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Periodontal Disease in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Your dog’s oral and overall health can be greatly affected by periodontal disease. The Tracy vet team talks to you about the symptoms, causes and treatment options that accompany it. They also explain various tips on how you can prevent dental health issues at home.

Periodontal Disease in Dogs

Periodontitis bacteria can severely impact a dog’s oral cavity. Often, this disease invades their mouth undetected without any signs or symptoms till it becomes worse. Yet, gum disease can create gum erosion, loss of bone and teeth as well as, chronic pain. The teeth supporting structures can also become weak or lost.

When food particles and bacteria gather along the gum line when not being brushed off with routine tooth brushing, it can create plaque that hardens into calculus, which is commonly known as tartar. Causing irritation and inflammation to occur in the gum line and surrounding areas (this problem is also called gingivitis). Starting the first stages of gum disease.

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

There are several indicating symptoms of dog periodontitis pet parents should look out for such as:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Bleeding or inflamed gums
  • Discolored teeth (brown or yellow)
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Blood in water bowl or on chew toys
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Irritability
  • Drop in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bloody or “ropey” saliva
  • Favoring one side of the mouth when chewing

When you begin to notice  the signs of advanced periodontitis in your dog, they can be in a lot of chronic pain. When in pain pets often instinctively self-isolate to hide any sign of weakness from predators.

Sadly, the affects and symptoms of periodontal disease don't just remain in your canine companions mouth - the condition may cause problems with major organs leading to heart disease, because the mouth's bacteria may enter your dog's blood stream and reside in the areas around the heart.

Periodontal Disease Causes

Bacteria in your dog's mouth builds up and eventually becomes plaque, which find other minerals hardening in about two or three days. Then calculus beings to form on the teeth and getting harder to clean away.

The immune system will start trying to fight the bacteria build up creating reactions like obvious signs of gum disease and inflamed gums.

Poor nutrition and diet may contribute to whether or not your pooch will develop periodontal disease. Environmental  factors like  oral hygiene, your dogs grooming habits (frequent self licking), dirty toys, the alignment of teeth (dogs that have crowded teeth become more susceptible to gum disease).

How to Treat Periodontal Disease in Dogs 

Dental procedure costs like tooth cleaning can vary greatly based on the needs of your pet, the level of care your vet provides and other factors. Your pup will require blood work before the anesthesia to make sure they are healthy enough to take the medication (which can develop other issues in dogs with an organ disease). 

Any dental procedure must include:

  • Pre-anesthesia blood work
  • A complete set of dental radiographs
  • Anesthesia monitoring
  • IV catheter and IV fluids
  • Scaling, polishing and lavage of gingival areas
  • Pain medication during and after the procedure
  • Circulating warm air to ensure patient stays warm while under anesthesia
  • Endotracheal intubation, inhaled anesthetic and oxygen
  • Local anesthesia such as novocaine, if any extractions are needed

How To Prevent Your Dog from Getting Periodontal Disease

Luckily, we as dog parents can help in stopping our furry friends from developing periodontal disease, even the condition is able to be reversed and treated  -  when found early.

Do not neglect or procrastinate when it comes to your pups oral health. As it is with us humans people, dogs need regular dental appointments to maintain oral hygiene and spot any issues before they can advance. Your dog should visit the vet once annually to have their oral health examined. 

Annual visits give you the opportunity to inquire about any questions or concerns you have about at-home dental care, and you will learn how frequently your dog should visit the vet for professional teeth cleanings (some dogs require more dental care then others).

Stop dental issues from becoming unmanageable situations between appointments by brushing your pooch's teeth daily in order to prevent plaque and bacteria from building on their teeth. You should also only use a toothpaste tailored for dogs.

Other items available to address dental issues and reduce tartar build up include a variety of dental chews,  chew toys and food. There is a  warning: do not attempt replacing regular teeth brushing with these  items - consider them as extra assistance to  help regulate oral care. If you see your dog has missing teeth, inflamed or swollen gums or changes in their appetite book an appointment with your veterinarian immediately.

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.

Is it time for your dog's annual dental appointment? Our Tracy vets can examine your pet's health to make sure their gums and teeth are in good shape. Book an appointment today.

Looking for quality veterinary care for your pet in Tracy?

(209) 832-8882