You most likely understand the importance of brushing your own teeth, but you may not realize your dog also requires dental care of their mouth, teeth, and gums. While shocking to learn, most dogs have some sort of periodontal disease by three years of age. If your dog has a form of gum disease, they will experience a great deal of uncomfortable swelling and bleeding in their gums, but they may also lose one or more teeth due to the disease. By understanding the four stages of periodontal disease, you will learn if your dog is showing any signs of this common condition.
Food residue, plaque, and tartar can quickly build up on your dog's teeth. Your dog's teeth may have a slight discoloration, appearing yellow or brown in places.
The buildup of plaque and tartar will also be evident on your dog's gum tissue. Gums may be red and slightly swollen.
If you notice these signs, consult your veterinarian to begin treatment. A thorough brushing and cleaning of the teeth will be suggested. This may involve putting your dog under anesthesia to ensure the most effective treatment.
With efficient diagnosis and treatment, your veterinarian can stop the gum disease from progressing.
As the gum disease progresses to stage 2, the gum tissue will appear more red and swollen.
Brushing your dog's teeth will be painful for them. Gums may bleed while your dog is eating or while you are brushing their teeth. The swelling of the gums can be so severe, teeth are less visible in the mouth.
Most dogs have bad breath, but gum disease can cause breath to be even more foul.
The veterinarian may suggest x-rays to determine the severity of the gum disease. The infected gum tissue may cause some bone loss, which will eventually cause the teeth to fall out.
Again, a full cleaning of the teeth will be necessary to prevent further damage to your dog's teeth and gums.
Gum disease that progresses to stage 3 may result in actual loss of one or more teeth. The gum tissue will appear dark red and very swollen. Bleeding of the tissue is likely.
Your veterinarian will recommend extracting teeth that are infected by the gum disease. Scaling away heavy tartar from the teeth and gums while your dog is under anesthesia will also be important to reduce the risk of further tooth loss.
Stage 4 is a more severe form of periodontal disease. Your dog may have already lost multiple teeth.
Gum tissue will appear dark red, brown, and even black in areas. Your dog's saliva may also be tinged with blood.
Extracting infected teeth, even if some have already been lost, is essential to stopping the disease from spreading. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to treat the infection in the gum tissue.
Placing importance on your dog's oral health is imperative. With this guide, you will learn the signs of periodontal disease, so you and your veterinarian can protect the health and look of your dog's mouth. Contact a vet office like Healthy Paws Veterinary Hospital & Housecalls for more information and assistance.