Tartar in dogs can be recognized by small, brownish spots. This is plaque that mainly consists of phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. They are caused by the attachment of normal bacteria to the teeth. These store magnesium and thus initiate the formation of tartar.
When Does Tartar Form?
Tartar is favored by many factors. The following list gives an overview of factors that have an influence on the formation of tartar:
- Genetics: A dog’s genetic make-up largely determines the formation of tartar. It’s similar to humans: some dogs don’t have any problems, while another dog has a lot of tartar from a young age.
- Saliva: The composition of saliva can vary from dog to dog. There are various enzymes in saliva that can influence tartar formation.
- pH value in the oral cavity: The pH value provides information about how acidic the oral cavity is. This also influences the formation of tartar.
- Feed: The content and consistency of the feed can prevent or promote tartar.
- Jaw shape: in narrow and narrow jaws, as well as closely spaced teeth, food residues and bacteria are more likely to be deposited, which can then turn into tartar.
So which dogs are among those most at risk? Unfortunately, since genetics is a strong factor, it’s not possible to make a blanket statement. However, there are some clues. Small dogs, for example, have more problems than larger dogs due to their small, narrow jaws. Certain breeds with narrow, long muzzles (Poodles and Dachshunds) or narrow teeth (Maltese, Yorkshire Terrier) are also particularly susceptible. In general, you can tell relatively early in a dog’s life how prone it is to tartar.
Is Tartar Generally Bad for Dogs?
Tartar in small amounts is not dangerous. A little tartar in the dog is normal and does not cause him any problems. With very strong tartar, the rest of the oral cavity is also affected and secondary diseases can develop. It is, therefore, best to check the tartar build-up from time to time and, if in doubt, ask the veterinarian.
When Does it Become Dangerous?
But what is dangerous about tartar? As the video below shows, tartar can cause various types of inflammation in the dog’s oral cavity. Harmful bacteria are involved in this. If damage to the gums causes a tooth to fall out, the bacteria travel through the blood to the rest of the body. This can result in severe inflammation of the internal organs.
How Can you Prevent Tartar in Dogs?
So what can be done to prevent the dog from getting so much tartar in the first place? Diet is of course a particularly important factor. Both the content and the form of administration are important here. Similar to humans, high sugar content in the food is bad for the dog’s teeth. Caution: A high proportion of grain is also dangerous since grain consists mainly of starch, i.e. long-chain sugar. Particularly sensitive dogs should therefore be fed grain-free food.
Dry food, wet food, or BARF for tartar?
There are roughly three types of dosage forms: dry food, wet food, and BARF. There are currently no studies on whether dry food or wet food is better for the teeth. The prevailing opinion is that dry food has to be chewed and this cleans the teeth. However, this argument is weak because kibble breaks down quickly and only a small number of teeth are involved in the chewing process. Wet food, on the other hand, is often generally of higher quality and thus contributes to the overall health of the dog and thus also to a good (bacterial) flora in the mouth. It is therefore advisable to choose high-quality wet food.
The best alternative, however, is BARF (biologically appropriate raw meat feeding). The teeth are cleaned in the same way as wolves are cleaned with the most species-appropriate nutrition possible, which is based on the natural food of dogs and wolves. By laborious tearing off, chewing, and gnawing. If a whole BARF diet is too exhausting for you, you should treat your dog to a bone with meat from time to time. The teeth are cleaned as a result of the intensive eating work and the dog has a lot of fun at the same time!