Watch for These Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

A veterinarian wearing blue gloves looks at a black and brown dog's teeth

Watch for These Warning Signs of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

Our furry companions brighten our lives with their unconditional love and playful antics. But just like us, they need proper dental care to maintain their overall health and well-being. Periodontal disease, often referred to as gum disease, is a common problem in dogs that can have serious consequences if left untreated. There are many warning signs of periodontal disease in dogs, as well as many preventative measures you can take for your pet.


Oral Hygiene Clues


  • Bad breath: Halitosis, or bad breath, is one of the first and most noticeable signs of dental problems. The bacteria that cause periodontal disease produce a foul-smelling odor.
  • Discolored teeth: Brown or yellow tartar buildup along the gumline is a clear indication of plaque accumulation and potential gum inflammation.
  • Bleeding gums: Gums that bleed easily when touched are a red flag for gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease.


Behavioral Changes


  • Difficulty chewing: Pain in the mouth due to inflamed gums or loose teeth can make chewing uncomfortable, leading your dog to favor one side of the mouth or avoid hard food altogether.
  • Drooling and pawing at the mouth: Excessive drooling and pawing at the mouth can indicate pain or discomfort caused by dental issues.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss: Difficulty chewing and mouth pain can lead to decreased appetite and weight loss in some dogs.
  • Irritability and grumpiness: Discomfort from periodontal disease can make your dog less playful and more irritable.


Additional Signs


  • Loose or missing teeth: Advanced periodontal disease can weaken the jawbone and lead to loose or missing teeth.
  • Facial swelling: In severe cases, infection can spread beyond the gums and cause facial swelling.


Early Detection is Key


If you notice any of these warning signs, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian dentist promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease can prevent more serious health problems down the line, including heart disease, kidney disease, and even bone loss.


Preventive Measures


The good news is that periodontal disease is largely preventable! Here are some tips to keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy:


  • Regular brushing: Brushing your dog’s teeth with a VOHC approved specific toothpaste is crucial.
  • Dental chews: Offer VOHC dental chews daily to help remove plaque and tartar buildup.
  • Professional cleanings: Schedule regular professional dental cleanings with full mouth dental radiographs at you dental veterinarian’s office.

By paying attention to your dog’s oral hygiene and seeking veterinary care when needed, you can help them maintain a healthy smile and enjoy a long, happy life!


Dog Dentist Knoxville


Make oral hygiene fun! Use positive reinforcement and praise your dog throughout the brushing process. Remember, a healthy mouth is a happy mouth, and a happy mouth means a happy healthy animal! Don’t ignore the warning signs of periodontal disease in dogs!

Photo by Tima Miroschnichenko from Pexels