We recently had a younger dog come in to be neutered. The owners had waited until he was a year and a half old before going through with the neuter. The waiting in itself was not an issue, what did cause the issue was some of his retained baby teeth. Most dogs (just like people) will lose the majority of their baby teeth within the first 6 months of their lifetime. This is one of the reasons we always recommend waiting until approximately 6 months old for a spay or neuter. This pup, we’ll call him Rover had developed an infection because of his retained baby teeth. His adult teeth had come out but the baby teeth remained which created a pocket for little bits of food to get caught in. This little pocket caused inflammation and tarter build up and actually started to negatively impact the health of his adult tooth as well.
To amend this issue we extracted the retained, baby tooth and left the rest of his healthy teeth alone.
So how do you prevent a repeat of this?
Firstly KNOW YOUR BREED! All dogs have the same number of teeth! Smaller breed dogs have much smaller mouths and end up having a whole lot of teeth crammed into a teeny tiny space. This makes them much more likely to develop dental issues much earlier in life over their larger breed brethren.
Secondly – Brush your puppies’ teeth! Early brushing helps get your puppy used to having a toothbrush in their mouth. You can even get a finger brush that allows you to run your fingers along their teeth (with pet specific toothpaste) until you can graduate to a toothbrush. Pet Toothpaste come in a variety of flavours and types, you can get enzymatic toothpastes that clean on contact so even just rubbing some in their mouths can help. Toothpaste flavours come in a variety of flavours, ranging from beef to vanilla mint.
Thirdly – Do routine checks on their teeth. If you’re ever concerned about baby teeth being retained give us a call, we’d be more then happy to help you identify them or have a technician take a quick look! This is especially important if you’ll be waiting to spay/neuter until they’re a bit older.
Written by Sunrise Animal Hospital