About Mastiffs > Dental Hygiene

American Mastiff puppies need to chew while their teeth and jaws are developing for a variety of reasons. Chewing helps cut the baby teeth, makes sure they are shed at the right time, and helps cut and settle the permanent teeth in the jaws. It also helps the development of the jaws. Most dogs have all 42 permanent teeth by the time they reach seven months old. When an adult dog chews it is for different reasons. It may be cleaning his teeth or perhaps just exercising its jaws. It is a good idea to have some chew toys available for your dog, otherwise it may begin chewing on some valuable items. Make sure that there is nothing dangerous that it can chew on.

Dental care is an area of a American Mastiff’s care that should not be overlooked. You may want to have your veterinarian show you how to do this the first time. Your dogs teeth should be brushed daily, although some flossing "toys" are just as effective. Unlike humans, cavities are practically unheard of in dogs; however, they have a more rapid accumulation of tartar, which can result in infection or a loss of teeth.

Your butcher or pet store will be a good source for strong natural bones. However, natural bones may wear down the dog’s teeth; so they should be used periodically. Also, avoid feeding your dog small bones; they could swallow the broken pieces which could result in surgery or death. Some rawhide chews contain lead, insecticides, or other foreign matter that may contribute to constipation in your dog. Consult your veterinarian before introducing rawhides to your dog.

One of the safest and complete solutions to your dog’s chewing needs is the nylon chews. Some are enhanced with bone and natural meat flavors. While chewing on the nylon bone, the dog’s gums get massaged and teeth get cleaned. If tiny portions are swallowed, they usually pass through the intestine without disturbing the digestive process. Nylon chews should be kept indoors because they may become brittle and may splinter when exposed to freezing temperatures. They are not abrasive like natural bones; therefore, they do to break down the enamel on the teeth. Nylon chews can also be sterilized; boil it for 30 minutes and allow it to cool completely before giving it to your dog. Be aware of imitations; ask your veterinarian to recommend a good quality nylon chew.

Consistent maintenance and prevention are the keys to promoting healthy teeth and gums. Your American Mastiff should be checked and its teeth cleaned by a veterinarian at least once a year.

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