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Small Dog Dental Care

Posted by SusanStokes on February 11, 2024

When choosing a dog to fit into your family structure, something pet owners may not realize is that small dogs tend to develop dental problems more rapidly and at a younger age than large dog breeds. A greater awareness of your small dog’s dental needs is paramount to maintaining their health.

"With French bulldogs reining as America's top breed, and a rise in small dog ownership, it's crucial for owners of smaller dog breeds to understand their unique dental challenges," said Dr. Curt Coffman, Thrive Pet Healthcare's Specialty Director of Dentistry. "Their compact mouths, heads and faces, along with other genetic features, predispose them to rapid tartar buildup, plaque and gingivitis more than larger dogs."

Boston terriers and pugs are flat-faced or brachycephalic. These breeds often experience crowded or misaligned teeth, leading to early onset periodontal disease. Jawbone density can be lost as they grow, often requiring extractions at a younger age compared to larger dogs.

"It's challenging to have 42 teeth in such a small mouth," said Dr. Coffman in a press release on this matter. "When something gets stuck between their teeth, they can't floss to remove it like humans. Beginning a proactive oral hygiene regimen at home when your dog is young, and having your veterinarian perform regular dental cleanings is the best way to prevent periodontal disease and potential tooth loss later in life."

Pet owners are encouraged to watch for signs of potential dental problems which include:

  • Bad breath
  • Red, inflamed gums that bleed easily
  • Discolored or yellowing teeth
  • Drooling more than usual
  • Pain in or around their mouth
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Poor appetite
  • Problems chewing their food
  • Swelling around the mouth
  • Sneezing and nasal discharge

If you notice any of the above signs of dental issues, no matter the size of your dog, please contact your family veterinarian for a dental exam and treatment. Dental disease can lead to other issues, such as heart disease.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has reported that as many as seventy-six percent of dogs suffer from periodontal disease. In addition, studies found over half of dog owners have never taken their dog for a professional teeth cleaning. Thrive Pet Healthcare hopes to reduce that number with client education and incentives.

Thrive Pet Healthcare is a veterinarian-founded organization provides premier benefits for practice staff while elevating privately held veterinary hospitals with innovative service and technology solutions. By focusing on the needs and aspirations of veterinary care providers, Thrive Pet Healthcare is supporting the well-being of the industry and raising the national bar for veterinary excellence.

SOURCE: Press Release, Thrive Pet Healthcare