80% of dogs and cats have dental disease. And it’s preventable. Learn how to spot the 7 signs of dental disease in dogs so you can provide your pet with the best care.
How do dogs get dental disease?
Just like with us humans, dental disease in dogs occurs when plaque builds up on their teeth each day and isn’t cleaned off. Everyday activities such as eating and salivating can cause particles of food, bacteria and saliva to stick to your dog’s teeth and form a layer of plaque which is responsible for that furry feeling that we get when we don’t brush our teeth.
Over time, plaque hardens into tartar and together will grow into and under your dog’s gums, causing gingivitis (red gums) and halitosis (bad breath), inevitably leading to early tooth loss and other health problems.
Understandably, this is a painful and uncomfortable experience for your pet, however it can be avoided. Book a dental checkup at your local Greencross Vets where they can examine and assess your dog’s teeth in order to recommend the best dental routine to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy.
The 7 signs of dental disease in dogs
Learning how to spot the 7 signs of dental disease and understanding that you have to take action to combat these is the first step in providing your dog with the dental care they deserve.
1. Bad breath
Does your dog have bad breath? This isn’t as normal as you might think and halitosis can be an indicator that they have some form of dental disease. While bad doggy habits like eating garbage can sometimes be the perpetrator, a more serious cause is when plaque and tartar build up on their teeth, leading to an aggregation of the bacteria that causes bad breath.
2. Discolouration or build-up of plaque and tartar on teeth
Much like healthy human teeth, your dog should have pearly whites. Teeth with yellow and brown stains are a sign that plaque and tartar have built up and must be cleaned off. Your local Greencross Vets can provide your dog with a scale and polish procedure to remove the existing disease to give you a fresh start before you begin cleaning your dog’s teeth at home.
3. Gum redness or inflammation (gingivitis)
A major indicator that your dog’s dental disease is quite progressed is if the tartar is growing into their gum line, causing swelling and bleeding. Understandably, having tender and swollen gums can be painful for your pet and if left untreated, this condition can worsen and lead to early tooth loss.
4. Difficulty eating or loss of appetite
If your dog has stopped looking forward to mealtimes or expresses difficulties when munching down their dry food, this can be a sign that their dental disease is causing oral discomfort and is affecting their appetite. Book an appointment with your local Greencross Vets for a professional diagnosis of what’s causing this issue.
5. Discomfort, lumps or bleeding around the mouth
Tooth and gum disease in dogs can cause discomfort an bleeding around the mouth and may contribute to oral tumours such as epulis to grow in your dog’s mouth. These may be hard to spot unless they’re in the front of the mouth, but you may notice your dog bleeding from the mouth or swelling around their face or jaw. If you find a lump anywhere on your pet, take them to your local Greencross Vets for a checkup immediately as these may be malignant.
6. Swelling under the eye
Dental disease in dogs can cause symptoms that extend beyond the mouth. Infections and fractured teeth can lead to abscesses and swelling under your dog’s eyes. To treat this disease and ensure it does not return, book a dental checkup at your local Greencross Vets where they’ll recommend the best procedure for your pet.
7. Pawing at the mouth
As much as we would love our dogs to be able to verbally communicate with us, we have to make do with interpreting their body language. If you regularly notice your dog pawing at their mouth or rubbing their muzzle, this could be them trying to tell you that they’re experiencing pain and discomfort in their mouth due to dental disease.
We know how important it is to look after our own teeth, and our pets teeth are no different. Regularly checking for these signs of dental disease and implementing a daily dental routine will quickly improve their dental health, as well as their overall happiness and wellbeing. The first step to giving your dog the oral care they deserve is by booking a dental health check at your local Greencross Vets today.
Find out more about how to care for your dog’s teeth here.