The most common dog dental health problems, their symptoms, and what action to take.
A dog’s teeth are designed for catching and killing prey. But most dogs no longer need to use them for that purpose and, as often happens with equipment that is no longer used, decay sets in.
It is estimated that up to 70% of domestic dogs develop gum disease by the age of four – a frightening statistic when you consider that gum disease can quickly escalate to more serious dog dental health problems if left untreated.
Plaque becomes tartar, gingivitis sets in, bacterial infection leads to peridontal disease, bacterial infection spreads, and before you know it, it has entered the blood stream and affected the heart, liver and kidneys.
It is therefore vital that you regularly check and clean your dog’s teeth. Bad breath is often the first sign of a dog dental health problem, but if you notice swollen and bleeding gums and loose teeth seek vet help immediately.
Here’s a list of the most common dog dental health problems you should be aware of.
|Abscess||Abcesses to the tooth roots often show up as swelling and may require root canal work to correct.|
|Teeth can be chipped and broken during play, fighting or when chewing on hard objects.|
|If a dog has distemper in puppyhood they adult teeth may become stained and decayed and will have to be removed.|
|Gingivitis||An infection causing inflammation and sensitivity of the gums.|
|This destroys the cement holding teeth in place. The teeth become loose and have to be removed.|
|A disease common to the boxer breed, in which the gums grow over the teeth. Can be treated with antbiotics but may require surgery if in an advanced stage.|
|A common dog dental health problem in small breeds. The dog does not loose its milk teeth so when the adult teeth appear there are 8 canine teeth instead of four. A vet will have to remove the milk teeth.|
|Tartar||A hardened form of plaque that forms on teeth catching food particles and causing gum infections. Reduce the risk by routine brushing of the dogs teeth but if tartar has alrady formed a vet will have to scale and polish the teeth.|
|Like humans, dogs get cavities. Teeth can be filled but often the best course for dog dental health is to pull the affected tooth.|
|Except in breeds like Boxers or Bulldogs where it is normal, jaws should always align perfectly. No action is necessary unless it causes the dog pain or discomfort in which case a vet can align the jaws with a brace.|
Check your dog’s teeth regularly for dog dental health problems as they can quickly escalate and cause more serious infections.