Dental Care for Your Shih Poo: Tips and Tricks

As Shih Poo owners, we love our furry companions and want what’s best for them. But often, dental care is overlooked and neglected. This can lead to serious health issues for our dogs. The good news is that there are simple steps we can take to prevent dental problems in our Shih Poos. From regular brushing to healthy diets, there are many ways to keep your pet’s teeth clean and healthy. Let’s explore the importance of dental care and the steps we can take to ensure our furry friends maintain optimal dental health.

The Importance of Dental Care for Shih Poos

The Importance Of Dental Care For Shih Poos
When it comes to the overall health of your Shih Poo, dental care is an important aspect that should not be overlooked. Just like humans, dogs also need proper routine dental care to maintain good oral hygiene. During their lifetime, Shih Poos are prone to developing numerous health issues such as allergies, skin conditions, and sensitivities to name a few. It is important to provide them with the best possible care right from the start. In this part of the article, we will delve further into why dental care is vital for your Shih Poo and the risks of poor dental health.

Why Dental Care Matters

Proper dental care is crucial for the overall health and well-being of Shih Poos. Without proper care, they can suffer from a range of dental problems that can be painful and even lead to more serious health issues. The following table outlines the main reasons why dental care is so important for Shih Poos:

Reasons Why Dental Care Matters for Shih Poos
Prevent Bad Breath
Reduce Risk of Gum Disease
Prevent Tooth Loss
Reduce Risk of Serious Health Issues
Improve Overall Quality of Life

Bad breath can be a result of poor dental hygiene in Shih Poos, just like in humans. Gum disease, including gingivitis and periodontitis, can cause inflammation and pain in the gums, leading to tooth loss. Tooth loss can make it difficult for Shih Poos to eat properly and decrease their quality of life. Dental problems can also increase the risk of more serious health issues such as heart disease and bacterial infections.

With a proper dental care routine, you can reduce the risk of your Shih Poo developing serious health issues. Bacteria from dental problems can travel through the bloodstream and affect other organs in the body, leading to serious health issues like heart and kidney disease. Ensuring your Shih Poo’s dental health is in good shape is an essential aspect of their overall health.

It is crucial to take care of your Shih Poo’s dental health to prevent any dental problems in the future that may cause pain and discomfort. With a proper dental care routine, you can prevent bad breath, gum disease, tooth loss, and reduce the risk of severe health issues.

The Risks of Poor Dental Health

Poor dental health in Shih Poos can lead to serious health risks that can impact their overall wellbeing. Neglecting your Shih Poo’s dental care can lead to problems with their teeth, gums, and even organs. It is essential to work to prevent dental problems before they arise in order to keep your furry friend happy and healthy.

Here are some of the key risks that can arise from poor dental health:

Risks of Poor Dental Health in Shih Poos
Tooth Decay: Without proper care, Shih Poos are at risk of significant tooth decay. Over time, the bacteria in your dog’s mouth can eat away at the enamel of their teeth, leaving them vulnerable to cavities and infections.
Gum Disease: Shih Poos are prone to gum disease, which can cause inflammation and discomfort, and potentially lead to tooth loss.
Breath Odor: Poor dental hygiene can lead to bad breath, which can be a sign of more significant oral or digestive problems.
Organ Failure: Over time, bacteria from your Shih Poo’s mouth can enter their bloodstream and cause problems with their heart, liver, kidneys, and other organs.
Chronic Pain: Dental discomfort and pain can cause changes in your dog’s behavior, including withdrawal, decreased appetite, and irritability.

As with any health issue, prevention is key. By taking steps to address your Shih Poo’s dental hygiene, you can help avoid the risks and keep them healthy and happy. However, if you notice signs of poor dental health in your dog, it is essential to seek professional help from your vet. This might involve a dental cleaning, surgery, or other treatment options depending on the severity of the issue. Additionally, it’s best to regularly visit your vet for check-ups to ensure your Shih Poo is in good health.

Ways to Prevent Dental Problems in Shih Poos

Ways To Prevent Dental Problems In Shih Poos
Taking care of your Shih Poo’s dental health is crucial to keeping them happy and healthy. Preventing dental problems can save your furry friend from a lot of pain and discomfort, and it can also save you money in the long run. There are several steps you can take to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy, and these simple preventative measures can make a world of difference. In this section, we will explore some of the most effective ways to prevent dental problems in Shih Poos. But remember, dental health is just one aspect of your dog’s overall wellbeing. Be sure to read our articles about common health issues, allergies and sensitivities, veterinary check-ups, and skin conditions to ensure your furry friend is healthy and happy in every way.

Regular Brushing

One of the most effective ways to prevent dental problems in Shih Poos is by regularly brushing their teeth. Brushing helps remove plaque and tartar buildup, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Not only will this help keep your furry friend’s teeth healthy, but it also prevents bad breath and saves you from expensive dental bills in the future.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to regular brushing:

  • Choose the right toothbrush: Use a toothbrush specifically designed for dogs with soft bristles. Human toothbrushes are not suitable as they can be too hard and abrasive for a dog’s teeth and gums. A finger brush or a rubber brush that fits on your finger can be a great alternative.
  • Get the right toothpaste: Never use human toothpaste as it can contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs. Instead, use toothpaste specifically made for dogs, which usually comes in flavors like chicken, beef, or liver.
  • Start slow: If your Shih Poo is not used to having their teeth brushed, start by letting them taste and smell the toothpaste. Gradually introduce the toothbrush by allowing them to lick the bristles first. Give plenty of positive reinforcement during and after brushing sessions.
  • Brush regularly: Try to brush your Shih Poo’s teeth at least twice a week, but ideally every day. Brushing for one to two minutes is enough to clean your dog’s teeth and prevent dental problems.
  • Don’t forget the gums: Pay attention to the gum line when brushing, as this is where plaque and tartar tend to accumulate. Gently brush the gum line with the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle.
  • Consider professional cleaning: Even with regular brushing, your Shih Poo may still need professional cleaning every once in a while to remove stubborn plaque and tartar buildup.

Regular brushing can help keep your Shih Poo’s teeth healthy and prevent dental problems. With the right tools and techniques, you can make brushing an enjoyable experience for both you and your furry friend.

Healthy Diet & Treats

A crucial component of preventing dental problems in Shih Poos is through maintaining a healthy diet and providing appropriate treats. A balanced diet not only enhances overall wellness but also ensures that your furry friend’s teeth and gums remain healthy.

Foods to Include:
Include food items that are rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium, which helps strengthen teeth and bones. Consider including lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, and fish, which also provide essential nutrients for teeth health. Introduce foods like carrots which promote chewing and can serve as a natural toothbrush.

Foods to Avoid:
Avoid giving your Shih Poo food items that are high in sugar or refined carbohydrates, as these can contribute to plaque accumulation and tooth decay. Also, avoid feeding your dog bones, which can be a choking hazard and may cause teeth to break or fracture.

Dental Treats:
Apart from the regular diet, consider offering dental treats as a supplement. Dental treats are formulated specifically for promoting oral health, and their abrasive texture helps remove plaque from teeth. Look for reputable brands that have a seal of approval from the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), such as Greenies and Whimzees.

Home-made Treats:
If you prefer a DIY approach, consider making homemade treats. For example, you can freeze sliced apples or sweet potatoes and offer them as a snack. You can also make “toothbrush treats” by mixing coconut oil and baking soda and molding it into a bone shape, great for scrubbing teeth.

Keeping tabs on what your Shih Poo eats can make a big difference in their overall dental health. Remember that a balanced diet and appropriate dental treats can complement other preventative measures such as brushing, regular vet visits, and dental cleanings.

Dental Chews & Toys

One of the most enjoyable ways to keep your Shih Poo’s teeth healthy is by providing them with dental chews and toys. These options not only keep your furry friend occupied but also help keep their teeth clean and strong. Here are some of the dental chews and toys you can give your Shih Poo:

  • Dental Chew Toys: Toys like rubber or nylon dental chew toys not only satisfy your dog’s urge to chew but also scrape the teeth clean. These toys help remove plaque and tartar buildup, ultimately reducing the risk of dental disease. Be sure to choose the appropriate size of toy based on the size of your Shih Poo.
  • Bones: Bones provide a natural way to clean your pet’s teeth. The act of chewing on bones massages their gums and scrapes away plaque, helping prevent tartar buildup. Be sure to choose bones that are the right size and texture for your Shih Poo to prevent any choking hazards.
  • Dental Sticks: Dental sticks are designed with ridges and nubs that help clean the teeth as your dog chews. These sticks are available in various flavors, making them an ideal choice for finicky eaters. However, be sure to choose sticks that are the appropriate size for your Shih Poo to prevent choking.

It’s important to remember that not all dental chews and toys are created equal. Be sure to choose safe and appropriate options that cater to your Shih Poo’s size and chewing habits. Additionally, avoid toys that are too hard as they could cause harm to your pet’s teeth. Incorporating dental chews and toys into your pet’s routine will help promote the health of their teeth and help prevent dental problems.

Regular Vet Visits

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian are crucial for maintaining your Shih Poo’s dental health.

Veterinary examination: At your dog’s regular vet visits, their oral health should also be examined. Your vet can identify potential dental issues before they become more serious, and can recommend a treatment plan accordingly. They may also recommend dental cleaning if necessary.

Vaccinations: Along with dental check-ups, regular veterinary visits ensure that your Shih Poo is up to date on all necessary vaccinations. Vaccinations are an important aspect of a healthy dog’s overall wellness routine.

Weight check: Obesity can lead to many health issues, including dental problems. During your regular vet visits, the veterinarian can check your Shih Poo’s weight to ensure they are maintaining a healthy weight.

Parasite control: Dental problems can also be caused by parasites like fleas and ticks. Regular vet visits can help to ensure that your dog is up to date on their parasite prevention medication.

By scheduling regular vet visits, you can help ensure that your Shih Poo’s oral health is in top condition. Don’t forget to consult with your veterinarian if you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior or dental health between visits.

Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings

One method of preventing dental problems in Shih Poos is through anesthesia-free dental cleanings. While regular brushing and healthy diet are effective, sometimes professional cleaning is needed to remove any built-up plaque or tartar that cannot be removed through brushing alone.

Anesthesia-free dental cleanings are becoming increasingly popular among pet owners who want a safe and stress-free option for their furry friends. This type of cleaning involves cleaning the teeth without the use of anesthesia, which can be risky for some dogs.

The Benefits of Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings:

  1. Reduced risk of complications: Anesthesia can be risky, especially for older dogs or those with underlying health conditions. With anesthesia-free cleanings, the risk of complications is significantly reduced.
  2. Pain-free cleaning: Anesthesia-free cleaning does not require any needles or injections, making it a pain-free option for dogs. Many pet owners prefer this method because it is less stressful for their pets.
  3. More affordable: Professional dental cleanings can be expensive, especially if anesthesia is required. Anesthesia-free cleanings are typically less expensive, making it a more accessible option for pet owners on a budget.
  4. Effective cleaning: Despite not using anesthesia, anesthesia-free cleanings are still an effective way to remove plaque and tartar from a dog’s teeth. This type of cleaning uses special tools and techniques to gently clean the teeth without causing any discomfort to the dog.

The Process of Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings:

During an anesthesia-free dental cleaning, a trained professional will carefully examine the dog’s teeth to identify any problem areas. Then, they will use specialized tools to gently scrape away any plaque or tartar buildup. The teeth will then be polished to help prevent future buildup.

It is important to note that anesthesia-free dental cleanings are not suitable for all dogs, particularly those with severe dental issues or those who are particularly anxious or nervous. In these cases, a traditional dental cleaning with anesthesia may be necessary.

Anesthesia-free dental cleanings can be an effective way to prevent dental problems in Shih Poos, particularly when combined with regular brushing, a healthy diet, and regular vet check-ups. Pet owners should talk to their vet to determine if this cleaning method is right for their furry friend.

Signs of Dental Problems in Shih Poos

Signs Of Dental Problems In Shih Poos
As much as we may try to prevent dental problems in our furry friends, sometimes they can still occur. It’s important for Shih Poo owners to be vigilant and pay attention to any signs of dental problems that may arise. These issues can lead to a myriad of health problems for your pet, so it’s crucial to catch them early. Here are some telltale signs that your Shih Poo may be experiencing dental problems.

Common Dental Problems

Shih Poos, like any other dog, can suffer from various dental problems that can not only cause discomfort but also lead to serious health issues if left untreated. Here are some common dental problems that Shih Poos can face:

Dental ProblemDescription
Periodontal diseaseIt is a bacterial infection that affects the structures around the teeth, including gums, ligaments, and bones. If left untreated, it can cause tooth loss and even affect the overall health of the dog.
Tooth decayIt is the destruction of the outer layer of the tooth, called enamel. It can lead to cavities, tooth pain, and infection if left untreated.
GingivitisIt is the inflammation of the gums due to the buildup of plaque and bacteria. It can cause redness, swelling, and bleeding in the gums.
HalitosisIt is a condition characterized by bad breath. It can be caused by poor dental hygiene, periodontal disease, or other medical conditions.
Broken or chipped teethIt can occur due to trauma or chewing on hard objects. It can cause pain, discomfort, and even infection.

It’s essential to keep an eye on your Shih Poo’s dental health, as these problems can lead to serious consequences if not addressed timely. Regular dental check-ups and maintaining proper dental hygiene can help prevent and address these dental problems for your furry friend.

Signs to Look Out for

As a loving owner of a Shih Poo, it’s important to keep a lookout for any signs of dental problems, especially since they cannot communicate their discomfort with words. Here are some signs that you should look out for:

  • Bad breath: If your furry friend has persistent bad breath, it could indicate an issue in their dental health. Bad breath is one of the most common signs of dental problems in Shih Poos, so make sure to address it immediately.
  • Discolored teeth: Teeth that are yellow, brown, or black may indicate a build-up of plaque and tartar. These can cause inflammation, tooth decay and gum disease, which should not be ignored.
  • Bleeding or red gums: If you see bleeding, red or swollen gums, it is a sign of gum inflammation or gingivitis, and your Shih Poo may need treatment from a vet.
  • Pawing at the mouth: If you notice your furry friend frequently pawing at their mouth or exhibiting discomfort while eating, this is a sign of dental pain, which can be quite severe and requires immediate attention.
  • Loss of appetite: If your Shih Poo is showing reluctance to eat or seems to be struggling while chewing or swallowing, it could be a dental problem that they’re suffering from. You should seek veterinary assistance to identify the cause immediately to avoid further complications.

Prevention is always better than cure, so it’s important to maintain your Shih Poo’s dental health through regular checkups, a healthy diet, and proper dental hygiene at home. However, if any of these signs appear, you should seek veterinary assistance immediately. With timely intervention, dental problems can be resolved with minimal complications.

How to Address Dental Problems in Shih Poos

As much as we strive to prevent dental problems in our beloved Shih Poos, there may still be instances where dental issues arise. In such cases, determining the right course of action is crucial in addressing the problem and promoting overall dental health. While it can be perplexing for pet owners, various treatment options are available to alleviate your furry friend’s discomfort and maintain a healthy smile. Let’s delve deeper into some effective ways to address dental problems in Shih Poos.

Professional Dental Cleaning

When it comes to addressing dental problems in Shih Poos, one of the most effective solutions is professional dental cleaning. While regular brushing and dental chews can help prevent plaque build-up, a professional cleaning can remove any hardened tartar that can lead to more serious dental issues.

During a professional cleaning, a veterinarian or veterinary dentist will use specialized tools to remove any tartar or plaque from your dog’s teeth and gums. This process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of your dog’s dental issues. In some cases, the vet may also use an ultrasonic scaler to gently break up any stubborn tartar.

To ensure that the cleaning is as effective as possible, your dog will need to be put under anesthesia. This may seem daunting, but it’s necessary to ensure that your dog is completely still and comfortable during the cleaning. Before the procedure, your vet will perform a thorough physical exam and blood work to make sure that your dog is healthy enough for anesthesia.

After the cleaning, your dog’s teeth may be polished to remove any residual tartar and to smooth out any rough spots on the teeth. Your dog may also receive an antibacterial treatment to help prevent infection. In some cases, the vet may also recommend dental X-rays to check for any underlying dental issues, such as abscesses or bone loss.

Of course, prevention is always key when it comes to maintaining your dog’s dental health, but if your Shih Poo is already experiencing dental issues, a professional cleaning may be necessary. Be sure to discuss your options with your veterinarian, and ask any questions you may have about the procedure. With proper care and attention, your Shih Poo can enjoy a healthy, happy smile for years to come.

Pros of Professional Dental CleaningCons of Professional Dental Cleaning
Can remove stubborn tartar that regular brushing may not be able to addressRequires anesthesia, which can be concerning for some pet owners
Can help address more serious dental issues before they become major problemsMay be more expensive than regular dental care
Can leave your dog with a clean and fresh-smelling mouthYour dog may need to be monitored carefully after the procedure to ensure that there are no complications

Dental Surgery

When it comes to dental problems in Shih Poos, sometimes surgery may be necessary to address the issue. Dental surgery is generally a last resort and is only recommended when all other options have been exhausted.

Types of Dental Surgery:

Type of SurgeryDescription
ExtractionRemoval of a diseased or damaged tooth. This is typically done when the tooth cannot be saved through other means, such as a root canal.
GingivectomyRemoval of diseased or infected gum tissue.
Root CanalRepairs and saves a damaged or infected tooth instead of removing it.
Crown LengtheningReshaping of the gum and bone tissue to expose more of the tooth. This is often done before a crown is placed on the tooth.

It is important to note that dental surgery can be a bit invasive and may require some recovery time for your Shih Poo. It is important to follow your vet’s post-operative instructions carefully to ensure a smooth recovery process.

In some cases, dental surgery may be preventable with proper dental care and regular check-ups. Maintaining a regular dental care routine, including brushing their teeth regularly and providing dental chews and toys, can help prevent dental problems from developing. However, if surgery becomes necessary, it is important to discuss all options with your veterinarian and follow their recommendations for your Shih Poo’s overall health and well-being.

Other Treatment Options

While professional dental cleaning and dental surgery are the most common treatment options for shih poos with dental problems, there are other options available as well. These options may not always be recommended, as their effectiveness can vary based on the specific dental issue and the severity of the problem. Nonetheless, they are worthy of consideration and discussion with your veterinarian.

Some other treatment options to consider include:

  • Antibiotics: If your shih poo has an infection in their mouth, antibiotics may be prescribed to clear up the infection. Antibiotics are often given alongside other treatments like dental cleaning and are not usually used as a single treatment option.
  • Oral rinses: An oral rinse containing chlorhexidine can be used to help reduce bacteria in the mouth and improve overall oral health. This type of rinse is often prescribed alongside other treatments like professional dental cleaning.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics can help improve your shih poo’s overall oral health by promoting the growth of good bacteria in their mouth. This can help to reduce bad breath and prevent future dental problems. It’s important to discuss the use of probiotics with your veterinarian to determine if they are right for your shih poo and what type of probiotics to use.
  • Dietary changes: If your shih poo’s dental problems are caused by their diet, a change in diet may be recommended. Your veterinarian may suggest a special dental diet or specific treats that are designed to improve oral health.
  • Homeopathic remedies: Some homeopathic remedies are believed to help improve oral health, such as echinacea, goldenseal, and calendula. While the effectiveness of these remedies is not scientifically proven, they may be worth considering alongside other treatment options.

Remember, the best way to prevent dental problems in your shih poo is by following regular dental care practices, such as brushing their teeth regularly, providing healthy treats, and scheduling regular visits to the veterinarian. However, if your shih poo is already experiencing dental problems, it’s important to discuss all treatment options with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your furry friend.


In conclusion, taking care of your Shih Poo’s dental health is crucial for their overall well-being. Neglecting dental care can lead to serious health problems such as gum disease, infections, and even tooth loss. Regular brushing, a healthy diet, dental chews and toys, regular vet visits, and anesthesia-free dental cleanings are all effective ways to prevent dental problems in your Shih Poo.

It’s important to be vigilant for signs of dental problems in your Shih Poo, such as bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums, loose teeth, or difficulty chewing. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to seek professional dental care.

Professional dental cleaning and dental surgery are among the treatment options available for Shih Poos with dental problems. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for your dog’s specific needs.

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to your Shih Poo’s dental health. By taking the necessary steps to care for their teeth and gums, you can help ensure they live a happy, healthy life. So, make dental care a part of your routine and enjoy many years of happy, healthy smiles with your furry friend.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often should I brush my Shih Poo’s teeth?

You should aim to brush your Shih Poo’s teeth at least two to three times per week.

2. What kind of toothbrush and toothpaste should I use?

Use a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for dogs and a toothpaste made specifically for dogs, as human toothpaste can be harmful to them.

3. Can I use dental chews as a substitute for brushing my Shih Poo’s teeth?

No, dental chews should be used as a supplement to regular brushing and not as a substitute.

4. How can I tell if my Shih Poo has dental problems?

Signs of dental problems in Shih Poos include bad breath, yellow or brown teeth, bleeding or swollen gums, and reluctance to eat or chew.

5. Is anesthesia-free dental cleaning safe for my Shih Poo?

While anesthesia-free dental cleaning can be effective, it also has risks and is not recommended as a sole method of dental cleaning for all dogs.

6. What kind of diet is best for my Shih Poo’s dental health?

Feeding your Shih Poo a diet that includes high-quality protein and avoids sugary and starchy foods can help maintain their oral health.

7. How often should my Shih Poo visit the vet for dental check-ups?

Your Shih Poo should have a dental examination and cleaning at least once a year.

8. Can dental problems in Shih Poos lead to other health problems?

Yes, dental problems in dogs have been linked to other health issues such as heart disease and kidney problems.

9. What should I do if my Shih Poo is afraid of having their teeth brushed?

Start slowly and try using a flavored toothpaste to make the experience more enjoyable. You can also try using dental wipes or pads as an alternative.

10. Are there any natural remedies for maintaining my Shih Poo’s dental health?

Some natural remedies such as coconut oil and parsley can help freshen your Shih Poo’s breath and promote healthy teeth and gums.


Britta Thygesen

Britta Thygesen

A passionate dog owner and a full-time certified dog trainer. Aspires to make DogCareHacks a go-to place for all the doggo info. Shares personal experience and professional knowledge.

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