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The Special Care Needs Of A Shih Tzu

One of the down sides of having a short snouted dog is the commonality of gingivitis and other gum diseases that comes from this type of  tooth formation.  As a matter of fact, a Shih Tzu is not alone in this problem, many other short snouted dogs (also referred to as Brachycephalic), are at an increased risk of developing gum disease, tooth infections and suffer possible tooth loss as a result.

This issue goes farther back than just having a dog with a smelly face or even loosing teeth, tooth infections may actually make the dog quite sick and may even result in death.  Even low-level infections from long term dental decay can lead to health issues such as a decreased immune system and overall energy.

It is hard to find your Shih Tzu materials to chew on that will not result in jaw problems or even cracked teeth.  The best way to handle this problem is to make sure the dog has regular tooth brushing and a trip to the vet to remove plaque and tartar buildup on a regular basis.  Even a dog that is a year or two old can have enough tartar on their teeth to cause early stage tooth decay.

Because tartar build up is the main reason for tooth decay in Shih Tzus, it is important to take note of how much hard tartar builds up on the teeth and how much attention is necessary to alleviate the problem.  If you can personally scale the dogs teeth yourself, it is a good idea, otherwise it is necessary to take the dog to the vet and get the teeth professionally cleaned much like you would at your own dentist, except with a higher dosage of sedatives.

Once the teeth are cleaned and tartar has been removed, you may use a soft cloth and a mixture of baking soda and salt to keep the buildup to a minimum.  Essential oils are used to make this mixture palatable for human beings, and there are many essential oils that actually have antibacterial qualities, such as tea tree oil.  There are also plastic brushes that fit over the tip of your finger which are a great tool to use for cleaning a dogs teeth, you can use whatever method is most comfortable for you and your pet.  A daily brushing after eating will work wonders for the condition of the teeth, the breath and your dogs outlook.

Fleas are another big problem that owners of long-haired dogs have to contend with.  There are traditional flea treatments on the market, but more and more people are growing concerned with using pesticides in the same environment inhabited by their pet and themselves, so many people have gone on to use a sub-dermal flea killer and deterrent methods.

Any type of  flea treatment should be used under the care and supervision of a veterinarian, some breeds have very sensitive skin and do not respond well to these kinds of medications.  Also, do not purchase a cheaper imitation version of these medications which are sometimes sold at pet stores.  These imitation medications have been known to cause severe and  sometimes even fatal reactions in some Shih Tzus and other dogs.
About Author John P Jackson :

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Article Added on Wednesday, July 15, 2009
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