Dental Disease In Dogs
Detecting dental disease in dogs early is important to prevent its progression and ensure your pet's wellbeing. Less than one-half (44%) of Gen Z and Millennial pet parents say they could list the signs of periodontal disease in dogs to their veterinarian, which include discoloration, broken or loose teeth, super stinky breath, reduced appetite, and inflamed gums. Dog dental health can impact overall health and in turn, all you do together. By incorporating a daily dental chew for dogs like WHIMZEES by Wellness, pet parents can ensure they’re treating their dogs well by supporting their healthy smile and helping them live happier and healthier lives together. Want to learn more? Here are some common signs of dental disease in dogs:
Bad Breath (Halitosis) - Persistent bad breath in dogs is one of the most noticeable and very common signs of dental issues in dogs. The foul odor is caused by the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth, which can be unpleasant for both the dog and the pet parent. While some dogs may have occasional bad breath, a consistently foul odor from the mouth could indicate more serious dental problems in dogs.
Drooling - Excessive drooling or drooling that is different from your dog's normal behavior may be a sign of oral discomfort.
Difficulty Eating or Reluctance to Eat - Dogs with dental problems may have trouble chewing or may be reluctant to eat altogether due to pain while eating. This can lead to reduced food intake and malnutrition in dogs. In severe cases, this can cause weight loss and overall weakness.
Pawing at the Mouth - If your dog frequently paws at their mouth or face, it could be a sign of oral discomfort. Dental diseases, such as periodontal disease and gingivitis, can cause significant pain and discomfort for dogs. Just like in humans, dental problems can lead to toothaches and sore gums.
Red or Swollen Gums - Healthy gums should be pink and firm. If you notice redness, swelling, or bleeding of the gums, it may indicate gum disease or gingivitis in dogs from the bacteria in plaque irritating the gums, leading to inflammation.
Visible Tartar and Plaque - Check your dog's teeth regularly. If you observe yellow or brownish buildup on the teeth (tartar) and a sticky film on the teeth (plaque), it's a sign of dental issues. Periodontal disease is a progressive condition that starts with the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth. As the disease progresses, it can cause damage to the structures supporting the teeth, including the periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. This can lead to loose teeth.
Loose or Missing Teeth - Loose or missing teeth are indeed signs of dental disease in dogs. Periodontal disease, is a common condition that affects a large percentage of canines. As the dental disease becomes more advanced, the damage to the dogs’ teeth and surrounding structures becomes more severe, increasing the likelihood of loose or missing teeth. This can cause significant pain and discomfort for your pet.
Swelling or Abscesses on the Face - Dental disease can cause abscesses in dogs or pockets of pus to form at the tooth's root. These abscesses can be painful, cause noticeable facial swelling, and may cause the tooth to become loose. These infections can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream, affecting vital organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Behavioral Changes - Dogs in pain may exhibit changes in behavior, such as increased neediness, irritability, withdrawal from interaction, or even aggression. Some dogs may even vocalize their distress by unusual whining or whimpering.
Remember, regular at-home dental care for dogs is an important aspect of overall health, and proactive steps can help maintain good oral hygiene and prevent dental disease. While daily brushing is an excellent way to keep your dog's gums and teeth in tip-top condition, even a few times a week is better than nothing at all. Other alternatives are really fun and tasty dental chews like WHIMZEES by Wellness BRUSHZEES dental dog treats. These are great products because they carry the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal after undergoing tests to prove their dental effectiveness, so you’ll know that when given daily, your helping keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy.
If you suspect or see any of the signs of dental disease noted above, make sure you visit your veterinarian for an evaluation as soon as possible. It's essential to note that some dogs may not show obvious signs of dental disease until the condition has progressed significantly. Therefore, regular dental checkups by a veterinarian are essential to detect dental issues early on. Your veterinarian can perform a thorough dental examination, including dental X-rays and full dog dental cleaning under general anesthesia, to assess your dog's oral health and recommend appropriate treatments if necessary.