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Dental Care

Boxer Teeth

When an owner does not follow a daily dental care routine for their Boxer dog, that dog can develop a huge number of health problems. 

The most common are:
  • Toxin absorption into the dog’s blood stream 
  • Bacterial infections 
  • Abcess teeth – that leads to a dog having problems eating 
  • Bacterial Endocardtis – a very serious canine health issue in which bacteria from the teeth find their way into a dog’s heart 
  • Kidney damage 
  • Joint problems 
Learn how to take care of your Boxer's teeth and how to train your dog to let you do it!
Boxer dog having teeth brushed
Are Boxer Teeth Unique in Comparison to Other Breeds? 

We hear this question a lot.

They do appear to be different....However, the difference is actually in the jaw structure of this breed and how the jaw sits. Per breed standards, the bite is undershot. This is a desired trait and proper breeding is done to preserve this element of the Boxer's appearance. 

This means that the lower jaw juts out a bit past the upper jaw. As it does, it curves slightly upward. This gives the Boxer its distinct look....

And because of this unique facial structure, one may assume that the Boxer teeth themselves are different in structure.
Now, with this being said, an adult Boxer has the same set of teeth as any other medium to large breed dog:
  • Newborns are born with no teeth at all. They are present under the gums but at birth, have not erupted yet.
  • By the age of 6 week, most of the milk teeth will be there. There will be 6 incisors (the front ones) on both the top and the bottom for a total of 12. To the sides of the incisors will be the premolars, 3 on each side, on both top and bottom. There will be Boxer teeth 28 in total for the puppy.
  • Teething begins when the milk teeth fall out and are replaced by canines (adult, permanent Boxer teeth). This phase happens at approximately 5 months of age, but there can be early bloomers (4 months) or late bloomers (7-8 months). If a puppy has not begun to lose their milk teeth by the age of 7 months, it is strongly recommended to have a veterinarian perform a dental check to look for potential issues that would be preventing this natural stage in the Boxer's teeth.
  • Once all of the Boxer's teeth have broken through the gums, the adult will have a set of 42. There will be 6 incisors on the top and another 6 on the bottom as before, but of course, these will be larger to accommodate the larger jaw. There will be 4 premolars (as opposed to 3) on both top and bottom.
  • Additional Boxer teeth for the adult dog will be the molars. There will be 2 on each side on the top...And 3 on each side on the bottom of the dog's mouth. The total will be 42.
  • The 4th premolar on the top and the 1st molar on the bottom combine to create what is called the Carnassial teeth. This is the term given to these particular Boxer teeth which are the largest of all and work well to slice through food
Yellow, Decayed or "Rotten" Teeth

Some owners become concerned when they realize that their Boxer's teeth do not look healthy. The color may be yellow, the gums may bleed, teeth may be crooked....and sometimes they can appear to be rotted. This can all be attributed to poor dental care or a complete lack of dental care.

Sadly, this is sometimes not noticed until it is too late. At this point, teeth may need to be pulled and medication given to clear up infections (which can spread to other areas of the body). Before and even after these procedures, eating and chewing can be impaired. 

The best method to make sure that the teeth of a Boxer stay clean, straight and healthy is to provide DAILY dental care at home....And to allow for 1 professional cleaning 1 time per year. It only takes a few minutes to perform this element of grooming and makes a HUGE difference in the health and appearance of the Boxer.
When Should Dental Care Begin?
 
Dental care for Boxer dogs should begin from the day that you bring your dog into your family. There is no age in which a Boxer dog is not vulnerable to canine tooth decay.

What is the difference between human tooth care and dog tooth care?

With dogs, very few will ever get cavities. However, it is plague, tarter and bacteria build up that can cause serious health problems.

Doesn't a dog clean their teeth when they chew on bones?

No. This is a common misconception. Some dog treats and some dog toys will help clean a dog's teeth a bit, by loosening plague. They will not clean the teeth enough to prevent eventual infection and decay. Dogs can develop some pretty serious ailments if they do not receive these regular brushings. 

Some chews work to scrape the teeth to a certain degree. This is good for your Boxer dog, but not enough. For excellent oral health, daily care must be taken to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy. This routine should be as normal as taking your dog for a walk or feeding him dinner.

Won't it take up too much time to keep cleaning my Boxer dog's teeth?

Once a dog is trained to sit nice, this will only take about 5 minutes per day and can save your dog's life. Once you fall into a normal schedule, this should become as natural as any other grooming or care element.

What do I do if my Boxer hates having his teeth cleaned?

Not to worry. With repetition, just about every dog can be trained to sit nice while you brush his teeth just like dogs learn to sit for grooming of the coat. All this takes is your effort to not give up on doing this task and allow your dog a week or so to become used to it.

Before you begin, some things to remember:
  • Never use human toothpaste. Canine specific toothpaste is not a marketing scheme or an unnecessary product. Human tooth paste is dangerous to dogs. Because so much of the paste can be swallowed, the build up on ingested ingredients can be toxic. While smaller breeds would be more likely to become ill...even a large Boxer could. Do not take a chance with your Boxer's health and please purchase a high-quality canine toothpaste.
  • Begin as soon as possible. Puppies that are taught to have their teeth cleaned will grow up knowing it is a normal part of their day.
  • Do not give up if your dog tries to run away from you when you begin; with time and repetition a dog will learn that it is a routine part of the day.
What You Will Need:
  • A finger brush for dogs - this can be used first, if your Boxer dog is not used to having his teeth cleaned
  • A dog tooth brush - Much different than a human brush, you should make all attempts to train up to the level of using a dog tooth brush
  • Canine tooth paste - never underestimate the importance of using this
How to Brush Your Boxer's Teeth | Step-by-Step
  • Have all needed supplies on hand
  • Have your Boxer sit
  • Give the "Open mouth" command and use your hand to manipulate the jaw open; within a week or so a dog will begin to learn to do this himself with very little strength needed on your part
  • Brush swiftly and firmly on all surfaces of the teeth.  Do not just brush the front ones!  Do the front and both sides.
  • You can hum to calm your Boxer puppy or dog down or simply speak in a matter-of-fact way
  • After a full minute or so, wipe out the mouth with a wet washcloth; but don't worry that paste is being swallowed since a good canine brand will be perfectly edible and digestible
  • Offer praise and a treat (preferably a dental hygiene treat) if your Boxer at least made an effort. 
If you are not sure which products would be best for your Boxer, you may wish to look to "Dental Care" in the Boxer Dog Specialty Shoppe for the complete list of recommended and highly rated dental products. 

What if my Boxer dog refuses to let me use a brush?

Some dogs can be very stubborn. It is recommended to keep at it, but allow 2 weeks for each step. If that fails, you should then try using dog teeth wipes. These are special wipes made for a dog's teeth. It will wipe off bacteria and will clean to a certain extent.

Does my Boxer Need to Have Professional Cleanings?

Yes. It is very important that you schedule a once-a-year dental appointment with your dog's veterinarian and not only go if there is a problem. This yearly cleaning will remove buildup that daily cleaning simply cannot do. 

The vet will also be able to determine if there are any issues developing that need special care. If there are any serious problems,the vet will most likely refer you to a canine orthodontist.
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