It’s estimated that gum disease affects between 80% to 89% of all dogs aged 3 years and above. This is a quite staggering statistic, and if accurate it means that most Whippet owners have a potentially serious problem they may not know about. So in this post, I’m going to talk about canine gum health and explain how to care for your Whippet’s teeth.
Table of Contents
- Why Whippet Dental Hygiene is Important
- The Effects of Poor Canine Dental Care
- How to Care for Your Whippet’s Teeth
- Dog Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
- Dog Dental Wipes
- Canine Dental Chews
- Regular Veterinary Care
Why Dental Hygiene is Important for Your Whippet’s Teeth
By a long stretch, gum disease prevention is the best approach in terms of dental hygiene and keeping Whippet teeth in good condition. The first step here is ensuring that your Whippet’s diet is wholesome and healthy.
Keeping teeth clean is the next most important thing!
A dog’s mouth is filled with bacteria, just like ours. When bacteria collect on the surface of a tooth, they form a layer called plaque.
Some plaque is removed when a dog chews something or by the movements of its tongue. However, without cleaning plaque will begin to accumulate.
When large quantities of plaque remain on teeth it can harden and become a brown substance known as tartar that’s difficult to remove. It’s this tartar that then causes dental health problems.
Sadly, tartar cannot be removed by brushing alone: it requires veterinary attention under general anaesthetic.
As a result, it’s far better to spend time cleaning your Whippet’s teeth 2-3 times a week to remove plaque before it becomes tartar.
The Effects of Poor Canine Dental Care
It’s hugely important to care for your Whippet’s teeth, since neglect here can result in:
- Tooth Loss – Poor dental hygiene can make your Whippet’s teeth discolour, rot and fall out. You can ensure that the teeth, and the gums that support them, remain healthy by prioritising dental hygiene.
- Halitosis – If your Whippet has bad breath, it’s likely due to an accumulation of plaque. Cleaning your Whippet’s teeth prevents plaque from accumulating and reduces bad dental odours.
- Gum Disease – Tartar can cause gum infection and inflammation if left untreated. The gums may begin to recede from teeth, leaving both gums and teeth more vulnerable to bacterial damage. This can lead to gingivitis, which causes tooth loss. While gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, it can result in more severe periodontal disease.
- Pain – Gum disease and gingivitis are both painful. If you’ve ever had toothache, you’ll understand how painful this can be. Just remember that your Whippet will experience as much pain as you do if it has toothache… it will affect its mood and may turn it off food.
How to Care For Your Whippet’s Teeth
The best way to prevent accumulation of tartar is by brushing your Whippet’s teeth.
Many Whippets won’t enjoy this at first, but familiarity and routine will help them get used to the experience, just like nail trimming and other general Whippet grooming tasks.
There are of course several things you’ll need to care for your Whippet’s teeth properly.
Dog Toothbrushes and Toothpaste
To start with, you’ll need a brush.
This might be a dog toothbrush or a special brush that fits on the end of your finger. You can use either but you may find a finger brush is the best option, especially when your Whippet is a puppy. Finger brushes are much easier to use for smaller mouths.
You’ll need a toothpaste specifically made for dogs too. The toothpastes we humans use contain ingredients that may be unsuitable for your Whippet and could cause irritation or make them poorly.
Besides, dog toothpaste can include flavours that your Whippet will love such as chicken or peanut butter, which might make toothbrushing a more pleasant experience.
Dog Dental Wipes
Dog dental wipes are a good option for those who want to change up their Whippet tooth cleaning technique or for those who find a brush doesn’t work for them.
You use dog tooth wipes by rubbing them on a Whippet’s teeth to remove plaque, however they won’t be as effective at cleaning small crevices and grooves in teeth as brushes are.
That said, they can help to keep your Whippet’s gums and teeth clean, especially if you’re struggling with a brush or when you don’t have access to your regular toothbrush but want to give your Whippet’s teeth a quick once over.
Although dog tooth wipes won’t be as comprehensive as brushing, they can help to remove food and plaque from teeth and so may have a part to play in your keeping your Whippet’s mouth healthy.
Canine Dental Chews
Besides satisfying the craving for a tasty treat, canine dental chews can also help ckeep your Whippet’s teeth clean.
Dental chews are designed to reduce the accumulation of plaque and tartar and help to clean the teeth somewhat at the same time. When bacteria in the mouth is kept at bay, it reduces the likelihood that your Whippet will have bad breath.
Dental chews come in different shapes and sizes and they feature ridges and nubs that can get into tiny nooks and crannies between your Whippet’s teeth. They can also encourage blood flow to the gums to keep them healthy.
Always bear in mind that canine dental chews contain calories and may also contain processed fruits, grains and starches that can contribute to dental diseases. Always check the labels!
Regular Veterinary Care
I mentioned earlier that prevention is always better than cure where your Whippet’s dental health is concerned.
Regular veterinary check ups will ensure that your Whippet’s overall health is monitored and should reveal any potential dental health issues.
If your Whippet has extensive tartar build up, it may be that your veterinarian will recommend veterinary teeth cleaning. This is a substantial procedure and one that would require anaesthesia and an overnight stay… so it doesn’t come cheap.
It’s worth remembering too that anaesthetising Whippets does not come without risk as sensitivity to anaesthesia is a known Whippet health issue.
Of course, your veterinarian will always know what’s best for your Whippet’s teeth and will advise upon and any address any issues they come across.
Your Whippet’s health is of primary importance. Make sure you take your little friend for regular veterinary check ups.
Your Whippet’s teeth deserve as much care and attention as yours do. Canine dental disease is as damaging to your dog’s health as it is to your own.
Without proper dental care, your Whippet may suffer gum disease, bad breath and tooth loss… all of which can be avoided by brushing your Whippet’s teeth 2 – 3 times each week.
Veterinary check ups will help to monitor your Whippet’s teeth and gums and address dental problems, but this is no substitute for regular teeth cleaning.
How do you find caring for your Whippet’s teeth? Do you have any tips to share or recommendations? Please leave a comment or question below.