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Common Dental Problems In Dogs

Common Dental Problems In Dogs

Taking care of your dog's teeth is an important part of caring for their oral and overall health. In today's post, our Zeeland vets discuss some common signs and types of dog dental problems.

Canine Dental Care

Keeping up with your dog's oral hygiene is essential to their overall well-being, but most dogs don't receive the dental health care they need to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Many vets see dogs developing signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) or other dental issues by the time they reach about 3 years of age. This early start to dental disease can have serious negative consequences for their long-term health.

The best way to make sure your dog maintains their oral health is to combine at-home dental care with annual professional dental exams.

Signs Of Dental Issues In Dogs

It isn't always easy to spot early signs of dental health issues in dogs, but if you notice any of the following it is time to make an appointment with your vet:

  • Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
  • Bleeding around the mouth
  • Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
  • Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
  • Excess drooling or blood in drool
  • Discolored teeth
  • Loose or broken teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Dropping food
  • Chewing on one side

Common Dog Dental Issues

1. Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a condition that occurs when there is an excessive amount of plaque buildup on your dog's teeth. If plaque (a thin, sticky film of bacteria) isn't regularly removed, it can quickly harden into a substance called calculus or tartar that becomes more difficult to remove.

Tartar buildup causes pockets to form between your dog's teeth and gum line, creating an ideal environment for bacterial growth. If gum disease isn't treated, eventually your dog's teeth can loosen and fall out.

2. Oral Infections

With periodontal disease, the pockets of open space around the tooth roots can become filled with bacteria, leading to an infection. This infection can cause a good deal of pain for your dog and can result in a tooth root abscess.

Besides the negative oral health impacts a tooth infection has, it can also negatively affect your dog's overall body health. Just as in humans, there have been links found between periodontal disease and heart disease in dogs. This is due to bacteria entering the bloodstream from the mouth, damaging heart function, and causing issues with other organs. These health issues are in addition to the more obvious problem of pain caused by eroded gums, and missing or damaged teeth.

3. Tooth Fractures

We all know dogs love to chew! However, as a pet parent, you should be aware that chewing on certain items, such as bones or very hard plastic can cause your pup's teeth to fracture or break. Tooth fractures are also more likely when your dog is chewing on an object that is too big for their mouth.

When selecting chew toys be sure to pick something that is an appropriate size and material for your dog. Speak to your vet about what they would recommend.

4. Retained Baby Teeth

All puppies have baby teeth (also called deciduous teeth). In most situations, these teeth will fall out by the time your dog reaches 6 months of age. However, in some cases some teeth will remain. This can cause over-crowding which can result in extra plaque build up and make it more difficult to keep your pup's mouth clean.

Typically, your vet will recommend these teeth be removed under anesthetic to prevent future issues. Many vets will do this when the dog is already under anesthesia for a spay or neuter.

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.

If your dog is showing signs of dental issues, contact us today to book an appointment.

Caring for Pets in Zeeland

Zeeland Veterinary Service is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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