You never know what stinky treasure your pup might find outdoors and decide to eat, but everything that goes in his mouth leaves bacteria that collect on his teeth to form tartar. As a toy breed, Chihuahuas have more dental hygiene problems than some other breeds, so prevention is key.
Let your little pooch gnaw on a big, smoked knuckle bone or raw beef marrow bone every couple of weeks. If you're not into bones and the mess they can leave on your carpet, try a long-lasting, hard dog treat designed to remove tartar, or hand over a raw carrot. They all do the same thing: rub against his teeth as your pet chews.
Brush his tiny teeth with an equally tiny pet toothbrush or a rubber brush you wear on your finger. Use doggie toothpaste and gentle pressure while you brush. Hold him close and give him lots of love during and after you brush, which should happen fairly often with toy breeds such as Chihuahuas—every day would be best, but once a week should remove much of the yucky tartar.
Resist the temptation to take your furry friend to the dentist with you; instead, visit the vet for a dental checkup at least once a year. The vet can point out problem areas that brushing might not be reaching effectively. He can perform a professional cleaning and, if necessary, pull teeth that have cavities or are causing pain to your pup. Dental procedures often require anesthesia, so discuss the risks thoroughly with your vet before deciding on the best option.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- Some vets offer a basic cleaning without anesthesia, so ask your vet about your options. It doesn't clean as deeply, but there's a slight risk involved in any procedure that requires general anesthesia.
- Don't give your pooch cooked bones, especially cooked chicken bones. The bones become brittle when cooked, and can form sharp splinters that can harm a Chihuahua if they get stuck in her throat.