Ensuring your dog's oral health is crucial for their overall wellness. However, many dogs miss out on the necessary at-home dental care essential to maintaining their gum and teeth health. Our Hohenwald vets explain how dog periodontal disease can be treated and prevented.
What is canine periodontal disease?
Periodontitis, also referred to as gum disease or periodontal disease occurs when plaque accumulates on a dog's teeth, leading to infections and potential health problems. During the initial phases of this condition, noticeable signs of periodontal disease might not be apparent in dogs. As it progresses, more severe symptoms emerge, such as persistent discomfort, loss of teeth, erosion of gums, and even potential loss of bone structure.
What causes periodontal disease in dogs?
As bacteria accumulates within your dog's mouth and is left unaddressed, it transforms into hardened plaque and tartar. Once tartar takes hold of your furry companion's teeth, removing it becomes a more challenging task that often necessitates professional care.
Tartar buildup persists and gradually triggers gum recession. At this advanced stage, manifestations like abscesses, deterioration of tissues and bones, and even tooth instability and loss may become evident. Particularly in smaller breeds and toy dogs, advanced periodontal disease could even lead to fractures in the jaw.
The progression of periodontal disease in canines can also be attributed to inadequate nutrition and diet in certain cases. Contributing factors encompass unclean toys, excessive grooming tendencies, and teeth overcrowding.
How can I tell if my dog has periodontal disease?
As periodontal disease is fairly undetectable, you may notice the following symptoms in advanced periodontal 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 poses a significant health issue for our canine companions. Beyond causing discomfort, it exerts detrimental impacts on your dog's overall well-being. The presence of bacteria on the gums can lead to their migration into the bloodstream, potentially impacting vital organs such as the heart and kidneys. Should you observe any of these symptoms above in your furry friend, it's imperative to promptly seek veterinary attention.
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. The cost of your dog's dental care will vary depending on the treatment required.
In order to conduct a complete assessment of your dog's gum health and condition, anesthesia will be necessary. It is also crucial to undergo pre-anesthesia blood work to ensure that your pet is fit enough for the medication used during the procedure.
The standard dental procedures for dogs 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?
Maintaining your dog's oral health doesn't have to be complicated. By simply sticking to a routine of regular tooth brushing and scheduling yearly or semi-yearly dental checkups, you can significantly reduce the risk of periodontal disease for your furry friend.
Don't underestimate the power of brushing between these professional appointments. This practice not only helps maintain your dog's mouth cleanliness but also prevents the buildup of harmful plaque. To add an extra layer of protection, consider providing your dog with dental chews or specialized teeth-cleaning toys that work wonders while they chew.
Keep an eye out for any potential signs of periodontal disease in your canine companion. Whether it's swollen gums, inflammation, changes in appetite, or even missing teeth, don't delay – book an appointment with your veterinarian promptly to ensure your dog's dental health is in good paws. Remember, a proactive approach is key to brightening those doggie smiles!
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.