Did you know that gum disease is extremely prevalent in our canine companions? According to research by Cornell University, as many as 90% of dogs over the age of three have gum disease. Fido can also be afflicted by many other issues. A local vet discusses doggy dental woes in this article from Hassayampa Veterinary Services, serving Wickenburg and the surrounding communities.
As mentioned above, gum disease is extremely common in dogs. As with people, it is painless and asymptomatic in its early stages, but can lead to tooth shifting and/or loss. Plus, the infection can spread to Fido’s heart, liver, and kidneys. Overcrowding is another common problem, and one that we often see in small dogs. (Little pooches just don’t have a lot of room for the 42 adult teeth most dogs have!) Other issues that may afflict our canine buddies include abscesses, infections, and misalignments. Dogs also have a tendency to crack or break their teeth playing with sticks and other hard objects.
Fido can’t tell you if his teeth hurt, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for warning signs. Some things to watch for include bad breath; excessive, ropy, or bloody drool; swelling; bleeding gums; and visible tartar buildup. Dogs also sometimes give off clues through their behavior and eating habits. Your furry friend may not feel very playful, and he may act grumpy, withdrawn, or sad. Pets with dental issues may also dribble food, chew on one side of their mouth, eat more slowly than usual, or show a marked preference for soft foods. Contact your vet right away if you notice any of these red flags. Dental problems can be both very dangerous and very painful!
While some issues, such as malocclusion (misalignments) are genetic, others, such as gum disease, can be prevented or at least slowed with proper care. The most effective thing you can do would be to brush Fido’s teeth. Use only products made for dogs, and take time to get your pup used to the process. Of course, some pooches just won’t tolerate having their choppers cleaned. Don’t force the issue. Instead, ask your vet to recommend doggy dental products. Oral rinses, dental flakes, dental treats and chews, and dental-formula kibble are all formulated to fight plaque and tartar.
Do you have questions about doggy dental care? Contact us here at Hassayampa Veterinary Services, serving Wickenburg and the surrounding communities, today!