Common Dog Dental Problems

Caring for your dog's teeth is essential to their oral and overall physical health. Here, our Middlesex vets share some common signs and types of dog dental problems. 

Dental Care for Dogs

Just like humans, dogs' mouths need to be kept clean - it's essential to their general health and well-being. However, most dogs don't receive the dental healthcare they require to keep their teeth and gums healthy. 

By the age of three, our veterinarians in Middlesex frequently see dogs with signs of gum disease (periodontal disease) or other dental problems. This early onset of dental disease can have serious long-term health 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 

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a condition that occurs when there is an excessive amount of plaque buildup on your dog's teeth. If plaque (a thin, sticky film of bacteria) is not regularly removed, it can harden into calculus or tartar, which is more difficult to remove.

Tartar buildup causes pockets to form between your dog's teeth and gum line where infection can develop. If gum disease isn't treated eventually your dog's teeth can become loose and fall out.

2. Oral Infections 

With periodontal disease, the open space around the tooth roots can become filled with bacteria, leading to an infection. This infection can cause a good deal of pain for your dog and can result in a tooth root abscess. 

Aside from the negative effects on your dog's oral health, a tooth infection can have a negative impact on his overall health. Periodontal disease and heart disease in dogs have been linked, just like in humans. This is due to bacteria entering the bloodstream through the mouth, causing heart function to suffer and other organs to malfunction. These health problems are in addition to the more visible issue of pain caused by eroded gums and missing or damaged teeth.

3. Tooth Fractures 

Dogs are known to enjoy chewing. As a pet owner, you should be aware that chewing on objects like bones or extremely hard plastic can lead to your dog's teeth breaking or fractures. When your dog is chewing on something that is too big for their mouth, tooth fractures are also more likely to occur.

When selecting chew toys be sure to pick something that is an appropriate size and material for your dog. Speak to your vet about what they would recommend. 

4. Retained Baby Teeth 

Each puppy has a set of baby teeth (also called deciduous teeth). Most of the time, by the time your dog is 6 months old, these teeth will have fallen out. Some teeth will, however, occasionally stay. This might result in crowding, which might lead to more plaque accumulation and make it harder to keep your dog's mouth clean.

Typically, your vet will recommend these teeth be removed under anesthetic to prevent future issues. Many vets will do this when the dog is already under anesthesia for a spay or neuter.

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.

Is your dog showing signs of a dental issue? Contact us today to book an appointment.