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Pet Dental Care: How to Spot Periodontal Disease in Dogs

Pet Dental Care: How to Spot Periodontal Disease in Dogs

Periodontal disease can have a negative impact on the overall health of your canine companion if not treated quickly. Here, our Stockton dog dentists discuss veterinary dentistry and dog dental care as well as how to spot the signs of periodontal disease in dogs.

Dental Disease in Dogs

The bacteria periodontitis can attack your dog’s oral cavity, silently invading the mouth. Unfortunately, this means that dental disease in dogs is usually not diagnosed until it is in the advanced stages.

That said, gum disease may cause more obvious symptoms that can impact the function of your dog’s mouth, not to mention his health: gum erosion, chronic pain and bone or tooth loss may occur. Structures that support the teeth may also be weakened or lost.

When food particles and bacteria that collect along the gum line are not brushed away with regular daily tooth brushing, plaque can develop and harden into calculus (tartar).

In turn, this can lead to the first stages of gum disease: inflammation and irritation of the gum line and surrounding areas (a condition also known as gingivitis).

What are the Signs of Periodontal Disease in Dogs?

Some signs of periodontal disease that dog owners should watch for include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Blood in water bowl or on chew toys
  • Yellow or brown teeth
  • Inflamed or bleeding gums
  • Bad breath 
  • Loose teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Weight loss
  • “Ropey” or bloody saliva
  • Irritability
  • Reluctance to eat

There is a good chance that your dog is experiencing chronic pain by the time the symptoms above become obvious. If your dog is displaying symptoms of periodontal disease contact your vet to book an examination for your pooch.

How Periodontal Disease Can Affect Your Dog's Health

Unfortunately, because your dog's dental health is closely linked to their overall physical health, the effects of periodontal disease don’t stay confined to the mouth - periodontitis can begin to cause issues in other major organs and may lead to heart disease. This is because bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and surround the heart. So at the first sign of dental disease, you should contact your dog's dentist as soon as possible.

What Are Some of the Causes of Periodontal Disease in Dogs?

Inside your dog's mouth, bacteria can develop into plaque, which combines with other minerals and hardens into calculus within two to three days. When tartar forms on your dog's teeth it can be difficult to scrape away, requiring the assistance of a dog dentist to clean. 

As the immune system fights this buildup of bacteria, reactions such as inflamed gums and more prevalent signs of gum disease can occur.

Poor nutrition and diet can contribute to the development of periodontal disease in dogs, as can environmental factors such as grooming habits, crowded teeth, dirty toys, and oral hygiene.

How Can Periodontal Disease in Dogs Be Treated?

Costs of dental procedures can vary widely, depending on the particular services your veterinarian provides, your pet’s requirements, and other factors. Your dog dentist in Stockton will conduct bloodwork prior to dental treatment in order to ensure your pup is healthy enough to handle the general anesthetic, which can cause problems for dogs with organ issues.

The following items are typically included during your dog's dental procedure:

  • Complete set of dental radiographs (X-rays)
  • Pre-anesthesia blood work
  • IV fluids and IV catheter
  • Pre-anesthesia blood work
  • Endotracheal intubation, inhaled anesthetic and oxygen
  • Circulation of warm air to keep pet warm while under anesthesia
  • Monitoring while under anesthesia
  • Scaling, polishing and lavage of gingival areas
  • If any extractions are needed, local anesthesia such as novocaine
  • Pain medication during and after the procedure

How Can Periodontal Disease in Dogs be Prevented?

Fortunately, you can help to prevent your pooch from developing periodontal disease, and the condition can be treated and reversed if caught in its early stages. When looking after your dog’s oral health it is important to be proactive about veterinary dentistry and routine pet dental care from your Stockton dog dentist.

Similar to their humans, dogs need regular dental checkups with pet dentists to maintain oral hygiene and identify any developing issues. Your pup should attend annual checkups with dog dentists to have their oral health assessed. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about at-home care, and find out how often your dog may require routine dental care and cleaning.

Prevent issues from developing between appointments by brushing your dog’s teeth daily to prevent plaque and bacteria from developing. Dog-specific toothpastes are available that not only help to clean your pup's teeth, but also make each brushing session a pleasure for your pooch. Chew toys, special dog food and dental chews designed to address or prevent dental disease and reduce tartar buildup.

However, be warned that these don’t replace brushing - consider them an add-on to your pet’s regular oral care routine. If you notice swollen or inflamed gums. loose or missing teeth, or decreased appetite, book an appointment with your dog dentist right away.

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.

If your dog is experiencing advanced periodontal disease and requires treatment we may be able to help. Contact our vets in Stockton for a consultation.

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