dental disease in dogs

Dental disease is unfortunately highly common in dogs and can be detrimental to your dog’s overall health if not treated properly. Dogs tend to have a more alkaline mouth than humans do and because of this there is a higher likelihood of plaque formation. If not maintained daily, the bacteria found in plaque has the ability to multiply. Studies have shown that 85% of dogs over the age of four suffer or have suffered from some form of periodontal disease. These types of dental diseases can be incredibly painful in dogs and lead to rotten teeth, bleeding from the gums or decreased appetite. There are a number of different dental diseases including gingivitis, periodontitis, calculus or plaque. So you are aware, when these dental diseases are not treated, bacteria from the mouth can potentially be swallowed and enter into your pet’s bloodstream. If this occurs, there is a chance your dog will develop disease in other parts of their body including fatal organ damage in the heart, kidneys, liver, brain tissue, or a possible fractured jaw.

dental disease for dogs

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is not something dependent on age or breed; it can occur to any dog at any age and is based purely on their lifestyle. Brushing your dog’s teeth is something that should be done on a daily basis. If that is not possible for you, aim to brush at least five times a week. While it may seem like a daunting process, particularly for dogs who are restless and do not like the process as a whole, it doesn’t always have to be difficult. There are a number of products available – such as the Hartz Dentists Best Dental Kit – designed to make brushing their teeth a much easier process. If you are finding keeping up with their oral maintenance quite tricky, you could consider switching them to a dry food diet, purchasing dental chews or using dental toys to assist with their oral care. Chewing is known to wipe away food bits and keeps animal teeth and gums in good shape. The Greenies Company conducted a study to see the effects of dry food and dental chews in dogs. They found that "adding a dental chew to the diet resulted in statistically significant reductions in plaque and calculus accumulation, and oral malodor while improving gingival indices".

Dental Chews

There are a number of dental chews available that are designed to assist with your dog’s oral health:

Dental Chew Benefits
  • Helps to reduce the risk of gum disease with it’s special X shape and rough texture, ensuring to scrape away any nasty plaque build up in even the hard to reach places.
  • Contains Yucca herbal extract, which helps to reduce and control plaque, tartar and malodour from the teeth.
  • Encourages chewing action to prevent the build up of plaque and tartar, provides a daily dental treatment and assists in the aid of bad breath.
  • Unique flexible shape is designed to provide optimum cleaning without damaging gums. Improves oral and digestive health.

Dental Toys

And there are a number of dental toys available that also assist in the cleaning process:

Dental Toys Benefits
  • Helps to prevent gum disease and tooth decay by gently scraping plaque from the surface of the teeth.
  • Encourages positive chewing behavior, scrapes away plaque and improves dental hygiene while also freshening their breath.
  • Provides pain relief inside the mouth for dogs that suffer with dental disease or are teething while still providing an effective clean.

Of course these are temporary alternatives, you should still be brushing your dog’s teeth on a day-to-day basis.

dental gum disease

Gum Disease

Gum disease is usually silent with no signs or symptoms, and if you’re not brushing your dog’s teeth regularly you will miss any obvious signs deeper in their mouth. Some symptoms of severe gum disease include troubles picking up food, bleeding or red gums – you may notice blood in their water bowl or on their chew toys – loose teeth, making noises when eating or yawning, bumps or lumps in the mouth, bloody or stringy saliva, not wanting their head to be touched, chewing on only one side of their mouth, nasal discharge or sneezing – as gum disease can destroy the bone between the nasal and oral cavity – and bad breath. The issue with bad breath is that many pet owners believe it is a minor issue with a simple fix. The fact is that bad breath is normally caused by a build-up of bacteria in the mouth due to overgrown tartar. Treating bad breath with breath fresheners is not the correct solution. More often than not, there is an accompanied underlying oral issue which will need to be treated professionally.

Dental Food

Luckily, there are a number of dog dental food that will assist your dog if they suffer from dental disease, as well as help them prevent any further issues. These formulas are designed to be used on any dog, they don’t have to necessarily be diagnosed with a dental problem, but they can be used as prevention, and to maintain overall good oral health.

Dental Food Benefits
  • Mimics the same nutritional habits your dog would have in the wild. Includes cranberries to assist with extra fibre and dental care.
  • Designed to assist dogs that have been diagnosed with dental or gum problems. With active ingredients and its unique shape, it helps to reduce plaque deposits and prevents the build-up of tartar.
  • Clinically proven to reduce tartar, stains and plaque build-up. Designed to keep your dog’s teeth clean and fight off oral bacteria in plaque.
  • Added sodium tripolyphosphate prevents plaque from hardening in to tartar while leaving your pet with fresh-smelling breath.

It is important to take your dog in to see a veterinarian frequently so they can perform regular oral exams or cleanings. A medical professional will be the only one who can provide you with a strong understanding of the state of your dog’s oral health. You will then be able to monitor their mouth regularly and construct a plan to cure their dental disease or prevent it from worsening. Always remember that if you can’t start your day or go to bed without brushing your teeth, your dog shouldn’t either!

Posted by Nicole Liko