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Can't have that, doggies need their superfoods!

A happy Shih Tzu with healthy teeth and gums on a green lawn

Shih Tzu Smile: Essential Dental Hygiene Tips

The Importance of Dental Hygiene for Your Shih Tzu

Keeping your Shih Tzu's smile bright and healthy isn't just a matter of aesthetics; it's essential for their overall well-being. Like humans, dogs can suffer from dental issues like plaque buildup, gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. These can lead to more serious health complications including heart, liver, and kidney diseases. So maintaining good dental hygiene for your pooch is paramount.

Regular Tooth Brushing

One of the best ways to ensure your Shih Tzu maintains good oral health is by brushing their teeth regularly. Ideally, you should brush your dog's teeth daily, but if that's not possible, aim to do it at least three times a week. Use a toothpaste formulated for dogs, as human toothpaste can be harmful to your pet. Introduce tooth brushing gently, allowing your Shih Tzu to get used to the sensation and taste. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for dogs or a finger brush, making gentle circular motions along the gum line and teeth.

Dental Treats and Chew Toys

Dental treats and chew toys can be excellent supplements to brushing. They are designed to help reduce plaque and tartar buildup while satisfying your Shih Tzu's natural urge to chew. Chews like rubber dental toys or rawhide can provide hours of entertainment and oral health benefits. Make sure the size and materials of the chew are appropriate for your dog to prevent any choking hazard or digestive issues.

Professional Cleanings

Even with diligent at-home care, your Shih Tzu should still see a veterinarian for regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings. These cleanings allow veterinarians to remove any plaque or tartar that has built up over time and to assess your pet's mouth for any signs of dental issues that might have gone unnoticed. Most vets recommend professional dental cleanings once a year, but they may suggest more frequent visits depending on your Shih Tzu's specific needs.

Diet Matters

What your Shih Tzu eats plays a vital role in their dental health. Dry kibble can be beneficial as it helps scrape away plaque from the teeth, while wet food is more likely to stick and contribute to plaque buildup. Specially-formulated dental diets are available and can be a good option for Shih Tzus with a high risk of dental problems. Be sure to consult with your vet to find the most suitable diet for your pet.

A great treat to consider giving your Shih Tzu is Neo Bites Superfood Treats. They're made with apple—which has malic acid known to support healthy teeth and gums—along with pumpkin, kale, peanuts, cinnamon, oats, egg, and insect protein. They're carefully formulated by a veterinarian, so you can rest assured they're getting the right amount of nutrients. Not only are these ingredients good for overall health, but they make for a delicious, rewarding treat.

Watch for Dental Disease Signs

Being proactive about your Shih Tzu's dental health also involves watching for signs of potential problems. Bad breath is often the first indicator of oral disease. Other signs to look out for include difficulty eating, swollen or bleeding gums, loose teeth, and pawing at the mouth. Take your pet to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms, as early detection can lead to more effective treatment.

Consistency is Key

Maintaining a consistent dental care routine is critical in preventing dental diseases in your Shih Tzu. Start dental hygiene practices early in your dog's life to get them accustomed to the routine. Remember, caring for your Shih Tzu's teeth isn't an occasional task; it's an integral part of their daily care. With the right attention and care, your Shih Tzu's smile can be as charming and healthy as their delightful personality.

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