What do small dogs tend to need professional veterinary dental cleanings more often than large dogs?

Small dogs tend to build up tartar more frequently because:

• They really don’t like hard food and dental chews—the things that help prevent tartar build up.
• They’re prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) so they’ve had sugary diets from an early age. In fact, many often get karo syrup in their water.
• Small dogs just get more treats in proportion to their weights than the larger ones.

However, every dog, small OR large, should have regular dental care from an early age. While your dog may look healthy and happy, gingivitis (gum disease) is silent at first—and if unchecked, it can spread to other organs, such as heart, liver and kidney.

Here are general guidelines:
• Have your dog’s teeth examined by a veterinarian as part of a yearly physical. Your veterinarian can detect tooth and gum problems in the early stages while they are still easy to treat.
• Avoid giving sweets to your dog. He won’t be brushing after every meal, so the bacterial growth that sugar is encouraging in your dog’s mouth is more of a problem than the treat is worth.
• Buy dental dog treats. Dental chews especially designed for dogs help scrape plaque from their teeth. Your dog does the work himself and has a good time doing it.
NOTE: Since toy breeds tend not to like them, you should make it a habit to brush her teeth every day.
• Brush your dog’s teeth. Veterinary experts recommend once daily. If that isn’t possible, aim to brush every two or three days.
• Get professional cleanings. A veterinarian can do the most thorough job of cleaning your dog’s teeth. This is a good option if the dog is young and in good health. Because dogs are anesthetized for the procedure, there is some risk, so consult your veterinarian about the specific health issues pertaining to your dog before scheduling the procedure.

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