As with humans, dog teeth are permanently attacked by bacteria that cause plaque formation, which mineralizes to form tartar in dogs. The latter is responsible for bad breath, but can also cause various diseases.
The Formation Of Tartar In Dogs
The bacteria naturally present in the saliva clump together on the surface of the teeth and produce substances that form an orange-coloured film covering the teeth. This film is normally cleaned in humans by regular brushing of the teeth. Gradually, the film thickens in the dog with the accumulation of layers of glycoproteins and polysaccharides, as well as the development of numerous bacteria (the concentration of germs in the tartar can be as high as in the stool). So that’s the plaque.
Over time, the plaque mineralizes and spreads under the gums, it is said that the animal has tartar.
Some dog breeds are particularly predisposed to the formation of tartar (small and medium breeds, such as poodle, Yorkshire, Pekingese, Shih-Tzu or Cocker).
The Consequences For A Dog Having Tartar
The tartar in dogs is not only an aesthetic problem, but a real health problem.
First of all, tartar is most often responsible for the dog’s bad breath : a dog with clean teeth is a much more pleasant companion because it is less nauseating! This may sound laughable, but bad breath is often a real barrier in the master-dog relationship.
Always keep in mind that the tartar accumulates constantly, and creeps under the gum. It is constantly irritated and weakened : gingivitis (inflammation of the gums, which is recognized by their red color), bleeding during meals, oral infections, abscesses. Teeth can also be affected, and it is not uncommon to have teeth that are totally gnawed, that fall or that only fit in the mouth by the tartar layer!
Even if he does not express it, your companion is bound to suffer when the tartar becomes important. In addition, the germs that develop there pass into the bloodstream and can settle in different organs (heart, kidneys) thus contributing to the development of diseases that can be serious : heart and kidney failure in the elderly animal.
What To Do If Your Dog Has His Teeth Cut?
First of all, watch carefully for the appearance of tartar by regularly looking at your dog’s teeth (tartar first appears at the level of the bottom teeth, such as molars and premolars, and later on the FANGs).
If you see that the gums are red, swollen or sometimes bleeding, then it is high time to have your dog removed.
It is difficult to say from what point the tartar settles : some dogs will need a descaling from the age of 1 year (in general the miniature breeds), others will never need it (the giant breeds). For most animals, regular scaling (every two or three years) is required.
Scaling is a painless procedure performed by your veterinarian : the dog is placed under general anesthesia so that it remains immobile with its mouth open for the duration of the procedure. The tartar is removed by ultra-sound, as in the dentist (so without pain), then the veterinarian applies a paste to polish the teeth. Scaling is a treatment but is not a prevention of scale. However, it is possible to delay the appearance or reappearance of the tartar thanks to a few precautions.
Expert advice – Virbac:
The new formula of the dental lamellae Virbac Veggiedent Fresh combats the causes of bad breath thanks to The Fresh technology that combines 3 active ingredients :
– the pomegranate, which is anti-plaque, fights against the oral causes of bad breath
– erythritol has a refreshing action
– inulin targets digestive causes by restoring the microbial balance of the dog’s digestive tract
In addition, the Z-shape of the Virbac lamellae makes it possible to fight against dental plaque and tartar by a mechanical effect.
Veggiedent Fresh dental slats are part of a comprehensive oral hygiene program: brushing ideally 3 times per week, 1 Dental slat per day and an anti-plaque dental solution to be added to drinking water daily.
What Can I Do To Prevent Formation Of Tartar In Dogs?
The best way to maintain good oral hygiene in your dog is to brush his teeth regularly (as soon as he has his adult teeth : between 6 months and a year). This is possible if you get your dog used to being handled like this at a very young age.
There are also specially adapted kits, consisting of a fingertip (rubber cover with asperities, to put on your finger) and an abrasive toothpaste with a taste suitable for dogs. This way you can clean your dog’s teeth properly (once or twice a week is usually enough).
The other solution, less restrictive this time, is to give your dog food whose composition and texture allow a natural cleaning of the teeth : they are specific kibble whose fibers rub on the teeth and therefore have a brushing action.
More generally, a dog food based on kibble, delays the appearance of the tartar, whereas the wet kibble and the pate actually promote its appearance.
Dog treats in the form of chewing bones or chew sticks also have an interesting and beneficial effect on tooth cleaning.
For small dogs that are difficult to handle, and that are often reluctant to eat large croquettes, there are toothpastes in the form of chewable tablets that are given every day (or every other day) as a treat. Similarly, liquid products to be dissolved in drinking water or powder to be dispersed on the feed also exist.
Discover the foods, treats and care products that help prevent the appearance of tartar in dogs.