I have owned a Whippet for over 12 years and unfortunately had to learn the hard way how to properly care for a Whippet’s teeth. My first Whippet had horrible teeth and finally died shortly after an invasive scraping at the vet’s office. With proper daily preventive care, Whippet’s can live a long and healthy life without periodontal disease.
First, we must understand why Whippets and other hounds like Greyhounds and Salukis have bad teeth. The long muzzle of these wonderful dogs can sometimes block proper oxygen flow to the back teeth. This allows plaque to turn into tartar and mineralize on the dog’s teeth. Over time, these deposits penetrate the gums and cause damage. If left unattended, your whippet’s internal organs can weaken over time. For example, liver and kidney function can be impaired as over time they are working to process excess bacteria from decaying teeth.
With that said, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure you have healthy teeth.
- Brushing Every Day – This seems like a big hassle, but it only takes 4-5 days for plaque to start turning into tartar. I prefer to buy chicken-flavored gauze and toothpaste. Every morning I just rub my dog’s teeth for 10-20 seconds. That is all that is required for brushing to keep your dog healthy.
- Provide Chew Toys – Squishy toys are a lot of fun for dogs, but you should consider adding nylon dental bones or hard rubber toys to your dog’s toy box. Most dogs love them and if they chew for 20 minutes a day they can remove most of the plaque on their own.
- Provide Real Bones – Giving your dog real bones with some meat can still do wonders for his teeth. Every dog loves real bones. This is my preferred method as my dog doesn’t chew on the rubber bones enough to do good. I like to wear beef hats and hip bones that you can buy at most food or pet stores. If you buy the bones with meat still, make sure you don’t let your dog chew them on the white carpet.
- Use water additives – There are many commercial water additives that you can add to your dog’s water bowl on a daily basis that will help reduce plaque and keep his breath fresh and clean. These additives are similar to human mouthwashes.
There you go. With these simple tips, your dog can literally live years longer. More than 80% of dogs older than 4 years have some type of oral disease. This can be avoided by taking simple measures. You need to remember to keep up with these things every day because it doesn’t take long for tartar to form. If your dog already has mineralized tartar buildup, you can try beef caps for about a month. In that time, I would give them about 20 bones. If this method doesn’t work, you should talk to your vet about a teeth cleaning.