Caring for your dog's teeth is essential to their oral and overall physical health. Here, our Union City vets share some common signs and types of dog dental problems.
Dental Care for Dogs
Similar to humans, maintaining proper oral hygiene is crucial for dogs to ensure their overall health and well-being. Unfortunately, many dogs do not receive the necessary dental care to keep their teeth and gums in good condition.
Our vets in Union City often see dogs developing signs of gum disease (periodontal disease) or other dental problems by the time they turn 3 years old. This early onset of dental disease can have serious negative consequences for their long-term health.
The best way to maintain your dog's oral health is to combine at-home dental care with an annual professional dental exam.
How can I tell if my dog has a dental issue?
It's not always easy to detect early signs of dental health issues in dogs. That said, if you notice any of the following, it's time to book an appointment with your vet:
- Dropping food
- Excess drooling or blood in drool
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Chewing on one side
Common Dog Dental Issues
1. Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, is a condition that occurs when there is an excessive amount of plaque build-up on your pup's teeth. If plaque (a thin, sticky film of bacteria) isn't regularly removed, it can harden into a substance called calculus or tartar that becomes more difficult to remove.
Tartar buildup causes pockets to form between your dog's teeth and gum line where infection can develop. If gum disease isn't treated eventually your dog's teeth can become loose and fall out.
2. Oral Infections
When periodontal disease sets in, the empty spaces surrounding the tooth roots can become a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to an infection. This infection can cause significant discomfort for your dog and may result in a tooth root abscess.
In addition to the negative impact on oral health, a tooth infection can also have repercussions on your dog's overall well-being. Just like in humans, there is evidence linking periodontal disease to heart disease in dogs.
This occurs when bacteria from the mouth enters the bloodstream, potentially harming heart function and affecting other organs. These health concerns go beyond the obvious problems of eroded gums and damaged or missing teeth, further emphasizing the importance of addressing oral health issues in your furry companion.
3. Tooth Fractures
We all know dogs love to chew! However, as a pet parent, you should be aware that chewing on certain items, such as bones or very hard plastic can cause your pup's teeth to fracture or break. Tooth fractures are also more likely when your dog is chewing on an object that is too big for their mouth.
When selecting chew toys be sure to pick something that is an appropriate size and material for your dog. Speak to your vet about what they would recommend.
4. Retained Baby Teeth
All puppies have baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth. Usually, these teeth will naturally fall out by the time your dog reaches 6 months old. However, there are instances where some of the baby teeth may not shed on their own.
This can lead to overcrowding, increased plaque buildup, and difficulty in maintaining proper oral hygiene for your furry friend.
To prevent potential problems in the future, your veterinarian will likely recommend removing these retained baby teeth while your dog is under anesthesia. Often, vets perform this procedure during a spay or neuter surgery, taking advantage of the existing anesthesia.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.