When it comes to keeping your favourite furry friend healthy, you must ALWAYS remember to look after their teeth, gums and all aspects of their oral hygiene, too. Let's face it, we can all put our hands up and admit we’re guilty of ignoring our dog's teeth and gums from time to time, with many of us puppy-parents assuming the odd brush will do the trick. But unfortunately, that just isn’t enough.
Many problems can occur with your dog's overall health, all stemming from a simple issue that is likely to have started in their mouth. It is known that some oral conditions can later affect your dog’s organs, resulting in more issues than just bad breath. You could end up with a pup struggling with heart, kidney, and liver problems – not good at all!
The best thing to do is to gain as much knowledge and information as possible when it comes to your dog's oral health, so here at Petlab Co., we have looked into some of the biggest problems neglecting oral health can have.
Now, we all know dogs aren’t known for having the best breath! All it takes is a small pant in your direction and the smell can hit you like a full-speed truck. But, is it really that surprising when you consider how often they use their tongue to clean parts of their bodies, eat, chew and groom?
It is very easy to just dismiss bad breath as something that is normal, but it could be the first signs that something quite serious is wrong. Periodontal disease is extremely common in dogs with poor dental hygiene or in breeds that are predisposed and, unfortunately, the only obvious symptom to owners might be bad breath .
Periodontal disease is primarily caused by bacteria in the mouth building up on the teeth and gums, which can result in tooth loss and inflamed gums. The bacteria collect along the gum line (tartar) and attack the gum tissue, causing gingivitis. The bacteria then make their way down to the tooth roots and start wearing away the jaw bone and roots, causing the teeth to loosen and painful tooth root abscesses.
There are a host of many other reasons why your dog’s breath stinks though! Read up on How To Fix Bad Dog Breath here.
Keeping your pup’s teeth and gums in good health are imperative when it comes to helping them chew. As said above, bad breath could be a sign that something more sinister is happening that you can’t see; gum disease or tooth decay, which could cause discomfort and difficulty, especially when it comes to dinner time.
If your pup develops dental disease, a tooth root abscess or even loses a tooth, it can create issues when they’re trying to chew and ingest their food. The more painful their teeth, the more they will struggle, and the less likely they’re going to want to eat the food you’re giving them, which will result in a weak and poorly pup.
If you notice your canine companion is struggling to eat or chew, a dental problem may be the cause. The heartbreaking fact is that as their owner, you could have helped prevent the situation from getting to the point where surgical dental extractions are absolutely vital for the happiness and quality of life of your pup. The sooner you support your pup’s oral health, the easier it will make their lives.
If your pup is suffering from periodontal disease, it can cause a lot of damage to your dog’s mouth. As said above, your dog may begin to struggle to eat, or suffer from bad breath, which are some of the softer results of the disease.
Periodontal disease will begin to attack at the gum line, eating away and destroying the tissue around the teeth – leading to unhealthy gums and tooth decay. When dental disease progresses, your pup is more prone to losing teeth, losing their appetite, and potentially developing abscesses (a painful collection of pus caused by a bacterial infection in the unhealthy dog gum) – causing your dog an awful lot of pain and discomfort.
Unfortunately, even a minor case of tooth decay and unhealthy dog gums can be detrimental to your dog’s happiness and comfort. It is imperative to try and catch the decay early so that you can take action and help support your pup’s mouth back to a healthy standard so if you suspect, get them looked over by the vet.
It might seem strange, but when your dog suffers from an illness that affects their mouth, it can also seriously damage the rest of their body, leaving them more at risk of multi-systemic organ malfunction and associated disease. The bacteria involved in dental disease can produce toxins and can travel in the blood steaming, leaving long-lasting and negative effects especially on your pet’s heart, liver, and kidneys .
Not only can it damage different organs, but problems can also seriously affect the way your pup lives day to day. As said previously, the more of a struggle your pooch finds it to eat, drink or clean themselves, the more stressed, vulnerable and uncomfortable they will become, leaving you with an unhappy and unhealthy dog. Chronic pain can lead to your pup tipping over into a negative emotional state, which has many serious implications for their mental health and quality of life. If we try so hard to make their arthritic joints more comfortable, we definitely need to be doing the same for their teeth - it’s no different, we must help them!
“Periodontal disease is the most common infectious disease of adult dogs. Over 75% of dogs over the age of 4 have some level of periodontal disease. This is why it is so important to prevent dental disease from a young age and reduce the need for veterinary intervention. In fact, most vet practices offer annual dental cleaning treatments for essentially zero profit in order to achieve optimal dental health for your pets and avoid further preventable complications later on. It’s important for owners to note that gum inflammation (gingivitis) is reversible, and if it is not treated it may proceed to periodontitis, which is irreversible. Therefore, it cannot be stressed enough how important early intervention is and to keep on top of your pet’s dental health. If you see signs of bad breath, pain when handling food or toys, yellow/brown accumulations on gum margins, loose teeth, facial swellings, excessive drooling or changes in appetite, take your pet to the vet immediately.”
The key to avoiding all the above issues is simply prevention.
It’s recommended that humans should brush their teeth twice a day for two minutes. Over an average life span, this equates to 82 days worth of teeth brushing for each one of us… That’s the equivalent of watching all 236 episodes of the sitcom Friends 22.9 times!
And because dog’s get plaque build up just like we do, they also need to have their teeth brushed too. In order to help your dog live a happy and full life, cleaning their teeth regularly is imperative.
You should brush your dog’s teeth two/three times a week with a dog enzymatic toothpaste and use a doggy-friendly dental mouthwash every day. Do not use human toothpaste on dogs, as it may contain ingredients that are harmful and toxic to dogs (such as artificial sweeteners or foaming agents).
Petlab Co. Pro Tip: It’s important to take your dog to the vet for a deep tooth clean at least once a year, preferably twice. These visits also give your vet a chance to do a thorough check, enabling them to spot and respond to any issues before they become big (and expensive!) problems.
We completely understand that trying to fit a dental routine into your pup's day can be difficult, especially if you're not sure you're doing the right thing…
Keeping your dog’s oral health to an optimum is extremely important, though. Not only will it help protect them from gum disease, but it can also help prevent tooth loss and other health issues involving their stomach, heart, liver, and kidneys. As amazing as it would be, your dog can’t head straight into the bathroom every morning and night, grab a toothbrush and scrub their teeth, so it is your job to keep on top of it. It’s all part and parcel of being a responsible pet parent!
With a few simple changes, you can prevent 90% of these issues from occurring, which will help your dog live a long and healthy life.