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The "Tooth" About Teeth!

THE TRUTH IS...Without proper dental care and regular brushing, your Cavalier's oral health will be at risk for periodontal  disease and tooth decay.

In order to maintain proper overall health in your Cavalier, it is important to start with the mouth and teeth. A healthy mouth equals a healthy heart! There is a direct link between the healthiness of your Cavalier's mouth and teeth to the healthiness of their heart. Tooth decay and diseased gums produce bacteria that get into your Cavalier's bloodstream. It can result in problems to any of their organs but in particular, the heart valves where the bacteria starts to grow.

Most Cavaliers will have developed a level of periodontal disease, which can easily and often go unnoticed by owners. Problems develop unseen under the gums and in the bloodstream, where bacteria builds up to eventually cause internal damage to organs, of most concern for our cavaliers, to the heart. 

The most effective and least expensive defense is to develop a tooth brushing routine with your cavalier. 

drawing of a cavalier holding a toothbrush between its teeth

Figure 1

This will help reduce plaque. Just as with humans, this is a bacteria filled film that adheres to the tooth surface, and without attention, will lead to disease. 

 

Most Cavaliers will accept brushing in a short time with owner patience and perseverance.  You can use finger-toothbrushes or handle toothbrushes, made especially for dogs. Each offer useful benefits, and can be found in most pet supply stores and online.

various dog toothbrushes

Figure 2

As you can see, there are many varieties of toothbrushes available. You may have to experiment with more than one type to find the right fit for you and your Cavalier.

Just as many varieties of toothpaste are available, but perhaps the most and best recommended brand is Virbac C.E.T. because it contains Dentifrice Enzymatique. There are a couple of flavors that dogs tend to readily accept, although at best, usually by means of an "acquired taste". 

DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE

They contain foaming agents

toxic to dogs

Virbac C.E.T. Toothpaste

Figure 3

You may be tempted to purchase a scaler and attempt to scale your Cavalier's teeth yourself. --DON'T!-- I admit, I have tried this myself, but that is in the past because I now know better! The mouth is full of tiny blood vessels, easily nicked  and broken open by the untrained hand. This can easily introduce that dreaded bacteria I keep mentioning, right into the bloodstream to head straight for your Cavalier's heart. In addition, these metal scalers leave surface grooves, invisible to the eye, that  will attract tartar, which is hardened, yellowed plaque. It only takes a few days or less for plaque to become tartar, which is why daily brushing isthe most recommended first action of defense.

 

Once you see this discoloration on your Cavalier's teeth, it is likely time to schedule that first dental to prevent irreversible damage.

tartar buildup on a dogs teeth

Figure 4

Despite what you may read otherwise, hard kibble IS an excellent way to keep tartar from building up on your Cavalier's teeth. Of course, this does only work if your dog actually chews their kibble. Cavaliers are notorious for "inhaling" their food and swallowing it whole, rather than chew individual pieces. So, it is important to also add large rawhides. Always be observant of your Cavalier's progress of wear on the rawhide. Rawhides are rectangular shaped, so in our household we have a rule of thumb: "As soon as a rawhide becomes a square, take it away." Dispose of it in the garbage and offer a brand new one. This rule avoids accidental ingestion and prevents the hazard of choking. 

photo showing how to know when it's time to throw away your dog's rawhide chip

Figure 5

In addition to rawhide, I also personally recommend these dental treats found at tractor supply. Click image to be taken to the site.

These chews are easily broken in half, which is the portion I give my dogs, once each day.

4 health dental chews

Figure 6

Hopefully you will find these tips helpful in your quest to keep your Cavalier's mouth a happy, healthy environment!

Author: Angela Schuller

Disclaimer: As a breeder who cares deeply for my dogs and puppies I act as responsibly as I can.  The information provided is intended to inform and help to lessen the alarm when dental care becomes a topic with your veterinarian. Ultimately, once a puppy leaves my home relinquished to an owner's care, owners must then take on the responsibility for their decisions. As always, if your pet has an urgent medical concern, please consult your veterinarian. Finally, as your trusted breeder, I am always available to offer support and answer questions. 

SOURCES: 

Cavalier Matters Website,  https://www.cavaliermatters.org/

Cavalier Health ebsite,  https://cavalierhealth.org/dental.html

"Figure 1”jpg, Original Adobe®  vector image further digitally manipulated by Angela Schuller,  https://stock.adWobe.com/vectorss. Accessed 31  July 2023

"Figure 2”jpg, "Figure 3"jpg, "Figure 4"jpg, general image search

"figure 5"jpg, general image search alongside original photo byAngela Schuller

"Figure 6"jpg, Tractor Supply Website, https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/4health-plaque-buster-dog-treats-mint-32-cts, Accessed 31  July 2023

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