identifying dental disease in a dog

Dental disease is one of the most common diseases in dogs, especially in older animals. If caught early then the damage is easily reversible, but left untreated it can lead to tooth or bone loss which can require surgery. Make sure you keep your dog’s mouth healthy by learning as much as you can about dental disease with our useful information below.

What is Dog Dental Disease?

If your dog is diagnosed with a dental disease, it is likely to be periodontal disease, also known as gum disease. This starts with an inflammation in the gums and progresses to a stage where the affected tooth is no longer fully attached to the gums, affecting the deep supporting structure of your dog’s bite.

Causes of Canine Dental Problems

There are many factors that can lead to periodontal disease in your pet. The most common cause in dogs is a build up of either streptococcus or actinomyces bacteria, but it can also be caused by poor nutrition or general bad hygiene. If bacteria, food particles or other debris are allowed to build up along your dog’s gumline then this can form a plaque which can ultimately lead to gingivitis. Certain breeds of toy dog have crowded teeth which gives them a much higher chance of developing dental issues.

Diagnosing Your Pet’s Dental Disease

There are a few simple ways you can check your dog for dental disease at home –

  • Bad breath is one of the early signs of gum disease or gingivitis so if your dog’s breath is stinky (or worse than usual!) then this could be an indicator.
  • Check your pet’s gums to make sure they are not red or swollen
  • Look over their teeth – if they are discoloured in any way, coming loose or missing then these are disease indicators
  • Think about your pet’s appetite – if your dog has periodontal disease it may be eating less than usual due to pain, or avoiding its usual chew toys or bones.

If you suspect dental disease, then it’s time for a trip to the vet. Here we will be able to take an x-ray to confirm the diagnosis and discover the extent to which the disease has spread.

Treatment for Canine Periodontal Disease

The treatment your vet prescribes will depend on the severity of the disease. If a gum inflammation is caught early then treatment will focus on controlling and reducing plaque by daily tooth brushing and professional tooth cleaning, often with fluoride application. If the disease is more advanced then your dog could need a deep dental clean, antibiotics or even tooth or bone replacement.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

Don’t let all this talk of dental disease scare you – it’s very easy to keep your dog in top oral health just by regularly brushing their teeth and gums, using specialist dental chews, maintaining a healthy diet and taking your pet for regular check ups with your vet.

Arrange a dental check up for your furry friend today – call the Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital team on 08 6555 5149 or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

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