A topic that might not always be at the forefront of every pet owner’s mind is dental disease in dogs. It’s a common issue, yet often overlooked, and it can have significant impacts on your dog’s health and quality of life. We’re here to guide you through understanding, preventing, and managing dental disease in your beloved pet. If you have any concerns or need personalized advice from us, call Arrowhead Animal Hospital at (303) 469-1616. Let’s ensure your dog’s smile stays bright and healthy.
Understanding Dental Disease in Dogs
Dental disease is a progressive condition that can be categorized into four stages.
In the first stage, dogs develop gingivitis or inflammation of the gums. This is mildly uncomfortable for dogs, but they tend to push through it and eat, play, and interact as normal.
In the second stage, gum recession starts, as the bacterial infection eats away at the gum tissue and supporting structures of the teeth.
Stage three sees much of the same but with more significant changes. The gums recede further, and teeth start becoming loose due to the weakening of their supporting structures. Tartar hardens into calculus on the teeth and below the gum line.
By stage four, there is significant bone loss and calculus buildup on the teeth, and many teeth likely have to be extracted. Gum tissue death contributes to halitosis (bad breath) caused by the buildup of calculus, and the bacteria in the mouth is at risk of entering the bloodstream.
What are the Signs of Dental Disease in Dogs?
Unfortunately, dogs are adept at hiding discomfort, so the signs of dental disease might be subtle at best. Look out for symptoms or behavioral changes like reluctance to eat hard food, bleeding gums, increased irritability, yellowish/brownish buildup along the gum line (flip your pet’s lip to check), or a sudden change in eating or chewing habits. Regular dental checkups at a veterinarian are the best way for us to detect signs of dental disease in your pet.
Slow the Progression of Disease with Professional Dental Care
Professional teeth cleaning by a veterinarian is a key step in preventing dental disease in dogs. This procedure, performed under anesthesia, allows for a thorough cleaning above and below the gumline. It’s a safe and effective way to remove plaque and tartar buildup and can halt the progression of dental disease in its tracks. Remember, only your veterinarian can provide this level of cleaning, which is vital for maintaining your dog’s oral health.
At-Home Dental Care: Empowering Pet Owners
Teeth brushing is the first line of defense against dental disease in dogs. It might seem as though it would be difficult to teach a dog to tolerate teeth brushing, but it gets easier with practice, patience, and positive reinforcement! It’s also an effective way to protect your dog’s mouth from bacterial infection. Start slowly, using a toothbrush and toothpaste designed specifically for dogs, and make it a positive experience for your pet. Consistency is key – aim to brush your dog’s teeth daily!
Talk to Your Vet About Recommended Dental Products
It’s also important to talk to your vet at Arrowhead Animal Hospital about dental care products. There are various products, like toothbrushes, dental chews, and special diets, that can significantly improve your dog’s oral health. Look for products endorsed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council, as they meet specific standards for plaque and tartar control.
Why Include Dental Chews and Diets?
Incorporating dental chews and special diets into your dog’s routine can also play a significant role in keeping dental disease at bay. These products work by mechanically removing plaque and tartar as your dog chews. However, they should complement, not replace, regular brushing and professional teeth cleanings.
Regular Oral Examinations
Keep an eye on your dog’s teeth and gums, checking regularly for any signs of disease. If you notice anything unusual, it’s time to visit Arrowhead Animal Hospital. Early intervention can prevent more serious problems.
Helpful Tips for Dental Health Maintenance
Use these tips to build a comprehensive dental care routine for your pet.
Establish a Routine
Establishing a routine for your dog’s dental care is essential. Consistency with brushing, professional cleanings, and the use of dental products can make a huge difference in the prevention of dental disease.
Monitor Your Dog’s Behavior
Pay attention to your dog’s behavior and eating habits. Changes in these can often indicate dental issues. Early detection and treatment are key to managing dental health effectively.
Schedule Routine Dental Checkups
Visit your veterinarian at least once a year for a checkup. These visits allow us to assess your dog’s dental health and look for early warning signs of infection. If necessary, we can recommend a professional teeth cleaning and answer any questions you have about the procedure.
Talk to Us About Your Pet’s Dental Health Needs
At Arrowhead Animal Hospital, we’re your partners in keeping your dog healthy and happy. With the right care and attention, you can prevent dental disease and help your dog enjoy a healthy, pain-free life. Contact us for more dental care tips or schedule a dental checkup online. We look forward to helping you maintain your pet’s pearly whites for years to come.