Dog Teeth

T&T: All you need to know about teething and tartar

#dogforlife #petcare #teething
Dog Teeth

Puppies are so sweet and playful, but when teething starts they can become destructive. It’s important to emphasize that excessive chewing is not necessarily a bad behaviour but a natural need during teething. This is how puppies reduce the pain of teething, just like human babies. In this article, you will find useful pieces of information about puppy teething, and about the formation and prevention of tartar build-up that can occuer at any time in your dog’ss life.

Let’s talk about puppy teething

Adults dogs have 42 teeth but until they reach maturity, there are plenty of „obstacles” puppies need to overcome. During teething, dogs show similar symptoms to human babies. At this stage, many puppies can feel pain, pressure or itching around the teeth, and they try to get rid of this unpleasant feeling by any means. They often chew on hard or cool objects (for instance, metal bars, roots or twigs).

This is the time when puppies start to destroy pieces of furniture or garden decoration. Believe it or not, this is a very stressful period for a puppy. Besides chewing, there can be other changes in your pup’s behaviour during teething: reduced sleep time, restlessness, food rejection (especially dry dog food). In some serious cases – when the gum becomes inflamed – puppies usually reject playing or picking up objects like balls or other toy. Anything that needs to be touched with teeth. But don’t worry, this is only a temporary situation, and you can do a lot to help your puppy get through this life stage.

How can you help?

The most important thing is to make sure your dog has enough and proper chewing opportunities. Proper means toys made of dog-friendly, natural materials and adequate for dog’s size. Puppies like to chew on cool objects during teething, so freeze food or chew toys or put them in the fridge for a while. It may sounds strange but you can do a lot for your dog’s dental health if you pay attention to balanced nutrient intake.

Dental calculus: how to treat and prevent it?

Healthy teeth are of great importance for the overall well-being and health of dogs. That’s why it’s essential to take care of your dog’s dental hygiene from the very beginning. Even seemingly harmless plaque can easily lead to tartar build-up and more serious dental problems. But how tartar is formed? Canine dental calculus is formed by the interaction of different substances in the dog’s mouth (similarly to humans). Bacteria mixed with food pieces, saliva and mucous membrane cells form a layer that sticks to the surface of the teeth. This layer is called plaque.

It forms in visible but also in hard-to-reach areas, so it’s not always easy to see. If plaque remains on the teeth for a long time, mineral salts from the saliva makes the layer harder and this is how tartar is formed. Tartar provides a surface for further bacteria and plaque, so it’s a vicious circle. In some serious cases, tartar can get under the gum, causing inflammation, called gingivitis. If the inflammation is left untreated and spreads, it can lead to periodontitis, which can result in teeth loss.

The hard, greyish or brownish coloured tartar is easy to recognize on the dog’s teeth. It mainly affects the canines and incisors. However, many dogs develop tartar on all teeth, so if your dog has bad breath, it’s time to visit the vet for a dental checkup. If tartar has already appeared on your dog’s teeth, it should be removed by the vet to prevent further problems and health issues. Tartar is usually removed under anaesthesia using ultrasound.

Of course, prevention is always better, and you can do a lot to prevent tartar formation. One of the most effective ways is teeth brushing. There are plenty of dog-friendly products on the market, and you can gradually teach your dog to endure the brushing procedure.

Removing plaque helps to prevent tartar build-up. Chew toys are also great tools for prevention and removal of plaque. These simple methods can help to prevent oral health issues.

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