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Dental Care

Maltipoo Dental Care

The Importance of Dental Care

It was not very long ago that dog owners and even veterinarians did not understand the important need of dog dental care, both at home and at professional cleaning facilities. For quite a long time, it was falsely believed that a dog did not need their teeth brushed; people thought that a dog's mouth was clean to the point of being sterile...and that all a dog needed was a good bone to chew on to keep their teeth healthy.

This is sad, because countless dogs have suffered in the past due to lack of proper cleaning...Many dogs have died from infections that festered in the gums for years, and their owners just did not know.

Dog owners used to believe that brushing a dog's teeth was "silly" and unnecessary. Little did they know that infections due to lack of cleaning were fatal. 

As their dog grew older and began to have trouble chewing, an owner would think that it was part of the normal aging process...not understanding that it was due to pain. How unfortunate it is that those Maltipoos were unable to let their human family members know that they were suffering from dental issues.

Thankfully, with the knowledge that we have today, dogs are spared dental pain and suffering...We now know that dental care is just as important as any other health element.

Your Maltipoo needs you to brush (and scrape) their teeth just as often as you brush your own teeth. Understanding the importance of this will save your dog from possible severe pain and eventual death due from infections. 

Using the right products and making this part of your normal grooming routine will help ensure that your dog's teeth remain free of damaging plaque, tartar and decay.
dental care Maltipoo
Miss Peaches | 1 year old
Photo courtesy of Gionna & Julius Diez 
What Proper Dental Care Will Do

Without receiving proper dental care, some problems things can spiral into serious issues. Just as with human teeth, having uncleaned or improperly cleaned teeth will start a snowball of events. Brushing teeth on a regular basis will help prevent the following from happening:
  • Plaque and tarter will begin to form layers on a Maltipoo's teeth
  • If not properly cleaned, it will begin to form at the gumline
  • Deep gum disease will then set in
  • The gums and down into the jaw bones will then be affected;
  • Teeth can become loose, roots can become exposed and severe pain may set it.
 When Emergency Dental Care is Needed

There will be many varying circumstances in which you may have a Maltipoo that is in need of emergency professional dental care:
  • You may have an adopted Maltipoo, from an animal shelter, and that shelter may not have been able to afford proper care for your dog's teeth.
  • Your Maltipoo may have had previous owners who did not perform cleanings as needed.
  • You may have not realized the importance of cleanings and scrapings and are now just learning of this. The years of neglecting the teeth have lead to decay.
Both the Poodle and the Maltese (and therefore the Maltipoo) should have a "scissors bite" in which the bite is level - the incisor teeth in the upper jaw are in contact with but slightly overlap those in bottom jaw.

If any of the above is the case for your Maltipoo, you will want to look in his or her mouth for "red flag" signs that immediate, professional care is needed: 
  • Bumps or sores (of any color) are present on the gums
  • Blood comes out from the gum area even with a gentle touch
  • A tooth (or teeth) are loose (and your Maltipoo has all of their adult teeth)
  • Your Maltipoo seems to have trouble chewing...he or she may avoid food, or chew very cautiously.
  • A yellow "crust" has formed on a tooth or teeth
Maltipoo with white teeth
Rosie, 4 years 
Overview Dental Care for Your Maltipoo

If you are not currently following a regular schedule of caring for your Maltipoo's teeth or if you have just gotten a puppy, you will want to begin in small steps...A Maltipoo needs to get used to having their teeth touched and brushed. There are several methods to clean your dog's teeth, however all involve touching them and a Maltipoo usually needs time to get used to the feeling of having this done.

When to Begin

No matter what the age of your Maltipoo, it is never too late to begin dental care. However, do keep in mind that plaque build up can form very quickly. If your Maltipoo is several years old and you have just now learned that you must provide this type of care, you should first have a professional and experienced veterinarian perform a scraping to remove tarter and plaque buildup.

It is important to have this done first, as both types of build up can go underneath the gum line....and any amount of brushing or scraping will not be able to reach it...and it can then lead to bone loss. Gentle anesthesia will be used so that the veterinarian can do all of the proper professional cleaning. Once that is done, you can then start with a "clean slate" and do daily care at home.
Just the Right Combination

Even with the best and most proper care at home, once-a-year professional checkups should be done. Properly caring for your Maltipoo will be a combination of daily care given by you and professional caring given by your trusted veterinarian.

The 1st Step - Preparing- The very 1st step for daily care is to allow your Maltipoo to get used to having his or her teeth touched without fighting you! Do the following:
  • Sit in front of your puppy or dog
  • Choose a command word, such as "Teeth" so that he or she can get used to knowing what will happen when you say a certain word to them
  • Gently rub your fingers all along their teeth, both top and bottom
  • If your Maltipoo remains still for most of this, give them a reward and great praise
  • Do keep in mind that it may take several weeks for your pup or dog to get used to this and sit still for you.
  • As your Maltipoo gets used to this, gradually increase the time that you touch their teeth (3-4 minutes is your goal)
  • Once you are done with this 1st step, brushing their teeth will be much easier
The 2nd Step - It is important to use a toothpaste for canines. Human toothpaste can be poisonous when swallowed...and your Maltipoo will swallow a certain amount of the paste. Once your Maltipoo is trained (The 1st Step), rub along their teeth, but add a bit of the canine toothpaste onto your finger. This will allow your puppy or dog to get used to the taste before you begin with the brush. We've found that pastes flavored with vanilla seem to be favored by Maltipoos.

The 3rd Step - The 3rd step will be to "take things up a notch" by using a dog finger brush. It is a small scrubbing tool that slips over your finger and if a dog is not used to having his teeth brushed, this can be a good 'middle' step. Add a dollop of the canine toothpaste to this and clean around all of the teeth. Be sure to reach the back teeth and the backside of each tooth (not just the front side that can be seen).

The 4th Step - The final step will be to use a high quality dog tooth brush and give your Maltipoo a complete and thorough cleaning each day. 3-sided brushes sized for toy breeds work very well and are able to scrub all 3 visible sides of the teeth in one go.  It is best if you keep a routine (choose a certain time of each day for this). Maltipoo dogs are very intelligent; quickly settling into routines and he or she will become used to having this daily blast of flavor in their mouth.

Some owners prefer to do this at home, others prefer to allow a professional to do this task. Scraping your Maltipoo's teeth is akin to when humans use plaque scrapers at home. 
It is a small tool that fits easily into your puppy or dogs mouth. If choose to do this at home, you simply gently scrape the entire tooth to remove what cannot be removed with the brush alone. It should be done on all sides of each tooth... Many dogs do not sit still for this...And for this reason, many owners choose to leave this to the professionals. If you do this yourself, it can be done about 1 time per month so that there is not too much build up and it is easier to remove. However, if you choose to have a professional do this, it will be done 1 time per year...and your Maltipoo will need to be sedated for the procedure.

Taking care of your Maltipoo's teeth will allow your dog to live longer, eliminating the possibility of painful chewing, tooth loss and potentially deadly infections (not to mention aiding in the removal of "dog breath").
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