and Dental Care
by Diane Finch, Finch's
breed dogs’ teeth and dental care are not the same as the
larger breeds. Toy
breeds do not always loose their baby teeth so they must be
pulled and they need to be pulled at the appropriate time
experience has taught me that few vets are knowledgeable about
canine dentistry (only 6 board certified in canine dentristy
Toy breeds seem to present a few more challenges.
toy breeds lower jaw grows faster than the upper jaw.
This causes the bite to go undershot (the lower teeth
protrude beyond the upper teeth – a reverse scissor bite or
worse). A scissor
bite is a “man-made” bite and the even bite is a natural
bite. So according
to one of the six board certified vets in canine dentistry, we
have created our own problems with bites/teeth.
a bite on a 12 week old puppy seems to be going off – (1)
undershot; (2) overshot; or wry mouth*, the appropriate teeth
need to be removed –
either upper and lower jaw or the teeth in the jaw that are
binding (i.e., if the bite is undershot, then remove the upper
jaw teeth; if the bite is overshot, remove the lower jaw teeth;
if the bite is wry, the canines should be removed because they
are locking in place the way the teeth are coming in.
Removing those baby teeth allow the adults to come down
into place like they should.
Because toy breed dogs seem to have those baby teeth
anchored in so tight, they often mess up a bite severely.
Baby teeth can make adult teeth come out making the teeth
more forward (almost horizontal**) rather than straight up and
down (vertical) and can cause the permanent adult teeth to
appear inside the parameters of the teeth line (almost roof of
the appropriate teeth of a questionable bite at 10 to 12 weeks
of age. Remove
appropriate teeth anytime and as soon as you see a bite starting
to go off and certainly all baby teeth should be out by 6 months
of age. The canine
teeth don’t normally come out till the dog is 9 months of age
but if the bite looks like it is off, the proper jaw’s canines
should be removed.
remember that if you do not remove baby teeth, it is not
uncommon for the bite to go undershot since the lower jaw
naturally grows faster than the upper jaw – sometimes it takes
up to a year and sometimes a year and a half to correct on
it’s own. If the
dog is a valuable show dog, you run a risk of a messed up bite
if you do nothing or your vet doesn’t know what to do or
advises you to just watch the bite.
It is safer to pull the teeth at the appropriate times.
A vet using isoflorine is
best and no other medication and one that can keep small kittens
alive during surgery is what you need to find to do your dental
work on toy breeds. If
a vet says he/she is an expert on canine dentistry, ask to see
board certification for having received education in this
specific field and check to see if that expertise also includes
experience with toy breeds.
information on as what I have learned the hard way and
it has taken me years to learn it through trial and error (way
too many errors) so that you will not have to learn the hard way
as I have and you will save many wonderful puppies that would
have been lost as stars in the show ring.
the bite is a wry mouth, that is considered a “severe”
problem and all the baby teeth on that side need to be pulled
– even the back teeth. In
slight under or over bites, remove only the front teeth and
certainly remove the baby canines if they are binding any
incorrect bite because they don’t normally come out on their
own (if they come out at all) till 9 months of age.
If the over or under bite is severe (quite a wide gap),
then remove all the teeth in the appropriate jaw.
the bite is almost horizontal or “parrot bite,” you may have
a depletion (leeching) of the calcium from the bones
(particularly noticeable in the extremities and teeth) going on
in your puppy. Feeding
a balance (I stress BALANCE) of calcium/phosphorus and getting
the baby teeth out (all of them because this is a severe
condition) will correct that bite if the dog had a correct bite
at 8 weeks (young puppy). I
give OsteoForm from ages 3 - 4
months to 9 months or longer and it is especially necessary in
puppies who have big growth spurts.