Tartar in Dogs: Tips for Removal and Prevention

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There are good methods to prevent tartar in dogs.

The most important thing is the right diet. Chewing bones and toys also help to avoid tartar formation.

To see if your dog has tartar and why it is important to treat it in time, read on further.

We will also provide you tips for the right precaution and how “advanced tartar” is best treated.

Take Tartar Seriously in Dogs

Take Tartar Seriously in Dogs

The first signs of tartar can be seen by the brownish discoloration or the tooth.

If a dog has tartar and it is not treated, it can have dire consequences, as in humans.

This is not just an unsightly dental plaque, but a potential source of inflammation that can cause bad breath, pain, and even tooth loss.

We humans go to the doctor as soon as it hurts. We also know how to prevent tartar with proper oral hygiene.

But with a dog, it is different.

A dog cannot brush its teeth on its own. And if he is in pain, he is unable to tell us.

Problems are only detected when he may no longer chew.

That is why it is important to recognize problems such as tartar at an early stage and know how to prevent them.

What is Tartar?

Food residues, bacteria, mucosal cells, fungi, and all other organic particles accumulate in dog saliva.

All this forms a layer on the teeth, also known as plaque. Over time, mineral salts accumulate, which hardens the plaque and tartar is formed.

Almost every dog gets tartar at some point in their life. That is quite normal.

It is not an issue if it is only a few tooth discolorations.

However, bacteria get stuck on the rough dental plaque and they are bad for the teeth and gums in the long run.

Causes of Tartar in Dogs

Causes of Tartar in Dogs

Regular checking of the teeth helps to detect tartar at an early stage.

Tartar has different causes, which are not always only due to wrong consumption of food. The following factors favor the formation of tartar:

Nutrition: Many wet and dry food are often high in carbohydrates and mixed with sugar.

This is not only very unhealthy for the dog, but also an ideal breeding ground for bacteria in the mouth.

This creates more plaque, which promotes the formation of tartar.

Anatomy: The head shape and the denture also influence the formation of tartar in dogs.

Many breeds have very small head as well as narrow or short jaws.

As a result, the teeth are very narrow, resulting in more deposits. In addition, the natural chewing function, which is necessary for good dental hygiene, is limited.

Dry mouth: Dogs that smile a lot often have dry mouth.

However, saliva has a very important function to kill bacteria. If the saliva flow is too low, this can also promote the formation of tartar.

Disposition: Some are lucky with their teeth, others less – genetic predisposition also plays a role in dental diseases in dogs.

Some Dogs Are Particularly Vulnerable

Basically, all dogs can get tartar. Especially with age, the probability of tartar forming increases.

Nevertheless, there are some dog breeds that are more often affected: Especially small dog breeds with a narrow or very small jaw have an increased risk.

Food residues are deposited in tight teeth and chewing is restricted, therefore bacteria spread faster.

Narrow jaws are present in dog breeds such as poodles, but tight teeth affect breeds such as Maltese and Yorkshire Terrier as well.

In addition, small dog breeds tend to chuckle more, which in turn promotes the formation of tartar.

Recognize Tartar Correctly in a Dog

You can easily recognize a tartar by the yellow-grey dental plaque.

If the tartar is already at an advanced stage, it can be recognized as a solid, brown-yellow layer on the tooth.

Usually the discoloration occurs on the neck of the tooth, i.e. where the gums begin. From there it gradually spreads to the whole tooth.

In addition to the optical changes, tartar is also noticeable in the form of bad breath.

The reason for bad breath in dogs can have many causes but is often a sign of tartar.

Finally, bacteria accumulate on the dental pads and decomposed food residues, causing them to rot and cause the bad smell.

Consequences of Tartar in Dogs

If tartar is not treated in time, this can have very painful consequences for the dog.

Often a solid layer forms around the tooth, which envelops it and other teeth.

At the edge of the gums, inflammation occurs due to rot, the gums recede and eventually puss begin to form.

Urgent measures should be taken, otherwise the entire tooth will be damaged if the inflammation continues.

The Right Treatment for Tartar

The Right Treatment for Tartar

If your dog already has major discoloration of the teeth, you should always consult a veterinarian.

This can estimate the extent and the best treatment to be taken. There are usually two methods for removing it:

  1. Light spots of tartar can be removed manually with a simple tartar removal in the dog.
  2. If the tartar is already advanced, professional tooth cleaning with light anesthesia is necessary. For this purpose, the veterinarian usually uses ultrasound, with which he can loosen the tartar and then rinse away with water. In addition, it cleans the gum pockets. Instead of ultrasound, some veterinarians also use a so-called tartar removal pliers, which allow them to blow off the solid layers.

Costs of Tartar Removal at The Veterinarian

The cost of veterinary treatment cannot be stated on a flat-rate basis, as it depends on many different factors.

Depending on the effort, practice and dog breed, the removal of tartar can cost between $100 and $400.

In addition, there are other costs such as:

  • Anesthesia
  • Pre and post examination
  • Aesthetic corrections
  • Additional materials and medicines

Prevent Tartar in Dogs

To save your dog from the ordeal at the vet and unnecessary pain, there are various ways to prevent it.

Good prevention is most successful if it is carried out regularly.

The Right Diet

Many ready-to-eat foods have a very high proportion of cereals and sugar, which is very bad for teeth.

Therefore, pay attention to high-quality and species-appropriate food, which avoids such additives as much as possible.

Tip: An apple works naturally against tartar. Give your dog an apple to bite every few days, as the acid it contains will soften deposits. However, this only makes sense if your dog has nothing against such a snack, as not every dog likes to eat fruits.

Chewing Bones and Toys

There are numerous dental sticks for dogs. Since there is no scientifically clear evidence on these, the effect is controversial.

The fact is that the rods consist mostly of cereals and contain hardly any dental additives.

In addition, they are so soft that a large dog can devour them in a short time. The hygienic benefits are therefore rather questionable.

Toothbrushes and Tartar Remover

You can find numerous special toothbrushes which you can brush your dog’s teeth regularly with.

There are even special toothpastes and powders against tartar. These work well for prevention or with incipient tartar.

In addition to the mentioned home remedies, there are also various utensils such as tartar scrapers or tartar remover pliers that you can buy. However, if you are not familiar with this, you should not use these items, as the risk of injury is very high here. Please let a veterinarian or handle this.

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