Your shih tzu is just as likely to develop cavities as you are. That means you will need to take care of your dog’s teeth. Without the proper care, cavities combined with gum disease may lead to serious health issues as infections may go unchecked. What follows are a few tips that will help you keep the teeth and gums of your shih tzu healthy.
If you feed your shih tzu dry food already, then you are on the right path. The dried food will help scrape away the plaque and toughen the gums. You can mix in soft food if you like, but the hard, dry food will help keep your dog’s mouth clean.
You’ll need chew toys that are designed to improve the teeth and gums of your shih tzu. That means they cannot be too hard, or they will damage the teeth. Just remember that chew toys help, but they will not remove the danger of gum disease.
Learn to Brush Their Teeth
This can be a little tricky at first since a shih tzu has little teeth. Plus, your pooch will probably not understand what is happening right away. But with a little patience it can be done. You’ll need to obtain a canine toothbrush small enough to fit inside the mouth of the shih tzu. Plus, you should get some toothpaste for canines as well. Toothpaste for humans contains fluoride which is poisonous to dogs.
You’ll want to exercise your shih tzu first, so they are in a more relaxed state. Then, start by gently brushing a few teeth and stopping. You do not want to try for the entire mouth at first. Just start with a few brushes of the front teeth and stop. The next time, you can increase the brushing a little to cover more of the teeth.
Pretty soon, you will be brushing all of their teeth and gums. You can help calm your shih tzu by talking calmly and being relaxed. Think of the process as a series of steps where you do what you can, and it becomes a lot easier to brush their teeth.
Check with Your Vet
You should be checking your shih tzu’s teeth every week to see if there are any cavities or signs of gum disease. A quick check will catch such issues early on. Plus, you should be looking for signs of the following.
- Sudden bad breath
- Difficulty chewing
- Excessive or unusual drooling
- Discolored, broken, missing or misaligned teeth
- Gums that are swollen or red
- Bumps inside the mouth
Any of these signs should have you schedule an appointment with your vet. They can treat the issue and provide a guidance for care.
A little work today may save you a considerable amount of medical bills for your shih tzu tomorrow. Start when they are still puppies or as early as possible in taking care of their teeth. Make it a regular habit and their teeth and gums will stay healthy for a long time.