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Please bear in mind when reading topics pertaining to health issues, that most of these questions were answered by helpful Maltese owners with no formal education in veterinary medicine. When in doubt seek a professionals advise.
Archived Message
Tooth Brushing
by Larry Mabbitt

Tooth Brushing I talked to a friend who had a Maltese that lived for 19 years (or so she says) and she said one of the most important health matters for a Maltese is keeping its teeth brushed. "Tooth brush or not tooth brush, that is the question." What kind? Is she putting me on?? What do you guys do?
Larry - The question of whether or not you pet will live to be 19 because of good oral health I don't think is accurate. However, it is a good idea to brush their teeth because if you let it go and don't get cleanings at least yearly it can cause problems. My last Maltese didn't have her teeth brushed and I wound up having to have them cleaned by the Vet yearly and eventually almost every 6 months. With my new baby girl (she's 6 mos.) I'm about to start trying as it is important. They make special doggy toothpaste and have a finger brush to start with until they get used to it and then another special toothbrush for when they allow you to brush. Hopefully, I'm starting early enough and won't have much of a problem.
Robin D.
Dental health is very important for maltese longevity. All sorts of ills, including kidney disease, can arise from poor dental health. Your maltese should have its teeth cleaned regularly by your vet. There is special doggy toothpast you can buy as well as doggy toothbrushes. I have used both a finger brush as well as a people-type brush. You should not use people toothpaste as it can cause problmes in dogs. Recently, I have begun giving Hills Tartar Control Dog Biscuits as a treat. My vet advises this will take the place of brushing. I am somewhat skeptical and brush anyway, although not quite as regularly. Hope this helps!
Karen B.
Larry, Toothbrushing is important for any dog and we can't rely on being able to have their teeth professionally cleaned once a year. They have to be anesthetized, that's not great, plus in their Senior years a possible health problem may arise when it will be dangerous to put them under. So, as you can see, it's best to use an ounce of prevention. My dog cannot go under again. He's 14 1/2 and it's too risky. I still brush his teeth. I place a soft towel on my counter, lay him on one side, speaking softly, do that side and turn him over. It takes very little time. I use a doggie toothbrush and doggie toothpaste.
Larry, I started brushing Snowy's teeth since he was 12 weeks old. He is now 6 months old. Because I started early, he got used to the idea and runs up to me to get his teeth brushed every morning when I brush mine. I use children's tooth brush but have yet to start on the tooth paste. Snowy doesn't seem so keen to get his teeth brush recently but I think it is because of him losing his baby teeth. Yeah, I have managed to brush one off!!
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