Just the thought of a dog suffering in silence pierces the heart... and yet studies show that 85% of older dogs suffer from periodontal disease. It's not only extremely painful, it can also cause serious health concerns.
Here we look at some ins and outs of periodontal disease.
Affecting teeth, periodontal disease is more serious than a simple aesthetic one. The disease causes inflammation of the gums and support systems of teeth. With little to no sign of its initial development, it can become very problematic for your dog. Left undetected or untreated, the disease can lead to chronic pain, loss of teeth, and can also spread to the blood, affecting the lungs, kidneys, and heart.
With limited symptoms from the outset, it can be difficult to determine if and when your dog begins to develop periodontal disease. It's likely the first signs will begin with fatigue, which can be difficult for you to pinpoint to this specific disease.
Certain dog breeds, including many small dogs, are more predisposed to suffer from periodontal disease. This is due to a more compact mouth and teeth that sit closely together, which are less easily irrigated and cleaned by saliva. However, it's vital all dog owners know about the risks to help implement measures to avoid its onset.
Some simple solutions
As a dog owner, it's important you know that your animal's teeth need regular brushing just as you would do your own. Between the rush of daily life and many dogs who don't enjoy the process, it can be difficult to navigate.
If you can, daily brushing of your dog's teeth will offer the best, most practical form of keeping them healthy. Additionally, regular professional care should also be sought.
Here are some key steps to help maintain the best oral health for your four-legged friend:
As mentioned, if you can brush your dog's teeth daily you will be well on your way to helping them maintain excellent oral hygiene. It's the same for your own teeth, so try taking five minutes before or after you do your own so it becomes part of your routine.
Guidance and the right tools can be sought from your vet to help with any concerns about how to do it successfully.
Regular oral examinations and descaling
Organising regular oral examinations with your vet is another means of ensuring that your dog's teeth are kept in great condition.
In between cleans, if you notice that your dog has large amounts of plaque on their teeth, don't hesitate to make an additional appointment for a descale. Extra attention to their teeth will do nothing but good - for both you and your animal.
Toys made for chewing
You can also buy toys that encourage chewing and the production of saliva. Chewing sticks, balls, and toys offer different purposes, including some with safe abrasive surfaces to help remove tartar build-up on teeth.
It is worth asking your vet's opinion on the safest choice of chewing toys given the abundance of products on the market.
Ensuring you provide your good with a good quality diet will not only help with their nutritional needs, and help maintain healthy teeth, but poor quality products often have nasty additives that are not only bad for your dog's health, they can also contribute to tooth decay. Talk to your vet about the nutritional needs of your dog and their teeth.
What do you do to keep your dog's teeth healthy?