Last Updated on November 18, 2023 by Scott Allen
Having a healthy smile is important for every dog, including the popular Shih Tzu breed. While all dogs need proper dental care, Shih Tzus are especially prone to dental problems due to their small teeth and mouths. In this blog post, we’ll share some essential tips for keeping your Shih Tzu’s teeth healthy and strong.
One of the most important things you can do for your Shih Tzu’s dental health is to brush their teeth regularly. Just like with humans, regular brushing helps remove plaque and tartar build-up that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Be sure to use a toothbrush designed for small dogs, and use gentle circular motions when brushing. You can also use doggy toothpaste, which is specifically formulated to be safe for dogs.
In addition to regular brushing, it’s also important to give your Shih Tzu regular dental check-ups and cleanings. These should be done by a professional, and they will help remove any tartar or plaque that has built up on your dog’s teeth. Dental check-ups and cleanings are usually done under anesthesia, so be sure to ask your veterinarian about the risks and benefits before scheduling an appointment.
Finally, you can help keep your Shih Tzu’s teeth healthy by feeding them a healthy diet. Avoiding foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates can help reduce the amount of plaque and tartar that builds up on your dog’s teeth. There are also specially formulated dental diets available that can help promote oral health.
By following these tips, you can help keep your Shih Tzu’s teeth healthy and strong for years to come!
Taking care of your Shih Tzu’s dental health is crucial to prevent issues like halitosis, tooth decay, and gum disease. This article provides essential tips for maintaining your Shih Tzu’s teeth and preventing dental problems.
It covers the importance of dental care, the risks of neglecting teeth, and the increased vulnerability of brachycephalic breeds like Shih Tzus to dental issues. At-home dental care and professional cleanings are both necessary for proper dental hygiene in Shih Tzus.
Why Dental Care is Important for Shih Tzus
Dental care plays a crucial role in the overall health and well-being of Shih Tzus. Neglecting your furry friend’s dental hygiene can lead to various oral issues, including bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Regular dental care is particularly important for Shih Tzus due to their increased vulnerability to dental problems.
Plaque is the main culprit behind many dental issues in Shih Tzus. When left untreated, plaque can harden into tartar, leading to inflammation of the gums and potential tooth loss. This is especially problematic for brachycephalic breeds like Shih Tzus, as their crowded teeth and hard-to-reach areas make them more prone to plaque buildup.
By prioritizing dental care, you can prevent discomfort and pain for your Shih Tzu and ensure their oral health is in top shape. Regular brushing, professional cleanings, and other preventive measures are essential in maintaining healthy teeth and gums for your beloved pup.
The Importance of Regular Dental Cleanings
“Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are necessary for Shih Tzus to maintain optimal oral health.”
While at-home dental care is vital, it cannot replace the thoroughness of professional dental cleanings. During these cleanings, your veterinarian can perform a comprehensive examination of your Shih Tzu’s teeth and gums, detecting and treating any hidden dental issues. X-rays may also be taken to assess the health of their teeth below the gum line.
Professional dental cleanings involve the removal of plaque and tartar, which cannot be fully eliminated with regular brushing alone. Although the cost of dental cleanings may vary, the benefits far outweigh the potential risks and complications. Investing in regular dental cleanings for your Shih Tzu ensures their oral health is in check and helps prevent more severe dental problems down the line.
Next, we’ll explore the various at-home dental care methods you can employ to keep your Shih Tzu’s teeth and gums healthy.
At-Home Dental Care for Shih Tzus
Proper at-home dental care is essential for maintaining your Shih Tzu’s oral health. Starting dental care early is crucial, ideally when your Shih Tzu is 8 weeks old. Daily brushing using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste is highly recommended. The Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Dental Kit is an excellent option for Shih Tzus, as it includes both a finger brush and a regular toothbrush.
If your Shih Tzu is not comfortable with brushing or if you’re looking for alternative options, there are dental sprays, water additives, and dental chews available. These products can help maintain dental hygiene by reducing plaque and tartar buildup. However, it’s important to note that these should not replace regular brushing but rather complement it.
Older adult Shih Tzus and senior dogs can also benefit from dental care, even if they haven’t had regular cleanings before. It’s never too late to start implementing proper dental care habits. Consult with your veterinarian for specific recommendations and guidance based on your Shih Tzu’s age and dental health.
|At-Home Dental Care Tips for Shih Tzus|
|Start brushing your Shih Tzu’s teeth at 8 weeks old|
|Brush daily using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste|
|Consider using the Nylabone Advanced Oral Care Dental Kit|
|Explore alternative options like dental sprays and water additives|
|Older adult Shih Tzus can also benefit from dental care|
Professional Dental Cleanings for Shih Tzus
Professional dental cleanings, also known as “full dentals,” are an essential part of maintaining your Shih Tzu’s oral health. While at-home dental care is crucial, it may not be enough to address all dental concerns. Professional cleanings performed by a veterinarian offer a more thorough examination, thorough cleaning to remove plaque and tartar, and the detection and treatment of any underlying dental issues.
Table: Frequency of Professional Dental Cleanings for Shih Tzus
|Dental Cleanings||Recommended Frequency|
|Full Dentals||Every 1 to 3 years|
During a professional dental cleaning, your Shih Tzu will undergo a series of steps to ensure their teeth and gums are thoroughly examined and cleaned. This typically includes sedation or general anesthesia to ensure your pet is calm and comfortable throughout the process. The veterinarian will perform a detailed examination, take dental x-rays if necessary, scale and polish the teeth, and remove any stubborn plaque or tartar build-up.
It is important to note that professional dental cleanings do come with a small level of risk, particularly when sedation or anesthesia is involved. However, the benefits of regular dental cleanings far outweigh the potential complications. By addressing dental issues early on, you can prevent pain, discomfort, and more serious complications that can affect your Shih Tzu’s overall health.
Dental Health Concerns for Shih Tzus
Shih Tzus are adorable and lovable companions, but they are prone to dental problems that can impact their overall health. Due to their small mouths and teeth misalignment, Shih Tzus often experience plaque and tartar build-up, leading to gum disease and other oral issues. Dental disease can not only cause discomfort and pain for your furry friend but can also affect their vital organs, including the liver, kidneys, heart, and lungs. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of the dental health concerns specific to Shih Tzus and take proactive measures to prevent and treat them.
Common Dental Problems in Shih Tzus
Shih Tzus are particularly susceptible to dental disease due to factors such as overcrowding and hard-to-reach areas in their mouths. Some of the most common dental problems in Shih Tzus include:
- Gingivitis: Inflammation of the gums
- Periodontal Disease: Infection and damage to the tissues supporting the teeth
- Tooth Decay: Destruction of the tooth structure caused by acid-producing bacteria
- Tooth Loss: Loss of teeth due to decay, infection, or periodontal disease
These dental issues can cause pain, difficulty eating, and even impact your Shih Tzu’s overall quality of life. It’s important to be vigilant and address any signs of oral disease promptly.
Prevention and Treatment
Preventing dental problems in Shih Tzus starts with a consistent oral hygiene routine. Regular brushing using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste is crucial for removing plaque and maintaining healthy gums. Additionally, providing dental chews and ensuring a balanced diet can contribute to good dental health. However, even with diligent at-home care, professional dental cleanings are necessary to address any underlying issues and maintain your Shih Tzu’s oral health.
During professional dental cleanings, your veterinarian will thoroughly examine your Shih Tzu’s teeth, remove plaque and tartar, and address any dental problems that may require further treatment. Antibiotics may be prescribed before and after cleanings to prevent bacterial spread through the bloodstream. Regular dental check-ups will help ensure early detection and intervention, minimizing the risk of complications and safeguarding your Shih Tzu’s well-being.
By understanding the dental health concerns specific to Shih Tzus and taking proactive steps to prevent and address them, you can ensure that your furry friend enjoys a healthy and happy life with a beautiful smile.
Shih Tzu Teeth Development and Care
Proper teeth development and care play a crucial role in maintaining the dental health of Shih Tzus. Understanding the stages of tooth eruption and ensuring appropriate care from a young age are essential for preventing dental issues in these adorable pups.
Shih Tzus have two sets of teeth: baby teeth and permanent adult teeth. The baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth, start erupting at around 3-6 weeks old. These 28 tiny teeth help puppies chew their food and explore their surroundings. As Shih Tzus reach around 4 months old, their permanent adult teeth begin to replace the baby teeth. This set consists of 42 teeth that include canines, incisors, premolars, and molars.
Shih Tzu Teeth Development Timeline:
|3-6 Weeks||Eruption of baby teeth (28 in total)|
|4 Months||Replacement of baby teeth with permanent adult teeth (42 in total)|
Monitoring tooth development is crucial to identify any abnormalities or retained baby teeth. Retained baby teeth, where the baby teeth do not fall out naturally, can cause crowding and dental problems. In such cases, consulting a veterinarian is recommended to determine if the retained teeth need to be extracted to maintain proper dental alignment.
It’s important to note that the Shih Tzu bite is slightly undershot, meaning the lower jaw protrudes slightly beyond the upper jaw. While this is a breed characteristic, it can lead to dental issues like underbite. In some instances, orthodontic appliances or braces may be recommended to correct bite alignment for improved dental health.
By understanding the stages of tooth development and being proactive in dental care, Shih Tzu owners can ensure the long-term health and well-being of their furry companions.
Signs of Oral Disease in Shih Tzus
It is important for Shih Tzu owners to be aware of the signs of oral disease in their beloved pets. Oral health issues can cause discomfort and pain for Shih Tzus, and if left untreated, they can lead to serious complications. By recognizing the signs of dental problems, pet owners can take prompt action to address the issue and prevent further damage to their furry friend’s teeth and gums.
Common signs of oral disease in Shih Tzus include:
- Bad breath: Persistent bad breath, often referred to as halitosis, can be an indicator of dental problems in Shih Tzus. The unpleasant odor is typically caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar, along with the presence of bacteria in the mouth.
- Excessive drooling: If you notice that your Shih Tzu is drooling more than usual, it could be a sign of oral disease. Excessive drooling is often a result of pain or discomfort in the mouth.
- Inflamed gums: Swollen and red gums can be a sign of gingivitis, a common gum disease in dogs. Gingivitis is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar along the gumline.
- Tumors in the gums: While rare, tumors can develop in the gums of Shih Tzus. If you notice any abnormal growths or lumps in your dog’s mouth, it is essential to have them examined by a veterinarian.
- Cysts under the tongue: Cysts can form under the tongue of Shih Tzus and can cause discomfort and difficulty in eating or drinking. If you observe any unusual swelling or growths under your dog’s tongue, it is important to have them evaluated by a professional.
- Loose teeth: Loose or wobbly teeth can indicate advanced dental disease in Shih Tzus. The loss of support structures around the teeth can lead to tooth mobility and eventual tooth loss if not addressed.
If you notice any of these signs of oral disease in your Shih Tzu, it is recommended to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in dental care for pets. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help prevent and treat dental problems, ensuring your Shih Tzu maintains a healthy and pain-free mouth.
|Signs of Oral Disease in Shih Tzus||Description|
|Bad breath||Persistent, unpleasant odor caused by plaque, tartar, and bacteria in the mouth.|
|Excessive drooling||Abnormal increase in saliva production due to pain or discomfort in the mouth.|
|Inflamed gums||Swollen and red gums caused by gingivitis, a common gum disease.|
|Tumors in the gums||Rare but possible abnormal growths or lumps in the gums that require immediate evaluation.|
|Cysts under the tongue||Unusual swelling or growths beneath the tongue that can cause eating or drinking difficulties.|
|Loose teeth||Wobbly teeth indicating advanced dental disease and potential tooth loss.|
Tips for Brushing Shih Tzu Teeth
Proper brushing is key to maintaining your Shih Tzu’s dental health. Here are some helpful tips to ensure a successful brushing routine:
- Start early: Begin brushing your Shih Tzu’s teeth when they are young to get them accustomed to the process.
- Use dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste: Human toothpaste contains ingredients that can be harmful to dogs, so be sure to use toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs.
- Choose the right tools: You can use a dog-specific toothbrush, a finger brush, or even a piece of gauze wrapped around your finger to clean your Shih Tzu’s teeth.
- Be gentle: Brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth gently to avoid causing discomfort or injury to their gums.
- Establish a routine: Consistency is key when it comes to dental care. Aim to brush your Shih Tzu’s teeth at least once a day to maintain good oral hygiene.
Remember, regular brushing helps remove plaque and tartar, preventing dental issues such as bad breath and gum disease. By following these tips, you can ensure your Shih Tzu’s teeth stay healthy and strong.
“When brushing your Shih Tzu’s teeth, make it a positive experience by rewarding them with praise or a small treat afterwards. This will help create a positive association with toothbrushing and make it easier for both of you.”
Table: Recommended Toothbrushes for Shih Tzus
|Petrodex Enzymatic Toothpaste Kit||Includes a toothbrush and enzymatic toothpaste to keep your Shih Tzu’s teeth clean and healthy.||$10.99|
|Virbac C.E.T. Dual-Ended Toothbrush||Features a dual-ended design with a small brush head for reaching all areas of your Shih Tzu’s mouth.||$8.29|
|Vet’s Best Dental Finger Brushes||Designed to fit over your finger for easy brushing, these finger brushes are ideal for Shih Tzus who are not comfortable with a regular toothbrush.||$8.99|
Dental Chews for Shih Tzus
When it comes to maintaining your Shih Tzu’s dental health, dental chews can be a valuable addition to their dental care routine. These specially formulated treats not only satisfy your dog’s chewing instincts but also help remove plaque and tartar buildup, promoting healthier teeth and gums. Dental chews are designed to be safe and digestible, making them a convenient option for maintaining your Shih Tzu’s oral hygiene.
When selecting dental chews for your Shih Tzu, it’s important to choose high-quality options that are specifically designed for dental care. Look for products that have received positive reviews and are recommended by veterinarians. Dental chews that are effective in reducing plaque and tartar buildup can help prevent dental issues and keep your Shih Tzu’s breath fresh and clean.
One recommended dental chew for Shih Tzus is the GREENIES Natural Dog Dental Treats. These treats are made with a unique texture that helps clean your dog’s teeth down to the gumline. They are also fortified with vitamins and minerals to support your Shih Tzu’s overall health. It’s important to note that while dental chews can be beneficial, they should not be relied upon as the sole method of dental care. Regular brushing, professional cleanings, and a healthy diet are still necessary for optimal dental health.
Introducing dental chews into your Shih Tzu’s routine can be an enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend. Just remember to choose high-quality products, follow the recommended usage guidelines, and maintain a comprehensive dental care regimen to ensure your Shih Tzu’s teeth stay healthy and strong.
Importance of Quality Food for Dental Health
Feeding your Shih Tzu a high-quality, nutritious diet is essential for maintaining their dental health. The food your dog consumes can have a significant impact on their teeth and gums. By choosing the right diet, you can help prevent plaque and tartar buildup and ensure your Shih Tzu’s overall oral well-being.
High-quality dog foods that are free from grains, by-products, and low-quality ingredients are ideal for promoting dental health. These types of ingredients can contribute to the accumulation of plaque and tartar, which can lead to dental problems. Instead, opt for natural diets that provide essential enzymes and supplements to support healthy teeth and gums.
Whole foods, such as raw or minimally processed ingredients, can also contribute to stronger teeth and overall dental health. These foods have natural chewing action, which helps remove plaque and tartar. Additionally, they provide vital nutrients that support healthy teeth and gums.
Benefits of Quality Food for Dental Health
A nutritious diet plays a vital role in maintaining your Shih Tzu’s dental health. By feeding them high-quality food, you can:
- Reduce the risk of plaque and tartar buildup
- Promote stronger teeth and gums
- Prevent dental issues, such as tooth decay and gum disease
- Support overall well-being and vitality
While a high-quality diet is crucial for dental health, it is still essential to include regular dental check-ups and cleanings in your Shih Tzu’s care routine. These professional procedures complement at-home dental care and ensure the long-term oral health of your furry friend.
The Necessity of Regular Dental Cleanings
Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are crucial for maintaining optimal oral health in Shih Tzus. While at-home dental care is essential, professional cleanings offer a more thorough examination and ensure the removal of plaque and tartar buildup.
Even with consistent brushing and other preventive measures, there can still be hidden dental issues that only a professional can detect. Dental cleanings also involve x-rays, which help identify any underlying problems that may not be visible to the naked eye.
While the cost of dental cleanings may vary, the benefits far outweigh the potential risks and complications. These cleanings not only keep your Shih Tzu’s teeth in good condition but also contribute to their overall well-being. By prioritizing regular dental check-ups and cleanings, you can ensure your furry friend’s dental health is well-maintained.