It can be hard to tell when a dog is feeling unwell. A slight change in behavior or appearance may go unnoticed, but it can be symptomatic of something more. Gum disease often hides among a dog’s regular functions and is therefore difficult to catch. However, it is important to understand the symptoms to avoid a major problem.
Here’s What Happens
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs as a result of excessive plaque buildup. This may affect a single tooth, an isolated area, or the entire mouth. Plaque buildup creates cavities between the teeth and gums, allowing bacteria to enter and grow. Eventually, a dog with unchecked gum disease will experience tooth and bone loss. It can also facilitate heart disease, as bad bacteria from the mouth continues to move through the circulatory system.
While gum disease is extremely silent, there are a few ways to detect it before it becomes a serious problem. Usually, the earliest way to tell is by smelling your dog’s breath. Dogs with especially foul-smelling breath may have it as a result of excessive plaque buildup. You may also catch early to intermediate-stage periodontal disease by monitoring your dog closely. Are your dog’s gums red or swollen? Do they have any yellow or brown teeth? Do they have an abnormal appetite? These are signs of gum disease.
In the later stages of gum disease, dogs will begin to show signs of discomfort. They may have problems picking up or eating food. The aforementioned symptoms will be much worse, with physically loose teeth and bloody saliva.
If you notice anything abnormal, schedule a trip to the vet. The official diagnosis of periodontal disease must come from a number of lab tests.
In the early stages of periodontal disease, deep cleaning is essential. Your vet may prescribe products or simply suggest a professional tooth cleaning. Dental wash is an increasingly popular way to prevent and even reverse some of the damage caused by gum disease. Talk to your vet about which option best suits your dog. Intermediate stages are marked by a clear separation of the teeth and gums. This space will need to be cleaned by a vet. Additionally, your dog may require antibiotics. In the late stages, invasive procedures such as tooth extraction and bone replacement become necessary.
Due to the severity of periodontal disease, prevention is extremely important. Good dental hygiene is the only defense against plaque buildup and bad bacteria. Brush your dog’s teeth every day using pet-safe toothpaste, and schedule regular professional teeth cleanings at your local groomer or veterinary office.
Claws N Paws Day Spa is a full-service grooming salon where your pet’s health and hygiene are made a priority. Contact us at 714-962-1005 or visit our location in Fountain Valley, California for more information on our services.