Dog Gum Disease Symptoms

Dog gum disease is a common problem in canines and is due to incomplete or nonexistent dental hygiene. Over 75% of dogs over the age of 3 develop gum disease. Recognizing the symptoms can relieve the dog’s pain and prevent other medical conditions that may result from advanced gum disease.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

The first noticeable symptom of canine gum disease is the bad breath also known as halitosis. The bad breath is due to the bacteria that are present in the dog’s mouth and in the dog’s stomach and intestines. The upset stomach can also result in vomiting and diarrhea.

Other symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Problems when chewing and eating; the gums are painful when in contact with different textured food and the dog may not be able to chew properly so he may spit out the food or refuse to eat
  • Gum color change; the gums will turn from the normal pink to a bright red (this is in the early stages of gum disease)
  • The gums bleed when you brush them or when in contact with kibble food or hard toys
  • Loose teeth; the gums start to recede and the teeth may be wobbly; in advanced cases, the teeth may fall out
  • Inadequate chewing; the dog tries to relieve the pain
  • Behavioral changes; the pain will cause irritability and even aggressiveness in your pet
  • Depression
  • Lethargy

Causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease is caused by a poor dental hygiene. Food residue and bacteria remain in the mouth and on the dog’s teeth long after he’s eaten. If these deposits are not cleaned, they form a layer of plaque. Plaque can be removed if you brush your dog’s teeth.

If not removed, plaque deposits turn into tartar in about 3 to 5 days. In time, tartar will attack the gums and this will lead to gum disease.

Preventing Gum Disease

Gum disease is difficult to treat and it may often lead to tooth extraction.

However, preventing gum disease is possible by following a few easy tips:

  • Brush your dog’s teeth daily; use a special pet toothbrush and meat flavored toothpaste. Use circular moves and rinse with water.
  • Dental chews are available in pet stores; these are a rich source of fat and protein and have an abrasive action of the teeth, scraping off the plaque deposits.
  • Chew toys have the same effects as chew treats and in addition these prevent the dangerous chewing behavior in dogs. Both the dental chews and the chew toys will strengthen the gums and teeth.
  • Kibble food is recommended for all dogs to remove the plaque.
  • Take your dog to a regular teeth cleaning twice per year, to remove any possible tartar deposits and to detect any possible signs of gum disease or tooth decay.

Dental hygiene is important for dogs. Gum disease may cause infections in the dog’s mouth and body. Prevent gum disease with daily brushing.