A recent study examining dental care in small dog breeds highlights the importance of regular mouth care for dogs. The study, conducted by the Center for Pet Nutrition, examined the development of inflammatory dental disease in Miniature Schnauzers. It was shown that without regular, effective dental care, dental diseases progressed rapidly and quickly worsened with age.
“We all want the best for our pet’s health, and this study showed us that there is more to mouth care in small dogs than previously thought,” said study leader Dr. Stephen Harris. Because the spaces between the teeth are narrow, especially in small dogs with shorter snouts, food residues can get stuck more easily. The study also highlighted the importance of proper dental care in older dogs. The study involved 52 Miniature Schnauzers from one to seven years of age who were examined for oral health over 60 weeks. To better understand the development of dental disease, researchers have replaced regular oral care with just examining the entire mouth. They found out that without regular care, early signs of periodontal disease (inflammation of the periodontium) developed within six months. Even faster in dogs over the age of four. The extent to which the disease progressed varied depending on the type of tooth and the position of the tooth in the mouth.
The study also showed that periodontal disease can develop independently of the visible signs of gingivitis. “Some dog owners lift their lips to get an idea of the health of their mouth by looking at their gums. However, the study shows that doing so may miss important early warning signs of dental disease,” explains Dr. harris.
The results should encourage all dog owners to practice regular mouth grooming on their dogs. This includes dental check-ups at the vet’s as well as regular brushing. Special tooth-cleaning snacks and chewing strips can also serve as a preventive measure against dental diseases. This applies to all dogs. However, owners of small dogs should pay particular attention to their dog’s teeth, as they are at even greater risk of developing serious dental problems.