Why do dogs get gum disease?
Gum disease is the most common infectious disease in adult dogs. The disease begins when bacteria stick to the surface of your dog’s teeth. The bacteria on the teeth form an off-white, sticky layer that attracts food particles called dental plaque. If the plaque isn’t removed it hardens to form a tartar (a brown, rough deposit on the teeth) within days.
The bacteria within plaque and tartar attack the gums and cause inflammation of the gum tissue. The inflammation and damage to the gum tissue and eventually other structures that support the teeth (such as ligaments and bone), can lead to eventual loss of teeth.
How can you tell if your dog has gum disease?
It is not always easy to spot gum disease, but checking your dog’s mouth daily will really help.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, then a trip to the vet with your dog for a thorough oral check up is advised.
Often gradual changes in behaviour, for example, becoming less lively, sociable or willing to chew or play are believed by owners to be just a sign that their dog is “getting old”. This could instead be due to the pet suffering from gum disease and its consequences.
Does your dog seem reluctant to let you go near his mouth? This can also be a sign that he is suffering with sore teeth and gums.
Often owners can’t believe the difference in their dog once it has received professional dental treatment. They often report that their pet is acting just like a puppy again!
Bad breath in dogs is not normal and is almost always a sign of underlying gum disease.
Bleeding gums are a symptom of gum disease as the plaque bacteria attack the gum tissue, causing it to become inflamed and bleed.
Top tips to help keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy