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Common Dental Problem in Dogs

Dental problems are common in dogs. Our Santa Clarita vets can help identify, treat, and prevent dental issues in your dog.

Plaque & Tartar Buildup

Like humans, dogs can develop plaque and tartar buildup on their teeth, particularly without regular cleanings. Bacteria cause this buildup, which can harden into a yellowish substance known as calculus.

Tartar can only be removed by scraping it off with an object such as a veterinarian's tool. When left untreated, plaque and tartar can lead to gum disease and tooth loss in dogs.

Some common signs of dental disease in dogs include swollen and red gums, discolored teeth, bad breath, and bleeding gums. As the disease progresses, dogs may experience even worse breath as well as more severe symptoms.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease results from the deterioration of the gums and bone surrounding the tooth. This typically happens when plaque and tartar that remain untreated stick to the tooth and progress beneath the gum line.

Gingivitis is the initial stage that develops into periodontal disease when the gum and bone around the tooth deteriorate. This deterioration can cause pockets to form around the tooth, leading to the accumulation of food and bacteria beneath the tooth.

Dangerous infections can occur if left untreated, causing the teeth to loosen and eventually fall out. Common symptoms of canine periodontitis include:

  • Discolored teeth (brown or yellow)
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Weight loss
  • Inflamed or bleeding gums
  • Irritability
  • Excessive drooling
  • Blood on chew toys or in the water bowl
  • Favoring one side of the mouth when chewing
  • “Ropey” or bloody saliva
  • Reduced appetite
  • Problems keeping food in the mouth

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, please contact a veterinarian.

Tooth Fractures

Tooth fractures are a common problem among dogs, as they tend to chew on things frequently, whether during mealtime or playtime. Even everyday objects like bones or hard plastic toys can cause tooth fractures.

Thus, selecting chew toys for dogs that are appropriate in size is crucial. The toy should not be too small or too big for the dog.

It should be small enough so that the dog does not have to open its mouth widely, yet large enough to avoid any chance of accidental swallowing or choking.

Oral Infections

An oral infection occurs when bacteria fill up a pocket, usually around the tooth's root. Periodontitis is the primary cause of these infections, although they can also be caused by chewing on hard or sharp objects that result in trauma.

Oral infections can be extremely dangerous, as the bacteria can spread to the bloodstream and cause organ failure or disease in the heart, liver, kidneys, or brain. Some infections can even be fatal.

How to Prevent Dental Problems

Maintaining good oral hygiene for your dog is important to prevent dental issues. One way to do this is by creating a dental care routine.

You can improve your dog's dental health by adding food or water additives or adjusting their diet to include dental chews instead of unhealthy treats.

Regularly brushing your dog's teeth is the most effective way to maintain oral hygiene, but even doing it a few times a week can be helpful.

Taking your dog for a professional oral hygiene cleaning and examination at least once a year is also important. Smaller breeds may require more frequent visits because of their shallow tooth roots.

Is your dog ready for their next dental examination or cleaning? Book an appointment with our expert vets at Sweetwater Veterinary Clinic today.

New Patients Welcome

Sweetwater Veterinary Clinic is accepting new patients! Our friendly and experienced vets are passionate about the health of Santa Clarita companion animals and horses. Get in touch today to book your four-legged friend's first appointment.

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