As with humans, dogs’ teeth can become yellow, stained and covered with tartar.
Eventually, tartar can lead to serious health problems. As a dog owner, it’s up to you to take care of your pet’s dental health.
This means taking care of tartar before it becomes a more serious problem.
Find out in this article how to remove tartar from a dog’s teeth.
What is tartar?
A few hours after eating, plaque forms on your dog’s teeth. The bacteria in his food mixes with saliva and sticks to the surface of his teeth.
3 to 5 days later, if the plaque remains in contact with the tooth, it hardens and turns into tartar. Tartar is formed when existing plaque mixes with the minerals in your dog’s saliva. Tartar is noticeable by its brown or yellowed appearance that appears rough on the surface of your doggie’s teeth.
Bad breath and inflammation of the gums also go hand in hand with tartar build-up.
How do I know if my dog has tartar?
There is no substitute for vision. Just look at your doggie’s teeth to see if he has tartar. There is more tartar at the base of the teeth and on the front teeth.
In addition to the sight of tartar, recurring bad breath from your puppy can mean tartar build-up. Also, tartar increases the risk of bleeding when you brush your pet’s teeth or when he gnaws on bones (his gums are more sensitive).
Tartar: the gateway to more serious diseases for your dog
With tartar on your doggie’s teeth, bad bacteria start to grow. As a result, your dog is at risk for dental problems such as gingivitis, periodontal disease, abscesses or tooth loss.
Your dog may also have difficulty biting or eating solid food.
But teeth are not the only thing you need to worry about. When tartar builds up along the gum line, it pushes them away from the teeth. This exposes the roots of the tooth, which are no longer covered by enamel and are now more vulnerable. They become more sensitive, causing pain and even discomfort for your dog.
Tartar also likes to explore the dog’s body. After the teeth, it travels down to the bloodstream and makes its way to organs such as the heart, liver and kidneys. The results can then be catastrophic for your pet.
With a cardiac breed like my dogs (Cavalier King Charles), my veterinarian warned me that tartar greatly increases the risk of a cardio-vascular accident.
4 tips to remove tartar from your dog’s teeth
Fortunately, there are actions you can take to help your dog’s teeth get rid of tartar.
Give her something to chew
A good and long chewing is an excellent way to scratch and prevent the accumulation of plaque on the dog’s teeth.
These can be special “teething” treats, toys or raw bones. For toys, make sure they are made of rubber or nylon, with a rough or bumpy surface so they don’t cause fractures.
Personally, I like deer antlers a lot. But, they must be of quality or they will break and become dangerous for your dog.
A good diet
A complete and balanced diet adapted to the age of the dog is essential for his general health. Dry dog food help keep his teeth healthy. They have an abrasive texture that wipes the surface of the tooth while the dog eats.
However, if you feed your dog with wet food all the time, you may promote the development of tartar. This is because soft food loves to stick to the teeth.
You should also choose quality food. As with humans, cheap food is often sweeter and fattier.
Brushing his Teeth
Using a toothbrush and dog toothpaste, remove tartar from your doggie’s teeth. Specialists recommend doing this daily without waiting for tartar to appear.
As you brush your doggie’s teeth, watch for warning signs. Check for breath, a brownish crust around the gum line, red and swollen gums, and pain or bleeding when you touch your doggie’s mouth.
The more you brush your dog’s teeth, the more he gets used to it and the easier it is.
Among my dogs, Jodie doesn’t like it, keeps trying to eat the toothpaste, but she’s still wise. The second one struggles more, but not too much. As I’m always a bit rough with my own toothbrush, it’s my husband who takes care of it and makes sure that all the teeth are well done without rubbing hard.
Consult a veterinarian
Veterinarians offer professional cleaning for your dog’s teeth. The costs depend on the severity of the tartar build-up.
I’ve talked to two vets about it and for a case like Jodie’s teeth, they told me a price between $150 and $250.
Also ask your veterinarian to perform a dental check-up at your annual visit or talk about your concerns if you have any.
Clearly, tartar is a threat to your dog’s health and well-being. You need to do the right things early on to avoid the first buildup.