Dental concerns can have a large impact on the quality of life of your four-legged friend. Our veterinary dentists in Gallup share some of the common dental problems in dogs, what the signs are and how they can be treated.
Caring For Your Dog's Dental Health
Your dog's oral health is closely linked to their overall health and well-being. Your dog uses their mouth, teeth and gums to eat and vocalize, so when its oral structures become damaged or diseased, they can stop functioning properly and a dog can experience pain that interferes with its ability to eat and communicate normally.
In addition, bacteria and infections that cause many oral health issues in dogs won't just remain confined to your pooch's mouth. Left untreated, these bacteria and infections can start to circulate throughout your pet's body, damaging organs such as the liver, kidneys and heart. This can lead to more serious negative consequences for your canine friend's health and longevity.
This is one of the reasons regular pet dental care with your Gallup veterinary dentists are critical elements of your dog's routine preventive healthcare - regular dental cleanings can prevent health concerns, or ensure developing issues are caught and treated early.
Plaque & Tartar Buildup
Just like humans, dogs will accumulate plaque and tartar buildup over time, especially without regular cleanings. Plaque is a whitish substance made up primarily of bacteria, that if left on the tooth, will harden and turn a more yellowish color (also called calculus). Tartar will remain stuck to the tooth until it is scraped off with an object such as those used by a veterinarian.
Plaque and tartar buildup are the leading causes of gum disease in dogs as well as tooth loss. The most common signs for a dog owner to look out for are gingivitis (very red and swollen gum line), discolored deposits on the teeth, and increasingly bad breath. As the dental disease gets worse, dogs may experience even worse breath as well as bleeding of the gums.
Periodontal disease refers to the deterioration of the gum and bone that surround the tooth. This most commonly occurs when untreated plaque and tartar stick to the tooth and make their way beneath the gum line.
This disease starts in the form of gingivitis and develops into periodontal disease as the gum and bone around the tooth deteriorate. As this occurs, pockets around the tooth can develop, allowing food and bacteria to collect below the tooth. If left unattended, dangerous infections can arise and the teeth will begin to fall out.
Common symptoms of canine periodontitis include:
- Discolored teeth (brown or yellow)
- Loose or missing teeth
- Bad breath
- Weight loss
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
- Excessive drooling
- Blood on chew toys or in the water bowl
- Favoring one side of the mouth when chewing
- “Ropey” or bloody saliva
- Reduced appetite
- Problems keeping food in the mouth
If you notice any of these symptoms present in your dog, please contact your veterinary dentists in Gallup.
With all of the chewing that dogs do whether they are eating or playing, it is not surprising that tooth fractures are a frequent occurrence. Even everyday items that dogs use can cause fractures such as bones or hard plastic used to make toys.
Our veterinary dentists in Gallup recommend dog chew toys should be small enough that the dog doesn't have to open its mouth entirely, but large enough that there won't be a concern of accidentally swallowing or choking on the toy.
An oral infection is an outcome of a pocket (usually around the root of the tooth) that has been filled with bacteria. Infections are primarily caused by periodontitis but can also be initiated due to trauma-induced chewing on hard or sharp objects. Some infections can be fatal as the bacteria makes its way to the bloodstream and cause organ disease/failure in the heart, liver, kidneys, or brain. If you are concerned about a potential oral infection, you should contact your dog dentist in Gallup as soon as possible.
Preventing Dog Dental Conditions
Creating a dental care routine for your dog is a great way to maintain oral hygiene and prevent oral issues. Your dog dentist will be able to help you plan both an at-home and in-office dental care plan that works for your pet.
Introducing food or water additives is an easy way to improve and maintain the health and strength of their teeth and bones. Adjusting your dog's diet can also increase oral hygiene, even with small exchanges like providing dental chews instead of less healthy treats.
Brushing your dog's teeth regularly is an ideal tactic for dog owners to use. Although it is not very realistic, brushing their teeth every day would be best if your dog will tolerate the process.
Be sure to bring your dog in for an oral hygiene cleaning and examination with their dog dentist at least once every year. Some smaller breeds of dogs should go two or more times a year due to their teeth's shallow roots.
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.