You might find it easy to look after your own teeth but do you keep your dog’s teeth clean too?

Barking Heads vet Dr Scott Miller who has appeared on ITV’s This Morning has issued a warning to small dog owners as their dogs are likely to suffer the worst dental problems, including losing their teeth.

Specifically, owners of Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, Dachshunds and Chihuahuas should be aware of the importance of keeping their pets’ teeth in working order.

Here’s what Dr Scott Miller had to say.

Worcester News: Certain smaller dog breeds can be more at risk of dental problemsCertain smaller dog breeds can be more at risk of dental problems (Image: Getty Images)

Why is dental care so important for pets?

Dogs need an occasional trip to the vet for an oral examination, a bit like us humans with regular visits to the dentist.

When your dog goes to the vet, they will determine any visible or underlying conditions in their mouth that you may have overlooked or not noticed.

If necessary, the vet can also assist and give guidance on daily care.

Do all dogs need their teeth to be closely monitored?

Not all dogs need heavy monitoring but some breeds are more prone to dental issues and will need some extra help keeping their teeth clean.

Some small breed dogs like Yorkshire Terriers and Pomeranians can be prone to having teeth that grow irregularly in their mouths.

This can lead to some teeth sticking out from their mouths or leaving uneven gaps between teeth.

Food can then get stuck between teeth, putting them at risk of gum disease.

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Dachshunds and Chihuahuas also face a higher risk of gum disease than other breeds.

Barking Heads vet Dr Scott Miller encourages dog owners to consider their dogs in their nightly routine and remember to brush their dog’s teeth.

Small routine tweaks can improve your dog's health in the long run and save you from costly vet trips.

How can you tell if your dog is suffering from a dental injury?

When your dog is eating food, check to see how they are eating it to work out if they’re in pain or being fussy.

Check if their mouthfuls are smaller than usual, if they’re being more cautious when eating or if they’re only chewing on one side of their mouth. These signs can indicate that your dog is in pain.

Another sign might be that your dog is preferring to wet food over kibble when they previously weren’t bothered which they ate.

If you notice any of these other signs, your dog might need to go to the dentist:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Unusual swelling in their face
  • Bloody saliva
  • Weight loss
  • Plaque & tartar build up early.
  • Inflamed gums 
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Cracked or damaged teeth

If you notice one or more of these signs, contact your vet for further assistance.

Ignoring these signs could make the problem worse, for example, excess plaque build-up could cause inflammation along the gums (otherwise known as gingivitis) if not treated, and halitosis may be a sign of periodontal disease.

What can you do for your dog?

Keep an eye on the condition of your dog’s mouth and teeth at home with a quick examination of their teeth and gums.

To do this, pull your dogs lips up gently over their teeth and check the gum condition and look for any damage to their teeth.

Dental chews can help your dog reduce plaque build-up in their mouths and help them with their breath.

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If your dog has a procedure done, they might need extra help in keeping their teeth clean.

A finger brush and a dog-friendly toothpaste can be used – circular motions are best and you should build up from a few seconds to a few minutes over time.

When out on walks, try to make sure your dog avoids picking up anything that could cause damage to their teeth.