Proper dental care is essential for your dog's health. Neglect can lead to gum and teeth problems. Our veterinarians at Goleta offer tips on preventing and treating periodontal disease in dogs.
What is canine periodontal disease?
Periodontitis, also called gum disease or periodontal disease, can be caused by plaque accumulation on a dog's teeth, leading to infections or other health problems. Unfortunately, the early stages of this condition in dogs may not exhibit any noticeable symptoms. However, as it progresses, periodontal disease can cause chronic pain, tooth loss, gum erosion, or even bone loss.
What causes periodontal disease in dogs?
When left uncleaned, the buildup of bacteria in your dog's mouth will harden into plaque and tartar. Once tartar forms on your pup's teeth, it becomes more difficult to scrape away and often requires professional intervention.
The tartar will continue to build up and eventually cause the gums to recede. At this more advanced stage, you may begin to see abscesses, tissue and bone deterioration, and even teeth loosening and falling out. In small and toy breeds, advanced periodontal disease can even lead to jaw fractures.
The development of periodontal disease in dogs can also be associated with poor nutrition and diet in some dogs. Other factors that may contribute to the development of periodontal disease in dogs can include dirty toys, excessive grooming habits, and crowded teeth.
How can I tell if my dog has periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease can be difficult to detect, but you may observe the following symptoms in the later stages of the disease:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Loose or missing teeth teeth
- Blood on chew toys or in water bowl
- Excessive drooling
- Favoring one side of the mouth when chewing
- Reduced appetite
- Discolored teeth (yellow or brown)
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
- Problems keeping food in mouth
- Weight loss
- Bloody or "ropey" saliva
Periodontal disease is a serious health concern for our dogs. Not only can it be painful, but it also has negative effects on your dog's bodily health as bacteria on the gums can travel into the bloodstream and affect major organs like the heart or kidney. If you notice any of the above symptoms in your pup, take them to the vet right away.
How to Treat Periodontal Disease in Dogs
When you bring your dog in for periodontal disease, your vet may recommend a professional cleaning or other treatments depending on the severity of the dog's oral condition. Your dog's dental care costs will vary depending on the treatment required.
To ensure a comprehensive evaluation of your dog's gum health and condition, anesthesia is necessary. Pre-anesthesia blood work is also crucial to determine if your pet is fit enough to receive anesthesia medications.
Dental procedures for dogs commonly involve:
- A pre-anesthetic physical assessment
- A complete oral examination
- Teeth cleaning
- Teeth polishing
- Dental X-rays
- Fluoride treatment
- Dental sealant
How can I prevent my dog from developing periodontal disease?
Preventing periodontal disease in your dog is relatively simple. Regularly brushing your dog's teeth and taking them for dental checkups once or twice a year can help you avoid this disease.
Brushing in between appointments helps keep your dog's mouth clean and breaks down plaque before it can accumulate. You may also consider giving your dog dental chews or toys that are specifically designed to clean their teeth while they chew on them.
If your dog is experiencing symptoms of periodontal disease, such as swollen or inflamed gums, changes in appetite or missing teeth, it is advisable to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.