Ask a Vet: The Teeth of the Maltese and Holiday Pet Sitting Tips


Welcome to our weekly 'Ask a Vet from the SF SPCA' feature on They've enlisted their Interim Co-President, Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, to answer your questions every Thursday. Got a question for Dr. Scarlett? Ask away in the comments!

Q: My Maltese Buddy has terrible problems with his teeth. He has already had several teeth pulled. I feel like I've tried everything - regular cleanings, rinses, brushing. Is there anything else I can do to help him save his teeth?
A: The Maltese, also known as the “mal-teeth”, are lovely companion dogs but well-known for their dental disease.  Unfortunately, many small dogs and their teeth are soon parted.  One reason is the disproportionate tooth-to-bone size.  Because there isn’t as much jaw bone in these delicate little breeds, any additional bone loss due to tartar and plaque build-up can be devastating.  To make matters worse, many small breed dogs have varying degrees of mal-occlusion; the teeth don’t match up normally, resulting in abnormal build-up of plaque and tartar which leads to periodontal disease.  Although I don’t know the full extent of your pup’s dental disease, I’m willing to bet by continuing to decrease plaque and tartar build-up through brushing and rinsing your pup’s teeth, you are slowing and maybe even preventing further dental disease.

Holiday Pet Care
With the holidays coming up, we get a lot of questions about pet safety, pet sitting and boarding.  Here’s a little bit of info for you, but if you want any more detailed answers, please call us or check in with us on twitter on Wednesday’s “Ask the Vet” @sfspca

Basic Holiday Safety Tips

Pet Sitting and Boarding Resources

While we can’t answer all of the questions here, please feel free to ask us during our Wednesday Twitter Ask the Vet Chat.  If your animal’s problem is of an immediate nature, please call your vet or you can reach the SF SPCA at 415-554-3030 to make an appointment.

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