Poor oral hygiene for pets can lead to serious concerns such as gum disease. Today our Gillette vet dentists share some information about periodontal disease in dogs, why it happens and what you can do to prevent it from developing.
Periodontal Disease: How it Affects Your Dog's Oral Health
Periodontitis affects more than just the smell of your dog's breath. If left untreated it can lead to very serious conditions affecting more than just their teeth. Much like tooth decay in humans, dogs with periodontal disease typically don’t show any obvious symptoms until the condition reaches more advanced stages.
When the symptoms of periodontal disease do begin to show, your dog may already be experiencing ongoing pain, tooth loss, gum erosion, or even bone loss as the supporting structures of your dog's teeth are weakened or lost.
What are the factors behind the development of periodontal disease?
When your dog has a build-up of plaque (made up of tons of bacteria), it only takes a matter of days to harden and become tartar. This tartar is much more difficult to get rid of once it forms.
When left untreated the tartar will continue to build up and eventually pull the gums away from the teeth, causing pockets in the gums where bacteria can grow and become infected. At this stage, abscesses may begin to form, tissue and bone deterioration can occur, and your dog's teeth may start to loosen and fall out.
Smaller dog breeds may actually experience broken jaws as a complication of gum disease.
The development of periodontal disease in dogs can also be associated with poor nutrition and diet in some dogs. Other factors that may contribute to the development of periodontal disease in dogs can include dirty toys, excessive grooming habits, and crowded teeth.
What symptoms are typically associated with periodontal disease?
In the early stages, there aren't likely to be many symptoms that your dog is outwardly showing. Some of the symptoms that you may see include:
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Loose or missing teeth teeth
- Blood on chew toys or in the water bowl
- Excessive drooling
- Favoring one side of the mouth when chewing
- Reduced appetite
- Discolored teeth (yellow or brown)
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
- Problems keeping food in the mouth
- Weight loss
- Bloody or “ropey” saliva
Periodontal is a serious health condition that should be treated immediately. As the condition worsens it can begin to cause severe ongoing pain and other symptoms.
When your dog is suffering from periodontal disease there will be a build-up of bacteria on their teeth and gums. If left untreated, this bacteria can enter the body and infect your dog's heart and other organs.
What are the treatment options for periodontal disease in dogs?
If your dog is developing or suffering from the symptoms of periodontal disease, your Gillette vet dentists are likely to recommend dog dental cleaning and other dental procedures.
Like most other services, the cost of veterinary dental appointments will vary depending on your pet and the service needed. Speak with your vet about how much your dog's visit will be.
All dental procedures for dogs are done under general anesthetic. This helps to keep both you and your pet safe. Pre-anesthesia blood work is also an important step to determine whether your pet is healthy enough for anesthesia medications.
When your dog undergoes veterinary dentistry, it will include:
- IV catheter and IV fluids
- Dental radiographs (x-rays)
- Pre-anesthesia blood work & anesthesia monitoring
- Endotracheal intubation, inhaled anesthetic, and oxygen
- Circulating warm air to ensure the patient remains warm while under anesthesia
- Scaling, polishing, and lavage of gingival areas
- Extractions as required (with local anesthesia such as novocaine)
- Pain medication during and post-procedure
Can you help prevent the occurrence of periodontal disease in dogs?
While there are treatment options available, the best form of defense against periodontal disease is routine oral care. This dental care can include:
Bring Your Dog in For Professional Dental Care
To help prevent periodontal disease in your dog, be sure not to neglect your dog's oral health. Ongoing veterinary dentistry appointments are a sure way of helping to protect your dog from a number of dental diseases.
Bringing your dog in for routine dental care is the same as you visiting your dentist. It is recommended that most dogs see the cat and dog dentist about every six months for an oral health evaluation.
When your dog visits for a routine exam and dog dental cleaning in Gillette, you are providing them with a foundation for good oral health.
If you have any concerns about your dog's dental health, the best time to bring these up is while you are at a dental appointment and your vet dentist is already looking at their teeth.
Be Sure to Provide Adequate At-Home Oral Care For Your Dog
While routine professional dental care is a great step that shouldn't be missed, you should also be sure to provide daily at-home oral care. You should brush your dog's teeth daily in order to help clear away bacteria and keep your dog's mouth clean between visits. You may also want to offer your dog specially formulated dental chews and dog food, as well as supply your dog with fun-to-chew dental care toys to help address dental disease and reduce the buildup of tartar.
If your dog is showing signs of periodontal disease such as swollen or inflamed gums, appetite changes, or missing teeth, book an appointment with your vet dentist as soon as possible. Keep in mind that your dog may be in a lot of pain while experiencing this condition and seeking treatment as soon as possible is recommended.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.