Imagine never cleaning your teeth? That furry feeling as the plaque and bacteria build, leading to gum disease, tooth loss and hefty dental bills! It’s not a nice thought, is it? Well, it’s the same for our doggies too.
WHAT IS DOG DENTAL DISEASE?
Dental disease in dogs is not unusual. In fact, it is one of the more common conditions seen by vets. 80% of dogs over the age of 3 have dental disease.
But what exactly is it? Dental disease will develop in stages:
Firstly, your dog can start to get a build-up of plaque and tartar around their teeth and gums leading to gingivitis.
If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into the more serious periodontal disease (gum disease). Periodontal disease can allow infection to spread deeper into the tooth socket, destroying the bone. Over time, it is likely the tooth will become loose and eventually fall out.
REASONS WHY DENTAL CARE IS SO IMPORTANT
Dental disease can not only be very painful for your dog, but it can also cause irreversible damage therefore prioritising your dog’s dental care is of upmost importance.
Below are 6 reasons why you need to make sure you are taking care of those little pearly whites:
- Preventing tooth loss – By practicing good dental hygiene with your dog, you are helping the structures supporting the teeth to stay strong and healthy. Long term infection and damage may cause teeth to fall out.
- Preventing oral pain – Gingivitis and periodontal disease both can cause pain.
- Preventing bad breath – A whiff of bad doggy breath is a sign that bacteria is building up. Regular cleaning will help keep this at bay.
- Preventing organ damage - Research has shown that dogs with periodontal disease are more likely to develop heart, kidney and liver failure.
- Preventing worsening dental disease – It can be difficult to prevent dental disease from occurring as most dogs tend to have it by the age of 3 however good dental care can help stop it from worsening.
- To save money in the future – Working on your dog’s dental care now rather than in the future when problems have developed will not only give you peace of mind but also help your bank balance in the long run.
FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH DENTAL DISEASE
Are you worried about factors that could contribute to poor dental health for your dog? Aside from the obvious lack of home dental care, there are other factors that could cause periodontal disease, including:
- Specific breeds - toy breeds and dogs with short muzzles are prone to overcrowding of teeth and dental misalignment.
- Immune system health – a healthy immune system contributes to a healthy mouth.
- Age – the older your dog, the longer period of time periodontal disease has had to do it’s damage.
8 SIGNS OF DENTAL DISEASE IN YOUR DOG
There are some symptoms of periodontal disease that are quite easy to spot. Keep an eye open for any of the below and seek treatment if you suspect your dog is suffering:
- Bad breath that’s noticeably worse than normal
- Rubbing or pawing at their mouth
- Pain when you try to examine their teeth
- Red / swollen / inflamed gums
- Fussiness with food
- Irregular chewing i.e. from one side, or dropping food from their mouth
- Broken or loose teeth
- Gradual loss of interest in playing with or chewing toys
If you do spot any of these signs, it is best to book a dental exam at the vets.
2 EASY WAYS TO PROMOTE BETTER DENTAL HEALTH FOR YOUR DOG
There are easy ways in which you can promote better dental health for your dog including:
- Reducing and controlling plaque by brushing your dog’s teeth regularly. Make sure you use specific products designed for dogs.
- Offering chewy treats to help scrape plaque from teeth such as natural dog chews and dried meats – these encourage a good chewing action! Are you worried about adding additional calories to your dog’s diet? Nylon and rubber chews are also great to help get rid of plaque. Avoid hard plastic toys that could damage the teeth.
Brush up on your dog’s dental care to ensure their mouth stays happy, healthy and pearly white.