February 16, 2010

Periodontal Disease in Small Breed Dogs

Review: The Wagging Tail: Let’s Get to the Root of the Problem – Compliance & Pet Dental Care? By Patrick Shearer, BVMS, PhD

According to Dr. Shearer, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are number 6 in a list of breeds most likely to develop periodontal disease. What's worse is the fact periodontal disease can contribute to heart disease and that's the number one health problem facing Cavalier King Charles Spaniels; a double whammy for Kodee and Becky! [More]

We began our search for information on dog dental care after a friend told us about their dog's recent dental cleaning. We were surprised to learn small breed dogs have an increased risk of obtaining periodontal disease. Also of concern, is the fact decayed teeth release bacteria that travels through the blood stream. That means your pet is at risk of developing or increasing health complications involving heart, liver and kidney disease.

Dr. Shearer's article states a good case for having your pets teeth cleaned professionally, she includes useful pet dental care tips and provides additional online resources. However, in the article Dr. Shearer questions why more owners are not getting their pets teeth cleaned. Clearly she has not investigated the rising dental costs in some areas including  here, in Ontario, Canada. Here dental cleanings begin at $488 which does not include any extractions required. Since Dr. Shearer is also suggesting bi-annual cleans, that is way out of many people's league, especially those of us with two dogs! In the meantime, there are ways you can help keep Fido's teeth clean till the lottery kicks in.

I found great advice at Ashbridge Bay Animal Hospital's dental care management article.
"Brushing is the best way to remove plaque before it turns into hard tartar that requires a full scaling and polishing. Brushing should be done at least 5-6 times a week. If you can't brush your pet's teeth, consider placing your pet on a diet targeted towards maintaining good oral hygiene."
So how do you go about cleaning your dog's teeth? With Becky we are able to use an old fashioned tooth brush and pet specific, enzymic toothpaste such as C.E.T. Becky loved the chicken flavor so much she was very co-operative.

Kodee is another story. She is not co-operative and will barely open her mouth. In this case there is another method to try so don't give up! Start by coating your dog's teeth with an enzymatic toothpaste. You can do this with a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger, use a specially designed finger tooth brush, or worse case scenario let your dog lick the toothpaste off your finger. Then in about 20 minutes the toothpaste will have bonded with the teeth and loosened the plague on them. If your dog won't let you brush their teeth, give your dog a baby carrot. The fibers in the carrot will help to act as a toothbrush and clean the loosened plaque off the teeth.

Here are some additional products to help you keep Fido's fangs sparkling!
  1. Chew toys; Nylabones, Kong, Nylon rope toy
  2. Chew treats; Nutri-Dents, Check Ups, carrots, bully sticks, pigs ears and marrow bones.
  3. Spray or Gel dental products such as Petzlife

~ Ramblings by, Debbie

Go Fetch! How to clean your dog's teeth video


Life With Dogs said...

Great post - there are still so many people who need to know how important it is to clean teeth!

Debbie said...

With Mindy's bad teeth I have vowed to do my best for Max and Rylie. We also use the C.E.T. - but the malt flavour and petzlife. Rylie loves the petzlife - Max tolerates it. I tried the salmon flavour and the spray but Max acted like I shot him - plus Rylie likes to give me a big sloppy kiss after having his teeth done. I'm not so fond of salmon kisses! The vet said Max's teeth were excellent when he was in for his shot in January. Of course he's just over a year so I would hope they would be.


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Loving life with family and friends while exploring my passions; writing and photography. All with my two, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels in tow on day-trips along the Greater Toronto Area waterfront trails and local communities.

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