums are very important to the overall health of your Shih Tzu. Here is some information on the most common dental problems in dogs and ways of treating them.
Common dental problems...
It is very common among Shih Tzu and all dogs to have gum disease. At the age of two or three, many dogs have either periodontitis or gingivitis. The most common dental problem for canines is periodontitis, also known as periodontal disease. The disease is caused by various factors: plaque, food debris, cell mucus, and a mixture of bacteria. This results in a film characterized by milky-white on the dog's teeth as well as the gums. When this film gets combined with saliva, the plaque it causes becomes tartar, and very hard to remove.
Gingivitis, also known as gum disease, happens when gum tissue suffers from an inflammation. Without treatment, it can lead to periodontitis, teeth loosening, bone loss, and ultimately, loss of teeth.
- Tooth fractures
Tooth fractures occur when Shih Tzu or any dog chew hard substances, such as hard rocks and cow hooves. The fractures result to infection inside the broken tooth, which is known as the endodontic disease.
How to prevent dental problems
Your Shih Tzu can fight off these dental problems by removing the plaque before it actually develops as tartar. How to do it? The most effective way is by brushing the teeth of your Shih Tzu in a mechanical fashion. The brushing would reduce much of the bacteria presence in the mouth, not to mention making your Shih Tzu’s breath smell sweeter. Make it a habit of brushing your Shih Tzu’s teeth on a daily basis.
Toothpaste: There are toothpaste products made especially for dogs. Brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth using dog toothpaste. Human toothpaste is specifically designed for humans to spit the paste washings out. Dogs cannot do that, so pick dog toothpaste that is safe enough for your Shih Tzu to swallow.
Toothbrush: Using a toothbrush in its teeth will take some time for the Shih Tzu to get used to. Let your dog be acquainted and get used to this is by putting some garlic salt, mix the salt with water, and dip the solution in an old toothbrush. Hold the old brush, and let your Shih Tzu taste and chew it. Your Shih Tzu will start to realize that chewing a toothbrush is and tastes good. Make it a habit a few times, until he feels comfortable brushing with it.
Finger brush: You could also use a finger brush instead of a toothbrush. A finger brush is a good alternative, although nothing could replace the good toothbrush. The finger brush just fits onto one's fingertip and can let you brush the Shih Tzu’s teeth without the dog knowing it. Well, at least almost. The disadvantage of getting a finger brush to clean your Shih Tzu’s teeth is that its bristles are quite large for the brush to go under the gum line’s margin as effectively compared with regular toothbrush.
Professional cleaning: If you don't want to do the cleaning by yourself, you could take your Shih Tzu to a veterinarian and have his teeth professionally cleaned. A good veterinarian will take additional measures in ensuring your Shih Tzu’s clean teeth by anesthetizing your Shih Tzu, scraping the buildup of plaque from all over the gum line areas, and polishing the teeth for a sparkling finish.
Home checkup: Try to make it a regular habit of checking the teeth of your Shih Tzu for any cracked or broken teeth. If you see some problematic teeth, check promptly with the veterinarian.
Home safety: Of course, cleaning your Shih Tzu’s teeth does not mean you should disregard other areas of concern. Tough substances, such as bones, rocks, hard nylon, or cow hooves should be removed from areas where your dog could see. Buy your Shih Tzu chewing toys that are safer like rubber-made toys. You could also provide bones that are soft enough for your dog to chew.
Mouthwash: There are some products in the market that deal very well in helping to kill the bacteria in your dog's mouth and could actually help heal damaged gum tissues. Do not forget to ask your veterinarian on the best products in the market.
Dental problems do not only happen to humans. Shih Tzu and all dog breeds also have dental issues. It is up to the owners on how to help their pet dogs overcome their dental problems.