Your Pet Question:
I give my 5-year-old male beagle hard kibble food (recommended/seal from Canadian vet assoc.) and hard biscuits for treats. The only people food he gets is what is accidentally dropped, which is very little. However, he still has very brown teeth. We tried brushing them but that was a definite challenge. What else can I do to whiten his teeth? I worry about his gums (they look OK) and I would rather not have dental work done since that would mean sedating him….maybe it is too late?
Louise Telford, Napanee, ON
The Expert Says:
Dogs NEED dental care because dirty teeth can make dogs sick! Most dogs and cats over the age of five-years-old have tartar accumulation on their teeth as well as some gum disease. It needs to be taken care of or it will worsen and cause further health issues for your pet. If your dog’s teeth are brown, then they are likely covered with tartar– an accumulation of saliva, food and bacteria and it needs to be removed. The insides and the outside surfaces of each tooth must be cleaned and also between the teeth and under the gum line. This must be done under a general anaesthetic. When the tartar has been removed, teeth polished and fluoride applied, the teeth will be clean and white and much healthier for your pet. Then brushing the teeth is an effective to slow down the accumulation of plaque that hardens into that ugly tartar. If your dog will not tolerate brushing ask your veterinarian about dental diets, chews and biscuits made specifically to help slow down dental disease–they really work!
Dr. Irene Phillips is a DVM at Avenida All Pet Clinic, Calgary, Alberta.