Your furry friend's dental health can greatly affect their overall well-being. It's important to watch for any signs of dental problems. Our veterinarians in Lebanon are here to guide you in identifying common dental issues in dogs and providing tips on how to prevent or treat them.
Your Dog's Oral Health
Your furry companion's overall well-being and health are closely tied to their oral health. Your dog's mouth, teeth, and gums play a significant role in eating and communication, so when they become damaged or diseased, it can lead to pain and difficulties in performing these basic functions.
Moreover, oral health problems in dogs can cause bacteria and infections to spread throughout their body, leading to damage to vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, and heart. This can have severe negative consequences for your furry friend's health and lifespan.
Thus, it is crucial to make regular pet dental care and veterinary dentistry a part of your dog's routine preventive healthcare. Regular dental cleanings can help prevent health concerns or catch developing issues early on, ensuring your canine companion's well-being and longevity.
How to Spot Dental Issues in Dogs
If you observe any of these behaviors or conditions in your dog, it's possible that they may be suffering from dental disease. However, symptoms may vary depending on the specific condition.
Some of the most common symptoms of dental disease in dogs can include:
- Bad Breath (halitosis)
- Visible tartar
- Difficulty with or slow eating
- Pawing at their teeth or mouth
- Missing or lose teeth
- Excessive drooling
- Bleeding, swollen, or red gums
- Weight loss
If you see any of the above signs of dental disease in your dog, bring them to your Lebanon vet as soon as possible for examinations. The sooner your dog's dental disease is diagnosed and treated, the better for your cat's long-term health.
Common Dog Dental Problems
There are several common conditions that pet owners should be aware of when it comes to their dog's oral health, including issues that affect the teeth, gums, and other oral structures.
Plaque & Tartar Buildup
Plaque is a type of biofilm that develops on teeth and is primarily composed of bacteria. It has an unpleasant odor which worsens as it remains in the mouth. If not removed by brushing within 24 to 48 hours, plaque hardens and becomes tartar, a yellow or brownish substance referred to as calculus by veterinarians. Tartar sticks to teeth and can only be removed by a dental scaler or similar tool.
Tartar can lead to tooth decay and gum irritation. If left untreated, plaque and tartar can increase the risk of tooth loss and gum disease in dogs. Symptoms include discolored deposits on teeth, red and swollen gum lines (gingivitis), and bad breath. As dental disease progresses, owners may notice more frequent bleeding gums and worsening breath.
If plaque and tartar are not removed from your dog's mouth, bacteria can infect the gums and cause damage to the tissue and bone that keep their teeth in place. This can lead to periodontal disease, which starts with gingivitis. As the disease progresses, the tissues and bones that support the teeth deteriorate, and pockets form around the roots of the teeth.
This allows bacteria, debris, and food to accumulate here and dangerous infections to develop. Over time, the teeth loosen and start to fall out.
When periodontal disease occurs, bacteria can enter the space surrounding the roots of the tooth, resulting in an infection that can develop into a tooth root abscess. The infected area is filled with pus to combat the infection. If left untreated, the abscess can grow to the point where it causes facial swelling and changes to the area's anatomy. Oral infections are frequently caused by periodontal disease, but they can also occur as a result of mouth trauma. Injuries from biting on hard or sharp objects can lead to trauma.
Dogs that are powerful chewers can fracture their teeth, chewing on very hard plastic, antlers, or bones. Most vets recommend against allowing your dog to chew on anything harder than you would want to bang hard on your knee.
The size of chews can also factor into the occurrence of tooth fractures - a chew that's too large for a dog's mouth may make the tooth and chew line up that, breaks the outside of a tooth (known as a slab fracture).
Your veterinarian may recommend picking chews which are small enough to hold in the mouth without swallowing by accident. However, these are not so large that your dog will need to have a fully open mouth to safely chew on them.
Preventing Dental Issues in Dogs
To ensure your dog's dental health, brushing and cleaning their teeth regularly is essential. This helps prevent the development of dental problems and ensures healthier teeth and gums. By brushing away plaque before it causes damage or infection, you increase the likelihood of your dog's overall oral well-being.
To keep your dog's teeth in great condition and their breath fresh, schedule your pet for a professional dental examination and cleaning once a year. Dental appointments at Cumberland Animal Hospital are similar to taking your dog for an appointment at the veterinary dog dentist.
To prevent oral health issues from developing in the first place, you should start cleaning your dog's teeth and gums when they are still a puppy and will be able to adapt to the process quickly. You may also consider adding dog dental chews to their routine.
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.