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Maltese Dental Care
Overview

Even the most loving dog owners sometime underestimate the importance of good dental care for their pet.   Caring for your the teeth of your Maltese dog is vital to maintain good health.

The effects of lack of doggie dental care can be devastating.   Dogs do not get cavities as easily as humans, however plague is the leading cause of serious issues. 

A dog that does not have a regular routine of cleaning can end up with severely rotted teeth.  This puts the dog in great pain.  Once at this limit of decay, extraction is usually needed. 

When a dog is missing many of their 42 teeth, this can again cause the dog discomfort when attempting to eat or when playing with their dog toys.

How Do You Provide Dental Care to a Dog?

There are 2 levels of care that your Maltese will need:
  • Daily care from you
  • Professional care, usually 1 time per year, from their veterinarian
Daily Care for Your Maltese

Dogs will behave best if given a daily routine.  A time should be set up each day for grooming.  Part of that grooming should include cleaning the dog's teeth.  Many owners shy away from cleaning their dog's canines because it can be quite a struggle to control their dog.  However, with proper training, a dog will learn to sit still while this is performed.

It is best to do this in steps.  Begin by having your dog sit on or near you.  Using a finger, rub across the dog's teeth.  As you do this each day, work your way up to at least 2 minutes and try to touch all of the teeth.  As with all dog training, you should praise your dog when they sit still for you and allow you to do what is necessary.

Maltese teethNext, use a dog finger tooth brush.  These brushes basically are made of a soft material that will clean the tooth as it is sliding over it.  Since it slips over your finger, your Maltese should already be used to the feeling.  After a week or so, add some cleaner to the brush and allow your dog to become accustomed to the taste. 

The next step is to graduate to a high quality dog toothbrush.  Choose carefully.  You will want a brush that is made for small breed dogs.  If your dog reacts very negatively to the paste previously used, try a brand with a different flavor.  Brush the tops and sides of the teeth.  There is no reason to brush the tongue; however if your dog allows it, do so.

Alternative Dental Care


If your Maltese flat out refuses to sit still while you use the brush, you may opt to continue using the finger brush.  Alternatively, you may choose to use doggie dental wipes.  These dog wipes have cleaner already embedded onto them and as long as you wipe all of the teeth, every day,  this 2nd alternative will prevent much of the plague.

Professional Dog Dental Care


Aside from the daily routine that must be established, a dog should have a professional cleaning at least once per year.  Your veterinarian will do an exam and it may be determined that your Maltese will need professional care twice per year.  Most vets will use anesthesia; this is the normal practice and owners should not be concerned. 

Unless there is a major issue, your regular veterinarian will be able to perform these procedures.  However, if a tooth is growing out of place or there is a concern of severe decay, your dog may be referred to a canine orthodontist.  These specialists can do a lot, including the use of dog braces to help save teeth.

Tooth Extractions

A dog of any breed may have a misaligned tooth. Most often, when this happens it leaves a gap in the dog's teeth, in which food can become trapped.  This in turn can lead to bacterial infections.  Aside from the option of doggie braces, a tooth extraction may be recommended by your dog's veterinarian. A misaligned puppy tooth should be removed as soon as possible; this most often allows the adult dog canine tooth to grow into place normally.

What should you feed your Maltese dog after a tooth extraction?  You can use the same dog food that you normally do.  However, if you are feeding your dog dry dog food, you will want to soften it.  You may use water or plain chicken broth.  Another option, if your dog is showing great discomfort, is to puree the dog food.

Summary

Never think that "a dog's teeth will take care of themselves".  It is a myth that a dog will clean its teeth by chewing on things; this only cleans teeth a bit...not enough!   To keep your dog healthy, one must understand all dental issues.  To see how you can have 400+ pages of combined Maltese knowledge regarding happiness & health, click here !



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