Dog Periodontal Disease Symptoms

Dog periodontal disease is a common problem in dogs over the age of 3. The periodontal disease affects the area around the teeth and may lead to the loss of the teeth. There are 4 stages of periodontal disease and detecting the symptoms of the diseases in its early stages is important.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease develops due to plaque deposits that are not cleaned in time. The plaque is formed due to food residue and bacteria. Plaque turns into calculus in up to 5 days if not removed. The tartar will cause inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis, and may advance, affecting the areas under the gums. This causes the formation of pockets that can accumulate bacteria and cause a lot of pain, a loss of teeth, pus accumulation and bone loss.

Stages of Periodontal Disease

The periodontal disease may be graded 1 to 4, depending on the stage of the disease.

  • Stage 1 periodontal disease is reversible and the dog will show signs such as plaque in low amounts, minor gum redness and sensitive gums.
  • Stage 2 of periodontal disease is still reversible and will be manifested through plaque covering the tooth including the area under the gum line, redness and swelling of the gums.
  • Stage 3 periodontal disease will present plaque under the gums, loose teeth, bleeding gums and between 10 to 30% of the bone supporting the tooth will be lost.
  • The final stage 4 of periodontal disease will cause severe symptoms such as large amounts of calculus under the gum line, receding gums, serious swelling, gum bleeding, pus accumulation and over 30% of the bone supporting the teeth will be lost.  

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease

Even if you may not be able to determine the stage of the periodontal disease, there are a few symptoms of periodontal disease that shouldn’t be ignored:

  • Red and inflamed gums, due to the bacteria and tartar accumulation
  • Halitosis or bad breath
  • Abscesses around the teeth, pus accumulation
  • Bleeding gums, especially in more advanced cases
  • Receding gums, in advanced cases
  • Loss of teeth
  • Pawing of the mouth, due to pain
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lack of appetite due to pain when chewing
  • Irritability
  • Depression

Treatment Options for Periodontal Disease in Dogs

Periodontal disease should be detected and graded by a vet. Dental radiology tests will be performed to assess how much of the teeth and the surrounding bone is affected.

Periodontal disease graded 1 and 2 may be reversible and the teeth may be saved. The treatment will include the administration of antibiotics and a professional cleaning performed under anesthesia that will remove the calculus deposits. The teeth will be polished, so that the surface will be evened out to prevent future deposits of calculus. The application of fluoride is also recommended.

If the dog has periodontal disease graded 3 or 4 and supporting bone loss, the teeth will have to be extracted. The vet will also have to take preventive measures to prevent the infections from spreading to other areas of the body.