Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are subject to plaque and gum disease just as humans are. Without a regular regimen of cleaning your dog’s teeth, you may be exposing your pet to more than just bad breath and periodontal disease. Bacteria in your dog’s mouth can be picked up in the bloodstream, resulting in heart and kidney problems and infections in other areas of the body.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies are born without teeth. Their puppy teeth begin to fill in at about 5 weeks of age and will be replaced by their adult teeth at around 4 months old. Cavalier Spaniel puppies tend to swallow their puppy teeth (which is rarely harmful).
Your Veterinarian will perform an oral examination during your pet’s annual check up and can give you a few tips on how to care for your Cavalier Spaniel’s mouth and teeth. Once their adult teeth are established, begin to brush your Cavalier King Charles Spaniels teeth at home several times a week.
Brushing your dog’s teeth at home
Ask your vet or pet supply store for flavored toothpaste suitable for dogs. Do not use human toothpaste! It can make your Cavalier sick.
Choose a regular time of day for brushing your dog’s teeth and be sure to accompany the experience with lots of praise and perhaps a treat when you’re done.
Let your Cavalier lick a little bit of the toothpaste off your finger to learn that he’ll enjoy the taste.
With a dab of toothpaste on your finger, run your finger along the gum line, moving your finger as if it was a toothbrush. You may need to place your free hand on top of your dog’s muzzle to hold his head steady as you insert your finger into his mouth.
Some pet owners like to use a commercial “finger brush” as the next step in the progression. These are little rubber sleeves you can buy at most pet stores that slip over your index finger and have a short bristle pad on one side. Putting a little toothpaste on the bristle pad, slide your finger – with the finger brush on – into your pet’s mouth and move along the teeth.
Eventually, introduce a soft bristled toothbrush to your Cavalier King Charles. A human toothbrush is fine, as long as it has soft bristles, or you can get a pet toothbrush from your Vet or local pet store. Use the index finger of your free hand to gently pull your pet’s lips or cheek aside, in order to allow space for you to slide the toothbrush into his mouth. Start by cleaning the front incisors and, as your pet become familiar with the process, move along the sides to the back teeth, eventually brushing the entire mouth.
In addition to brushing, good quality chews are helpful to maintaining your Cavalier’s dental health. Avoid rawhide chews, “Greenies”, and commercial products that contain artificial colors or ingredients. I gave Bentley Life’s Abundance Gourmet Dental Treats and Pork-hide Bones. Pork-hide products are more digestible than rawhide chews.
Professional dental cleaning
Periodically, your Veterinarian may recommend a professional cleaning for your Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s teeth. Professional cleaning can be expensive, and is performed under general anesthetic, but it may be necessary if your at-home dental care has not adequately prevented tartar build up and gingivitis.