Caring for your dog's teeth is essential to their oral and overall physical health. Here, our Little Rock vets share some common signs and types of dog dental problems.
Dental Care for Dogs
Keeping dogs' mouths clean is crucial for their overall health and well-being, just like it is for humans. Unfortunately, many dogs do not get the necessary dental care to maintain the health of their teeth and gums.
Dogs often develop gum disease or other dental problems by the age of three, as observed by our veterinarians in Little Rock. Their health can be seriously affected by the early onset of dental disease, leading to long-term consequences.
The best way to maintain your dog's oral health is to combine at-home dental care with an annual professional dental exam.
How can I tell if my dog has a dental issue?
It's not always easy to detect early signs of dental health issues in dogs. That said, if you notice any of the following, it's time to book an appointment with your vet:
- Dropping food
- Excess drooling or blood in drool
- Plaque or tartar buildup on teeth
- Bleeding around the mouth
- Swelling or pain in or around the mouth
- Bad breath
- Discolored teeth
- Loose or broken teeth
- Extra teeth or retained baby teeth
- Chewing on one side
Common Dog Dental Issues
1. Periodontal Disease
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, develops when there is a buildup of plaque on your dog's teeth. When plaque is left unattended, it can transform into calculus or tartar, making it much harder to eliminate.
When tartar builds up, it forms pockets between your dog's teeth and gum line, potentially resulting in infection. Without treatment, gum disease can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss in your dog.
2. Oral Infections
Bacteria can gather in the empty space around the tooth roots with periodontal disease, leading to an infection. This infection can cause your dog a great deal of pain and may even result in a tooth root abscess.
Your dog's general health can be seriously impacted by a tooth infection, not to mention the negative effects it has on oral health. Periodontal disease and heart disease have a connection in dogs, similar to humans. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream, causing harm to heart function and disrupting the operation of other organs. Aside from the obvious discomfort caused by receding gums and teeth that are missing or damaged, there are also various health concerns to consider.
3. Tooth Fractures
We all know that dogs love to chew. It's important for pet owners to be aware that chewing on certain objects, like bones or very hard plastic, can lead to tooth fractures or breakage in dogs. In addition, if your dog chews on something that is too big for their mouth, they are at a higher risk of suffering a tooth fracture.
Make sure to choose chew toys that are the right size and material for your dog. Consult your vet to get their professional recommendation.
4. Retained Baby Teeth
Every puppy has baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth. Typically, your dog's teeth will fall out by the time they reach 6 months old. In certain situations, some teeth may remain. Overcrowding can make it harder to maintain your dog's oral hygiene and may result in more plaque buildup.
Your vet will usually suggest removing these teeth under anesthesia to prevent any potential problems down the line.This is often done by many veterinarians while the dog is already under anesthesia for a spay or neuter procedure.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.