Dental Disease in Dogs

Dental disease is common in dogs and is due to the lack of dental hygiene. The oral health problems may influence the health of the pet. Dental disease may be treated, but often, the solution will be the extraction of the tooth. The prevention of dental problems is important and may be achieved by cleaning the dog's teeth and giving him chew treats and toys.

Causes of Dental Disease in Dogs

Dental disease in dogs is caused mainly by the lack of dental hygiene. Dogs need regular teeth cleaning to have their plaque removed. Plaque can turn to calculus and cavities may occur. The disease can spread to affect the gums and the rest of the dog's body, as gum disease may facilitate the entrance of bacteria in the bloodstream.

Symptoms of Dental Disease

Dental disease may manifest in multiple ways; however, the dog will be in pain and lethargic and you can suspect that there is a medical problem. Watch for symptoms such as:

  • Bad breath
  • Pawing the face and muzzle area
  • Dental abscess with pus accumulation near the gum line
  • Drooling more than usual
  • Sneezing, especially when there is a tooth infection
  • The gums may be intense red, not pink as usual
  • You may see that a tooth is fractured or partially damaged, but typically, your dog may become aggressive if you want to touch his muzzle
  • Behavior changes and irritability
  • Lack of appetite and weight loss

Detecting Dental Disease

Dental disease can be detected judging by the symptoms and by having the dog checked by a vet. The vet will administer an anesthetic, as otherwise, it will be difficult to inspect the dog's mouth. The vet can establish whether there is a dental problem and the severity of the condition.

Treatment Options

The vet will establish what can be done to eliminate the dental problem. Most often, a tooth extraction will be needed. However, dogs may also get fillings. If there is a dental abscess, the infection should be eliminated prior to administering any type of treatment. Oral antibiotics will be needed to cure the infection.

Preventing Dental Disease

Dental disease in canines can be prevented by following a few health guidelines:

  • Get the dog used to teeth brushing starting from an early age (even before he gets his permanent teeth); the brushing will get rid of plaque and this won't calcify and turn into calculus, which can lead to dental problems.
  • Take your dog to a yearly professional tooth cleaning, which will remove the accumulated calculus.
  • Give the dog chew toys, which will help eliminate plaque and bacteria from the teeth and gums.
  • Give your pet dental treats that are meant to scrape off plaque.

Even kibble food may have benefits for the dog's oral hygiene, because it can scratch off plaque remains. However, if your dog needs to have a liquid diet, the treats and chew toys are sufficient to maintain the teeth and the gums.