Dental care is essential to any dog's overall health, as gum disease and infection can affect major organs in a dog if not treated promptly. In this post, our Mahopac vets share some common dental problems in dogs.
Dental Care for Dogs
Like people, your dog's mouth needs to be cleaned regularly for their dental health. This is essential to your pup's wellbeing. It is unfortunately common for dogs not to receive the level of dental care they require.
Many vets see their canine patients developing periodontal or dental disease before the age of 3. This early onset of dental disease can have serious negative consequences for your pup's long-term health. First and foremost, you can help your dog's dental health by taking them in for an annual professional dental exam.
How can I tell if my dog has a dental issue?
If you notice any of the following signs of dental issues in your dog, take them to the vet right away:
- 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
Below are 4 of the most common dental issues in dogs.
1. Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease or "gum disease" is occurs when there is an excessive amount of plaque build-up on a dog's teeth. If plaque is not regularly cleaned from the teeth, it hardens into tartar, which is much more difficult to remove and can lead to infections, tooth loss or gum recession.
2. Oral Infections
The space around the tooth roots can become filled with bacteria, leading to an infection if not cleaned out frequently. An infection at the root can cause your dog a great deal of pain.
Besides the negative oral health impacts a tooth infection has, it can also negatively affect your dog's overall body health. Just as in humans, there have been links found between periodontal disease and heart disease in dogs. This is due to bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, damaging heart function, and causing issues with other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.
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 called deciduous teeth). In most situations, these teeth will fall out by the time your dog reaches 6 months of age. However, in some cases, some of the teeth will remain. This can cause over-crowding which can result in extra plaque buildup and make it more difficult to keep your pup's mouth clean.
Typically, your vet will recommend these teeth be removed under anesthetic to prevent future issues. Many vets will do this when the dog is already under anesthesia for a spay or neuter.
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.