Caring for your dog's teeth is an essential element of their overall healthcare. Today, our Riverbank vets discuss the signs of dental disease in dogs and some common dog dental problems.
Dental Care For Dogs
Keeping your dog's mouth clean and healthy is essential to their overall health, but most of our canine companions don't receive the dental health care they need.
Our Riverbank vets are seeing dogs under three years old showing signs of gum disease and other problematic dental issues. Developing dental disease at such a young age can have serious negative consequences on a dog's health and longevity.
The best way to ensure your dog's oral health is to combine at-home dental care with an annual professional dental exam.
Signs of Dental Disease in Dogs
Our vets at River Oak Veterinary Hospital know that it can be easy to miss the early signs of dental problems if you don't know what to look for. Here are some common signs of dental disease in dogs that you should watch for:
- Bad breath
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Chewing on one side
- Discolored teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Excess drooling or blood in drool
- Loose or broken teeth
- Dropping food
Common Dog Dental Issues
There are a number of dental health issues that occur in our dogs. Some of the most common include:
Dogs love to chew! The problem to be aware of is that chewing on certain items, such as bones or very hard plastic can cause your dog's teeth to fracture or break. Tooth fractures are more likely when your dog is chewing on an object that is too big for their mouth. When selecting chew toys be sure to pick something that is an appropriate size and material for your dog. We know your little dog may think they are a big dog but refrain from giving them a bone the bigger that they are even if it's adorable. Speak to your vet about what they would recommend.
Retained Baby Teeth
All puppies have baby teeth just like people. In most situations, these teeth will fall out by the time your dog reaches 6 months of age. In some cases some of the teeth don't fall out as they should. This can cause over-crowding which can result in extra plaque build up and make it more difficult to clean you dog's mouth. Your vet may recommend these teeth be removed under anesthetic to prevent future issues. Many vets will do this when the dog is already under anesthesia for a spay or neuter.
Periodontal disease, a.k.a. gum disease, is a condition that occurs when there is an excessive amount of plaque build up on your dog's teeth. If plaque isn't regularly removed, it can harden into a substance called calculus or tartar that becomes more difficult to remove.
Tartar buildup causes pockets to form between your dog's teeth and gum line where infection can develop. If gum disease isn't treated your dog's teeth can become loose and fall out.
With periodontal disease, the open space around the tooth roots can become filled with bacteria, leading to an infection. This infection can can result in a tooth root abscess and is painful for your dog.
Besides the negative oral health impacts a tooth infection has, it can also negatively affect your dog's overall body health. There have been links found between periodontal disease and heart disease in dogs. This is due to bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, damaging heart function, and causing issues with other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.
You need to take care of your dog's teeth and take them for regular dental appointments.
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.