Much like tartar on human teeth, tartar on your dog’s teeth can lead to serious health problems. However, most of us visit the dentist twice per year to keep our teeth in top shape. Our dogs don’t have the same luxury, so it’s up to us to keep their teeth and gums in top shape.
What’s Wrong With Tartar?
When looking at tartar, it’s important to remember that the tartar didn’t magically appear. Within just hours after your dog eats, plaque begins to form on his teeth. As the plaque combines with the salts in your dog’s saliva, it builds up, hardens, and turns to tartar. This tartar can host several kinds of dental problems, including gingivitis, periodontal disease, and lost teeth. Not to mention the bad breath that accompanies a tartar-filled mouth!
The damage caused by tartar goes beyond the teeth. As it builds on the gum line, it slowly pushes the gums away from the teeth, exposing the roots. These roots are not protected by enamel, which leaves them vulnerable to sensitivities and pain.
What are the Signs?
It’s important to frequently check your dog’s teeth for signs of tartar. Some typical signs include:
- Bad breath
- Hard, brown substance lining the gums
- Red, swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Pain when touching/brushing teeth
What Can I Do About Tartar?
Prevention is the most important key when dealing with tartar, but there are things you can do to minimize/remove existing tartar.
- Brush your dog’s teeth daily. If you’re not currently brushing your dog’s teeth, there’s no better time to start than now! Be prepared to take it slow with your dog. If he’s new to teeth brushing, there’s a good chance he won’t like it or his gums might bleed. Keep brushing sessions short and slowly build from there.
- Give your dog hard chews. Chewing on dental treats or toys can help to scrape any existing plaque deposits of your dog’s teeth. Other popular options for removing plaque and tartar are raw bones and our personal favorite, bully sticks.
- Try a professional cleaning. If home treatments aren’t working for your dog, he might require a visit to the vet for a professional cleaning. Ask your vet to check your dog’s teeth at each annual check-up so make sure you are on track!
Best Bully Sticks
My favorite chew to give Mauja and Atka is bully sticks. This hard chew scrapes their teeth clean and is 100% digestible. Once you get over the grossness of what a bully stick actually is, you’ll realize they’re really a great chew 😉
Along with frequent brushing (although I’ll admit we need to improve upon that), Mauja and Atka get a bully stick each evening. Occasionally, we’ll run out of bully sticks and I will forget for a month or two to replenish our stock. I definitely notice a difference in their teeth when they don’t get their evening bully sticks.
Currently, we do most of our bully stick/chew purchasing through Best Bully Sticks. So far, I have not found a company with a better price for the quality offered. The bully sticks are always dense so they last longer than ones you find at your local pet store. I also put them in the freezer to make them last just a bit longer.
Best Bully Sticks was awesome enough to offer a bully stick giveaway! Enter using the widget below to win a pack of 5 12″ standard, odor-free bully sticks.