According to veterinary experts, dental problems are a leading problem in adult dogs that can not only be sourced by a variety of issues, but they can result in an array of primary and secondary complications. In fact, it is purported that some type of periodontal disease or dental issue affect 87% of canines by age three. Let’s explore some common dental problems, their symptoms and potential preventives and solutions for them.
Signs Dogs Unwittingly Give When Teeth Hurt
Most animals have an internal predisposition to hide when they are in pain to avoid sending out any signals of weakness—even towards their human companions. However, teeth that are cracked, loose, infected, abscessed or signs of bleeding gums are signs that they are in pain.
Common indications that your canine has dental issues include:
- Rubbing their face against solid objects
- Unpleasant ‘doggie’ breath
- The visible accumulation of tartar or yellowing of the teeth
- Loss of appetite or changes in eating habits such as avoiding crunchy foods or treats
- Facial swelling or swollen gums that can be indicative of an abscess or infected tooth
- Excessive drooling
- Lumps in the mouth
- Bleeding of the gums or signs of blood on chew toys and in water bowls
- Head shyness (not wanting the head touched)
- Frequent bouts of nasal discharge and/or sneezing
Unfortunately, some pets don’t show any signs that they are having dental problems, which is why routine veterinary exams are so important in preventing additional complications.
Complications of Untreated Canine Dental Issues
Dental issues in dogs can result in further reaching problems than just pain when they are left untreated. The most common example would be in cases of gingivitis (aka gum disease), which is the most predominant dental ailment of humans as well.
Left unchecked, gingivitis increases the chances of infections and issues such as pathologic jaw fractures that result from the weakening of the bones. Additionally, gum disease alone is known for causing receding gums, which is a primary precursor to tooth loss.
Abscessed and broken teeth also can lead to life-threatening complications of the liver, heart and kidney functions, as the infection travels through the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body. Clearly, preventive measures and treatment can help reverse or manage certain conditions.
Preventing Oral Disease in Dogs
The best way to reveal and prevent any type of dental issues in dogs is through routine at-home care and routine veterinary visits for examinations. Vets often recommend daily tooth brushing for dogs using either a dog toothbrush and dog toothpaste or finger swipe brushes. This helps reduce buildup that forms tartar on teeth as well as cleansing the gum line to stave off gingivitis.
Giving your dog high-quality food or adding dog teeth cleaning products and dog dental chews will help scrub their teeth as they feast. There are also several types of dog dental sprays and even dog dental water additives for picky eaters that provide the same benefits. Keeping those teeth busy with soft goodies like rawhide strips and rubbery toys can be a huge asset for owners—especially those with canines who are highly resistant to cooperating during brushings.
Suspect Problems? Here’s What to Do Now
Keep an eye on your dog’s diet and pay special attention to any type of avoidance behaviors they have developed. It is often the smallest signs that animals allow their owners to see, but they certainly won’t present themselves and announce they need to see the vet for teeth medications.
If you suspect that your pet is having some type of tooth-related problem, putting off care can be dangerous to their well-being in the long term. Find a local veterinarian to establish a relationship with to ensure that your precious pup enjoys a pain-free life without oral problems.