There will be many varying circumstances in which you may have a Shih Tzu that is in need of emergency professional dental care:
- You may have adopted a Shih Tzu from a shelter that could not afford to properly take care of dog dental needs
- You may be purchased your dog from less-than diligent owners who did not perform cleanings
- You may have not realized the consequences and seriousness of dental cleaning for your Shih Tzu
If this is the case, you will want to immediately look for certain warning signs that your dog needs urgent care:
- There are bumps or sores on the gums
- The gums bleed when you touch them
- You notice loose teeth
- Your Shih Tzu seems to have a difficult time eating and appears to have pain
- You can cleanly see yellow crust that has formed on the teeth of your dog
Overview of Care
If you have not yet begun regular dental care cleanings or if you have a Shih Tzu puppy, you usually need to begin will small steps to allow your dog to become used to having their teeth brushed and taken care of. There are several methods to provide the proper care; however they do all involve touching your Shih Tzu's teeth; this may take some adjustment time for your dog.
Is it Too Late to Start?
If you have not performed regular dental care grooming, it is never too late to begin. However, plaque and tarter can form very quickly. If you have had your Shih Tzu for a while and are now just going to begin dental care yourself, you must first have a veterinarian scrap your dog's teeth to remove the plaque and tarter. It is vital to have a professional do this, as these elements will build up under the gum line; no matter how much brushing you do, you will not be able to reach it or remove it from your Shih Tzu's mouth. Most vets will use gentle anesthesia to do the proper cleaning.
No matter which stage you are in regarding the dental care, you must schedule once-per-year dental checkups and cleanings with your trusted veterinarian. Good and proper care will be a combination of both the cleaning at the vet and the daily cleanings at home.
You can help you dog become acclimated to having their teeth touched by first simply touching their mouth. Sitting in front of your dog, choose a command word to say such as "Teeth" and then gently rub your fingers along their mouth and their teeth. If they remain still, give reward with happy praise. If may take several weeks to increase the amount of time that your Shih Tzu will sit still, allowing you to touch their teeth; however once you bring them to this point dental care will become so much easier.