5 Health Tips for Shih Tzus

5 / 6
Read more Read less
Brush Your Dog's Teeth
Steve Nagy/Design Pics/Corbis | Maisie Paterson/Getty Images | Geri Lavrov/Getty Images | JOHN JAVELLANA/Reuters/Corbis | Volker Dornberger/epa/Corbis | Gareth Brown/Corbis

Shih tzus are prone to developing painful periodontal disease because their teeth (all 42 of them!) are crowded inside those tiny mouths. Consequently, plaque accumulates faster on their teeth around the gums, and if not removed it hardens into tartar, a brownish calcified material.

With periodontal disease, Vicksman says the gums erode, the teeth become loose and bacteria inside the mouth could travel through the body, causing liver and kidney damage.

Good oral hygiene is the same for people and pets. It consists of professional dental cleanings and daily teeth brushing using toothpaste formulated specifically for dogs. The human kind upsets their tummies.

Specially formulated biscuits, kibble, rinses and wipes may also reduce plaque and tartar build up. But before purchasing a product, make sure it has the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval. The council says the seal is only awarded to dental products that are proven effective.

About the blog:
More on
Small Dogs