Do you brush your teeth after everyday? Twice a day? After every meal? We all know the importance of oral health. How about your dog’s oral health? Do you know the state of your dog’s teeth?
Preventing dental disease in dogs is an important issue, which dog lovers or dog owners need to pay more attention to. Nowadays, dental disease is increasingly given priority in the health schedule of the dog because of the association of dental diseases with systemic diseases. So, what should a loving dog owner look out for?
Photo by Daria Shevtsova
Symptoms of dental disease in dogs
- Bleeding: If there is evidence of bleeding from the mouth, the dog needs to be examined thoroughly for any developing issues. Puppies, and sometimes adult dogs may have teeth injuries. These need to be attended to immediately as a preventive step. If not, secondary bacterial infections can develop.
- Bad Breath: Has your dog recently developed bad breath? This can indicate an issue with oral and dental health.
- Loose teeth: If your dog has a loose tooth or loses a tooth, please visit your vet to establish the cause and get ahead of it.
- Problems eating or picking up chew toys: A quick visit to the vet is advisable if you notice your dog having trouble or making noises while eating or playing, as this could indicate pain.
- Excessive drooling or discharge: A discharge may indicate a serious infection and may require immediate care.
Treating dental disease in dogs
Many of us have not heard about dental care for our dogs as its still a relatively new area but according to statistics, 80 percent of dogs show signs of oral disease by the age of 3.
Should you notice any of the above symptoms, a quick visit to your vet is helpful. Treatment plan depends on how much damage is present.
Stage 1: The first stage is inflammation of the gums caused by tartar and bacteria and you may observe swollen gums.
Stage 2: The second stage involves bone loss of up to 25%. Bad breath, gum inflammation may be present. Your pooch will require a professional cleaning at the vet’s to manage and reverse the damage.
Stage 3: This stage has 25-50% bone loss and possibly bleeding. Your dog may also be in a moderate to severe amount of pain. The vet will most probably remove any damaged teeth.
Stage 4: This is the final stage of dental disease and characterizes bone loss of over 50%. This serious stage does not only affect the oral area but may be involved systemic infections due to bacteria from the mouth entering the bloodstream and spreading throughout the body. This is potentially fatal.
Preventing dog dental disease
Preventing dental disease in dogs is cheaper (and less painful) than treating. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Photo by Gabriel Alves
A good and balanced diet is always the foundation to all good health. Talk to your vet to figure out what is the right and optimal diet to support dental health. Avoid acidic foods to prevent possible teeth erosion and damage.
Dog tooth brushes are available to provide better dental care to dogs. However, one has to allot time and exercise patience. Ask your vet to show you the proper brushing technique.
Regular oral examination needs to be scheduled to rule out and catch any emerging problems early.
Provide your dog with safe, teeth friendly toys that they can chew on everyday. These can include thin rawhide strips, rubber balls and toys. You can also give your teething puppy with appropriate chew toys that will encourage healthy, strong teeth to develop.
To give your dog a long and healthy life, remember that that includes dental hygiene. The above tips will help you identify, treat and prevent doggie dental disease.