2024-07-06 19:28:34

How to Manage Dental Diseases in Dogs? Pet Owners’ Guide

It is reported that 80% of dogs experience dental disease by age 3, making it the most common chronic health issue among pets (Source: American Veterinary Medical Association).

If left untreated, these issues can permanently damage a pet's teeth, gums, and even jaw bones.

By understanding how a dental disease in dogs contributes to the problem and taking steps to manage it, pet parents can keep their furry friend's smile bright.

Let’s learn about the causes—and solutions to keeping your dog’s mouth healthy.

How Do I Know If My Dog Has Tooth Disease?

Several signs of dental disease in dogs indicate underlying issues. Detecting them early can help prevent pain, infection, and tooth loss.

Here are some key signs to watch for:

     Bad breath: This is a common sign. While occasional bad breath can happen, persistent bad breath signals underlying dental issues.

     Changes in eating habits: Difficulty chewing, picking at food, dropping kibble, or favoring softer foods can all be signs of dental pain.

     Excessive drooling: Drooling more than usual, especially bloody drool, can be a sign of dental problems.

     Swollen gumsInflamed, red, or bleeding gums indicate dental infection.

     Loose or missing teeth: Loose teeth are a sign of dental disease and require immediate veterinary attention.

In addition to the above signs, plaque build-ups also indicate the presence of dental issues.

Plaque is a white, yellowish, or pale yellow material made up of debris and bacteria found on the surface of the teeth.

At the tooth's root, it eventually solidifies to form yellowish-brown tartar, also known as calculus, which progressively spreads until it may cover the whole surface.

Apart from that, your dog may have dental issues if it dribbles a lot, occasionally with blood flecks, or exhibits symptoms of pain and discomfort like tossing its head and pawing at its lips.

How Does Dog Dental Disease Affect Their Health?

Dental diseases like tartar can cause severe inflammation, called "gingivitis," an infection that extends to the tooth roots by attacking the gum tissue around the affected tooth. A painful abscess might develop from pus accumulation in the roots.

Due to this inflammation, the gums, bones, and teeth lose tissues, and as the illness worsens, the teeth will eventually become loose and fall out.  

How to Treat Dental Disease in Dogs?

Suppose your pet's illness is advanced and clearly in discomfort. In that case, your veterinarian may need to take jaw X-rays while under general anesthesia to check for deep abscesses.

If the disease is too complicated to treat, defective teeth might need removal.

If there are indications of infection, your veterinarian may recommend antibiotics before performing dental procedures.

Your veterinarian might also use ultrasonic scaling equipment to remove the tartar and clean the teeth.

Plaque, however, will resurface. Your dog's teeth will require scaling and polishing regularly, every six to twelve months, to keep them in good condition.

Will a Change in Diet Help Control Dental Disease?

A change in diet can support your dog's oral health.

For example, limiting sugary treats and opting for dental chews designed to remove plaque can contribute to a healthy mouth.

Substituting dry or fibrous meals for soft ones will slow plaque development. The additional chewing can also help produce more saliva, which contains natural antibiotics. More saliva assists in treating dental disease in dogs.

What Else Can I Do to Keep My Pet's Teeth Clean?

Brushing your pet's teeth is important to avoid dental disease. Ideally, your pet should become accustomed to having its teeth cleaned from a young age.

To acclimate your pet to the notion, wrap a little piece of soft gauze over your finger and softly touch its teeth. Next, you can use a tiny, regular toothbrush with soft bristles or a toothbrush made especially for dogs.

Additionally, various types of mouthwash and antibacterial gels are available to help lessen plaque buildup and stop infections.

Remember, human toothpaste froths up in the mouth and may cause significant injury to your pet. Hence, it's better to avoid using human toothpaste.

What If My Pet Doesn't Like Having Its Teeth Brushed?

Your pet may initially resist, but most canines can be encouraged with tenderness, patience, and persistence.

Brushing your pet daily, or at least three times a week, will help lower the likelihood that they will experience significant dental issues.

It's critical to provide your pet with preventative healthcare. Brushing your pet's teeth regularly from an early age will help avoid the need for veterinarian dental care.

To Say It All!

The consequences of dental problems, like grading dental disease in dogs, can be severe.

However, by understanding the signs and taking proactive steps, you can ensure your furry friend maintains a healthy mouth.

Regular checkups with your veterinarian and proper at-home care should be considered to ensure optimal oral health.

Schedule vet appointment online for dental-related diseases!

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