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August 2023

These 13 Dog Breeds are Prone to Dental Disease: Is Your Dog at Risk?

Health & Nutrition

Dental disease is a common concern with dogs – in fact, 80% of dogs have some form of dental disease by the time they’re just three years old. Some breeds are more prone to it than others – making it even more important for them to have regular dental checks. Find out which breeds are the most prone to dental disease, and how best to maintain dental health for your dog.

The Dog Breeds At The Highest Risk Of Dental Issues

Dental disease is an umbrella term which covers both gingivitis and periodontal disease – both of which are painful and can even lead to loss of teeth and costly vet visits. Understanding which breeds are at the highest risk of dental issues is helpful as, with preventive measures and proper care, periodontal disease can be avoided altogether.

Toy Breeds and Dental Disease

Toy and miniature breeds are more predisposed to dental disease – in most cases because their mouths are so small there isn’t sufficient space for adult teeth to come in, causing overcrowding and poor teeth positioning.

1. Chihuahua
It’s not only Chihuahuas’s bodies that are tiny…but also their mouths! Because of their pint size, Chihuahua’s mouths are prone to overcrowding, wherein their teeth take up too much space and there aren’t sufficient gaps between the teeth to allow for cleaning. This makes keeping their teeth clean an extra challenge because some teeth are hard to reach.

2. Yorkshire Terrier
Yorkies, like other toy breeds, are prone to dental disease due to their small size and delicate dental structure. Their mouths are prone to overcrowding and tooth rotation (wherein the tooth doesn’t come up in the correct position – often because there’s not enough space in their mouth) and crowded teeth can trap food particles, leading to plaque buildup.

3. Pomeranian
Pomeranian’s have tiny little mouths and therefore insufficient space for new teeth. As well as overcrowding teeth, the breed is also prone to retaining puppy teeth (because there isn’t enough space for them to come out). All of this makes it harder to keep their teeth clean and increases the likelihood of tartar buildup.

4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These affectionate dogs are predisposed to early tooth loss and gum disease due to their small mouths and propensity for overcrowded teeth. Cavoodles (a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a Toy/Small Poodle) also have this issue.

5. Bichon Frise
Bichon’s dental structure and overcrowded mouths increases the risk of tartar accumulation and gum inflammation.

6. Maltese
The Maltese’s tiny jaw can lead to tooth crowding and decay. Their teeth are also more brittle and fragile, requiring gentle care to prevent damage.

7. Dachshund
While their mouths may be long – they’re also quite small meaning Dachshunds are predisposed to dental problems. Their teeth are often misaligned, making them more susceptible to tartar accumulation in pockets and crevices that form. While all Dachshunds can get dental disease, miniature Dachshunds are at the highest risk.

Brachycephalic Breeds and Dental Disease

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Brachycephalic (flat faced) breeds are prone to dental issues due to their unusual facial structure. Their flat faces have created an unusual mouth shape, making it difficult for teeth to come through correctly.

8. Pug
Pugs have a flat facial structure which can lead to misaligned teeth, causing tartar accumulation and gum issues.

9. Shih Tzu
Shih Tzus' short-muzzled faces can result in dental crowding and misalignment. These factors contribute to a higher risk of periodontal disease.

10. Bulldog
Bulldogs' distinctive jaws and short snouts can lead to dental problems. Their teeth are often tightly packed, meaning that it’s difficult to access all their teeth to clean them. This is a problem that affects all bulldogs including English, French, American and Australian Bulldogs.

11. Boxer
Boxers are prone to a variety of dental issues, including gum disease and tooth decay. Their susceptibility is partly due to their genetics and facial structure.

Other High-Risk Breeds for Dental Disease

While most high-risk breeds are either toy or brachycephalic breeds – these other two breeds are just as vulnerable to dental disease.

12. Greyhound
Greyhounds present high case numbers of dental disease – though the genetic reason for this isn’t entirely clear. Therefore, if you’re adopting a greyhound, it’s important to get their teeth checked.

13. Great Dane
Despite their imposing size, Great Danes can experience dental issues. Their large mouths can house hidden crevices where plaque can thrive.

Even if you have an at-risk breed, this isn’t to say they’ll get dental disease. It just makes it even more important to practice proper dental hygiene to keep their teeth in tip-top shape! Here are our expert vet tips for maintaining healthy teeth.

Top Tips for Maintaining Dental Health for Dogs

Regular Brushing

Brush your dog's teeth regularly using a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs. Aim for at least two to three times a week to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup.

Make sure you use dog-friendly dental products! Toothbrushes designed for human use are often too harsh for dogs, and human-grade toothpaste can contain ingredients which are toxic to dogs.

Dental Chews and Toys

Provide dental chews and toys that encourage your dog to get chewing! These items can help reduce plaque and tartar, as well as providing entertainment for your dog.

Water Additives

Consider using water additives designed to promote oral hygiene. These additives can help fight bacteria and maintain fresh breath.

Dental-Friendly Diet

Feed your dog a balanced diet that supports dental health. If you’ve got an at-risk breed, dental kibble may be a good option for your pet. Include raw bones in your dog’s diet to encourage chewing – and consider offering other natural options like carrots and strawberries. Consult your vet for recommendations on appropriate foods that promote strong teeth and gums.

Dental Care

Schedule regular dental check-ups with your vet. Did you know Petstock offer free dental checks with our lovely nurse team? Professional cleanings can address issues that regular brushing might miss.

Do you know about Petstock Vet?

Speak to your local vet for more advice and information. Or you can visit one of our Petstock VET clinics in your local area.

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FAQs about High-Risk Dog Breeds for Dental Disease

Are these breeds the only ones at risk of dental problems?

While these breeds are more susceptible, all dogs can experience dental issues. Regular dental care is essential for all dogs.

How can I get my dog used to teeth brushing?

Start slowly, introduce the toothbrush gradually, and use positive reinforcement. Make the experience positive and rewarding for your dog.

Can dental issues in dogs lead to other health problems?

Yes, dental problems can affect overall health. In severe cases, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and potentially cause issues with organs. This is why it’s so important to get your dog’s teeth checked regularly during vet visits.

What should I do if I notice signs of dental problems in my dog?

Contact your vet. Signs of dental problems include bad breath, difficulty eating, pawing at the mouth, and bleeding gums.


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