The thought of our dogs silently suffering from an easily preventable disease is absolutely heartbreaking. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, as many as four in five dogs over the age of three suffer from a disease that is not only painful, but downright fatal.
What are we talking about? Periodontitis in dogs.
Unfortunately, periodontal disease is more than just a cosmetic problem. Bacteria that start in the gums not only cause inflammation, tooth loss and pain for your dog, but can also enter the bloodstream and affect the lungs, kidneys and even the heart. This condition can cause your dog to suffer in silence.
Which dog breeds are most affected by periodontal disease?
Although all dogs are susceptible, the following breeds are significantly more susceptible to periodontal disease:
- Poodles (Toy & Standard)
- Yorkshire terriers
- Shetland Sheepdogs (Shelties)
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Keep in mind that if your dog is a crossbreed with any of the above breeds, he has likely inherited the breed’s predisposition to dental problems.
6 common symptoms of periodontal disease in dogs
#1 – Bad breath
#2 – Drooling
#3 – Tooth loss
#4 – Pawing in the mouth or difficulty chewing
#5 – Loss of appetite
#6 – Irritability
However, keep it in mind If your dog doesn’t show any of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you can’t be safe. Our veterinarian, Dr. Kathryn Primm, says, “I dare say the most important thing people need to know about dental disease is that most of the time they don’t see any signs at all. Sometimes there are no signs because the disease is below the gum line.”
What does periodontal disease look like?
The following video is of a real dental cleaning at our vet’s (Dr. Kathryn Primm) clinic. You will see discolored teeth, loose teeth, receding gums and more. This is EXTREMELY painful for the puppy and requires very intensive cleaning by your vet.
The solution is simple in theory, but difficult in practice
Most dog parents know that we should brush our dog’s teeth daily. Many of us, myself included, find this ritual particularly taxing due to the demands of daily life and the fact that most puppies absolutely despise this ritual.
Most veterinarians recommend periodic dental assessment and cleaning under anesthesia. In the hands of a skilled veterinarian, dog lovers don’t have to fear anesthesia. It is the only way the teeth can truly be evaluated. Between cleanings, you can help keep teeth healthy with the following simple at-home practices.
4 simple daily habits to improve your dog’s dental health
#1 – Chewing: Chewing can act like nature’s toothbrush. However, because typical dog food kibble is often high in carbohydrates (which leads to the build-up of food around the gums), chewing regular dog food kibble is simply not enough. Durable toy with an abrasive surface that helps remove plaque and tartar.
#2 – Dental Treats for Dogs: Dental chews are a great way to promote mechanical wear and remove debris and plaque from the mouth. However, our research shows that many of the products on the market contain a laundry list of questionable ingredients, artificial colors and preservatives, or wheat and gluten. (This research actually led us to spend over a year developing our own line of grain-free chews)
#3 – Dental Sprays for Dogs: Using an antimicrobial dental spray for dogs is a great way to keep your dog’s mouth fresh and clean. When used consistently, they can prevent the buildup that leads to plaque. They are cheaper per use than dental chews.
#4 – Dental Wipes for Dogs: Like dental sprays, antimicrobial dental wipes for dogs help clean tooth surfaces and freshen breath. Likewise, they are also a lot more economical per use compared to dental chews.
The bottom line is this: Whatever you do, do something! Your dog deserves the best, and while it’s easy to forget about his dental health, it contributes immensely to his overall health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare provider.