Diagnosing Dog Gum Disease

The signs of dog gum disease are something that are often missed, so diagnosing the disease can be tricky. You need to know what to look for, what it means and when you should take your dog in to be seen.

Gum Disease in Dogs

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is the result of an inflammation of one or all of your dog's teeth support structures. It is an incredibly common disease for dogs to get and can become a serious problem if not caught and treated early enough.

Diagnosing Dog Gum Disease

Sometimes there are no signs that there is anything wrong with your dog's gums. It is important that you regularly brush your dog's teeth and that you take him in for cleanings and checkups. Diagnosing gum disease can easily be missed, so tests will need to be run in order to catch this disease as soon as possible.

Watching for the symptoms is the best way to home-diagnose periodontal disease. Look for signs of excessive decay, receding gum lines or even tooth loss. Dogs with developing mouth problems will start shying away from harder food, may not like to pick up their usual toys and could start to develop other problems due to infections and bacteria in their mouth. Excessive tooth problems can cause kidney problems as the bacteria overload puts a strain on the body.

Symptoms of Dog Gum Disease

Gum disease works itself in stages, ranging from 1 to 4.

  • Stage 1. One or more teeth will have gingivitis.
  • Stage 2. There will be a 25% attachment loss between the teeth and the gums.
  • Stage 3. The amount of attachment loss will move up to 30%.
  • Stage 4. In the advanced stage, there is more than 50% loss of attachment between the gums and the teeth. Sometimes this can lead to the gums receding enough that the roots of the teeth will be visible.

There are other symptoms that you can keep an eye out for, such as:

  • Bad breath
  • Plaque buildup
  • Tartar buildup
  • Changes in the gum line
  • Gingivitis
  • Caries, or cavities
  • An avoidance to harder food or toys
  • Increased drooling
  • Rubbing or pawing at the face
  • Vomiting

If you notice any of these symptoms with your dog, it is important that you get him looked at as soon as possible. Most of these things can be fixed or reversed, but whatever gum recession that your dog suffers will be permanent.

Treatment of Dog Gum Disease

Before anything else, your dog needs to have his teeth cleaned to assess the damage. During this procedure, the vet can further diagnose any problems, such as abscesses or dead tissue, and pull any teeth that have rotted. Abscesses will need to be drained during the cleaning.

After the surgery, your dog will be given pain medication as well as antibiotics and often anti-inflammatory medicine. Your dog needs soft foods while the gums heal.