Like other small breeds, Italian Greyhounds are prone to dental diseases. However, if you take good care of your Italian Greyhound’s teeth, health issues can be prevented. So an Italian Greyhound is only the right breed for you if you are willing to brush your dog’s teeth regularly.
In this post you will learn everything you need to know about this topic. Why is dental hygiene so important, how often do you need to brush your Iggy’s teeth and how does it work? Let’s jump right in.
Why Is Brushing Teeth so Important for Italian Greyhounds?
While Iggies are generally a very healthy breed, there are health issues amongst the breed with dental diseases like periodontal disease and inflammation of the gums being one of them.
You will often see a senior Iggy with their tongue hanging out of their mouth because they have already lost most of their teeth. While some Italian Greyhounds just have genetically bad teeth, in many cases it’s the owners’ fault because they just didn’t take dental hygiene seriously enough.
Of course you can get a professional dental cleaning for your dog but this should never be the reason not to clean your dog’s teeth. Those can be quite costly and you want to avoid having to put your dog under anesthesia as it’s always a major risk for sighthounds, especially for Italian Greyhounds, because of their low body fat.
To avoid dental diseases (and a smelly breath 🙂 ) you should brush your Italian Greyhound’s teeth regularly. It’s not expensive at all and if your dog is used to it’s no big deal either.
How Often Do You Need to Brush Your Italian Greyhound’s Teeth?
There is no general answer to this question. The more the better! But it really depends on your dog. For some dogs it will be enough to brush their teeth once a week, others need to have their teeth brushed daily for excellent oral health.
As a rule of thumb: If they are forming tartar, you need to brush their teeth more often. Daily is ideal but once a week is better than not cleaning their teeth at all.
We make sure to brush Nello’s teeth at least once a week. In addition, we feed him a chew every now and then to help with keeping his teeth clean. But you should know that dental chews can only help to maintain good dental hygiene but will not substitute regular brushing.
What You’ll Need to Clean Your Italian Greyhound’s Teeth – The Basics
- Toothbrush – It doesn’t really matter which type you get. We recommend getting a children’s toothbrush because it’s soft and cheaper than toothbrushes for dogs – and will work just fine. We don’t recommend finger brushes as they are generally too big to fit in an Iggy’s tiny mouth.
- Canine Toothpaste – Make sure you buy a canine toothpaste as human ones have ingredients that aren’t very good for dogs.
- Dental Tartar Scraping Tool – A scraping tool is optional and should only be used if your dog holds really still and you know what you are doing.
1. Get Your Iggy Used to the Toothbrush
It’s important to start your training early even when they still have puppy teeth so they get used to it. Start by only touching their mouth and teeth with your fingers.
Then slowly introduce the toothbrush to them but remember to make it fun so they associate the brush with something good.
Show them the brush, gently lift their lips and touch the gums with it. Allow them to play with the brush and chew on it. No pressure! Their puppy teeth will fall out anyway so you really can’t do anything wrong.
Note: Teething normally starts around the age of 4 to 5 months and will take around 1,5 to 2 months. It’s quite common in Iggies that the canines (the pointed teeth that sit on each side at the front of the mouth) won’t fall out on their own. In this case you need to see a vet to have them pulled to avoid misaligned teeth.
2. Start Brushing
Make sure your Iggy is in a relaxed and still position. For some Iggies it works best when they are placed on their back on the lap of their owner, for others it’s fine to have them sitting on your lap against your chest using your arms and shoulder to keep them in place.
Once they are used to the toothbrush and placed in a comfortable position, you can start with actually brushing their teeth. Take it slow and tooth by tooth.
Take your time and don’t stop when they are protesting! This way they will only learn that protest helps them get their way.
3. Scrape Off Tartar with a Dental Scraper (Optional)
If you want, you can also use a dental scraper to scrape off tartar. But be careful: Only do this if your dog holds super still and if you know what you are doing. Otherwise you might only harm your dog.
To seal the enamel and prevent a quicker plaque build up, scaling should always be followed by an application of polish.
Conclusion on Cleaning Italian Greyhound Teeth – The More the Better!
Brushing your Italian Greyhound’s teeth regularly is super important if you want a healthy and happy pup. Start getting your Iggy used to it as early as possible and establish a routine. Your Italian Greyhound will probably never be a huge fan of it but they will learn to accept it.