The Truth About Tartar on Your Dog’s Teeth

You are likely familiar with tartar, the dark buildup on dog’s teeth that discolors and damages them. It is what onsets many oral health issues for your pup and causes that atrocious dog breath that no one likes. Starting off as plaque, the gummy substance that forms on your canine’s teeth after a meal, tartar progresses to cause periodontal disease, which—in addition to causing pain and severe dental issues in its advanced stages—may also induce kidney and liver problems and changes in the heart muscle.


Plaque and Tartar in Dogs

Periodontal disease is already in its early stages by the time your dog turns three years old, and unless preventative measures are taken, it will inevitably advance and worsen. Therefore, early detection is crucial to your canine’s health and vital to his or her wellbeing.

If left untreated, periodontal problems would progress and cause severe oral health issues. Veterinarians have a grading scale to determine the severity of periodontal disease in dogs. The scale ranges from 0 to 4, where 0 means that everything is normal, and 4 indicates major, advanced problems. While plaque in dogs can be seen and quite easily removed above the gumline, plaque and tartar that form below the gumline can be difficult to deal with and can onset infection to the jawbone and to the tissues connecting the teeth to the jawbone. After an initial exam, teeth cleaning, and any necessary X-rays, your vet will determine a proper course of action and give you options to consider depending upon the results.


Teeth Brushing Can Eliminate Plaque in Dogs

After a thorough and professional dog teeth cleaning has been performed it is extremely important that you establish a cleaning routine at home in order to maintain your dog’s good oral health.  One of the best and most effective ways to reduce and prevent tartar formation and buildup is regular brushing of your dog’s teeth with a dog toothpaste. It’s very important to use toothpaste made specifically for dogs. Never use human toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth. It has ingredients that can cause problems like an upset stomach if swallowed by your pup. Regular dog teeth brushing can help keep your pet’s mouth healthy but an annual checkup is strongly recommended.

Dogs usually grow accustomed to teeth brushing very quickly. It is recommended to brush your dog’s teeth twice a day, just like you do for yourself, but brushing once daily is still sufficient. The important thing is to be consistent and regular. Dogs get used to the cleaning routine and even grow to enjoy it. Lots of praises and treats help with the process and can make it fun and something your pup will look forward to.



Additional Products to Help Eliminate Plaque and Tartar in Dogs

In addition to brushing, there is a variety of treats and pet products out there that help with tartar prevention in dogs. While there are some amazing products being advertised, keep in mind that not all of them are effective, and discussing options with your vet is always the best approach. A professional will give you good advice about products that will work. You veterinarian will also provide some great recommendations for your dog’s specific needs and circumstances.

Consider the benefits of vegetables like carrots and berries and the great cleaning effect they have on your canine’s teeth. Also, think about water additives that can greatly reduce the count of bacteria in your dog’s mouth. Just remember to make sure that any additive you consider using is approved and accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC).

Tartar is unpleasant to deal with, but it doesn’t have to become a severe problem if you take the necessary steps to get it under control early on. Spare yourself and your dog the pain and suffering that tartar can cause if left untreated by taking the reins and showing it who’s boss. Call Veterinary Dental Services at (978) 929-9200 to help eliminate your dog’s plaque and tartar!