The thought of our dogs silently suffering from a easily preventable illness is absolutely heartbreaking. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, as many as 4 out of 5 dogs over the age of 3 are suffering from a disease that is not only painful, but outright deadly.
What are we talking about? Canine periodontal disease.
Unfortunately periodontal disease is more than just a cosmetic issue. In addition to causing inflammation, tooth loss, and pain for your dog, bacteria that starts in the gums can work its way into the bloodstream and affect the lungs, the kidneys, and even the heart. This condition could be causing your dog to suffer in silence.
Which Dog Breeds Suffer Most from Periodontal Disease?
While all dogs are susceptible, the following breeds are significantly more predisposed to periodontal disease:
- Poodles (Toy & Standard)
- Yorkshire Terriers
- Shetland Sheepdogs (Shelties)
- Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Note that if your dog is a mix with any of the breeds above, they are likely to have inherited the breed’s predisposition towards dental troubles.
6 Common Signs of Periodontal Disease in Dogs
#1 – Bad Breath
#2 – Drooling
#3 – Tooth loss
#4 – Pawing at the mouth or difficulty chewing
#5 – Loss of appetite
#6 – Irritability
Keep in mind however, that if your dog is not exhibiting any of these signs, it does not mean you are in the clear. Our resident veterinarian, Dr. Kathryn Primm shares, “I would venture to say that the most important thing for people to know about dental disease is that most of the time, they won’t even see a sign at all. Sometimes there are no signs because the disease is under the gum line.”
What Does Periodontal Disease Look Like?
The following video is from a real dental cleaning at our resident vet’s clinic (Dr. Kathryn Primm). You will see discolored teeth, loose teeth, receding gums, and more. This is EXTREMELY painful for the pup and requires a very intensive cleaning from your Vet.
The Solution Is Simple in Theory, But Difficult in Practice
Most dogs parents know that we should be brushing our dog’s teeth daily. Many of us, myself included, find this ritual especially taxing between the demands of everyday life and the fact that most pups absolutely abhor this ritual.
Most veterinarians recommend periodic dental anesthetized dental assessment and cleaning. In the hands of a skillful veterinarian, dog lovers should not fear anesthesia. It is the only way for the teeth to be truly evaluated. In between the cleanings, you can help keep the teeth healthy with the following easy at home practices.
4 Easy Daily Habits to Improve Your Dog’s Dental Health
#1 – Chewing: Chewing can act as nature’s toothbrush. However, because typical dog food kibble tends to be high in carbs (leading to the accumulation of food around the gums) chewing regular old dog kibble simply isn’t enough. Durable toys with an abrasive surface that help grind away plaque and tartar buildup.
#2 – Canine Dental Treats: Dental chews are a fantastic way to stimulate mechanical abrasion and remove debris and plaque from the mouth. In our research however, many of the products on the market contain a laundry list of questionable ingredients, artificial coloring and preservatives, or wheat and gluten. (This research actually led us to to spend over a year developing our own line of Grain Free Dental Chews)
#3 – Canine Dental Sprays: Using an antimicrobial dental spray for dogs is a great way to help keep your dog’s mouth fresh and clean. If used consistently, they can prevent buildup that leads to plaque. On a per use basis, they are more affordable than dental chews.
#4 – Canine Dental Wipes: Similar to dental sprays, antimicrobial dental wipes for dogs help clean the surfaces of teeth and freshen breath. Similarly, on a per use basis they are also a lot more economical compared to dental chews.
The bottom line is this: Whatever you do, do something! Your dog deserves the best, and while its easy to forget about their dental health, it contributes immensely to their overall health.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional.