Many pet owners are not aware that dogs can have problems with their teeth just like people. Most pet owners don’t provide daily brushing or other care for their dog’s teeth because they are not aware that this can be a big benefit to their overall health.
If your dog has been diagnosed with gingivitis, you might be wondering if there is anything that can be done or if this condition is permanent. This can seem like something that dogs shouldn’t fall prey to like people, but it really is a common dog problem. Gingivitis can be the earliest sign that your dog might end up with more serious dental concerns and should be taken seriously by pet owners.
What is Gingivitis in Dogs?
Gingivitis in dogs is just like the condition in people. Dogs can get gum inflammation just like people and you will find that this is often the earliest stage in dental disease in dogs.
This condition often appears in the same way as it does in people, with reddened gums and foul-smelling breath. This condition can lead to your dog going off its food and acting like its mouth is hurting when it is playing. Usually, this condition is related to a lack of dental care in pets, just like in humans.
Symptoms of Dog Gingivitis
There are some common signs that your dog has gingivitis that you can recognize as an owner. You should also take your dog to the veterinarian if you think that they are showing any of these symptoms and you want a little help with treating this condition.
- Bad breath
- Bleeding of the gums
- Red gums
- Swollen tissues in and around the mouth
- Refusing to eat
- Bleeding when playing with toys
- Acting depressed or anxious
- Licking lips frequently
These are the most common signs of gingivitis, and they can later escalate into increased pain and discomfort as the bacteria get more entrenched in your dog’s gums.
Is Gingivitis Permanent in Dogs?
Thankfully, this is one of the earliest stages of dental disease in dogs and you can easily get on top of this condition as soon as it has been diagnosed. There are stages within the diagnosis of gingivitis, and your veterinarian can help you to make a plan to treat this condition before it turns into a more serious one for your dog.
Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth
The most common way to treat this condition is to start brushing your dog’s teeth at home daily. Make sure to get a dog-safe toothpaste and to invest in a dog-safe toothbrush. These products will help you to tackle this job with ease and your dog will find that the process is not so bad as they get used to this being part of their routine each day.
Antibiotics and Professional Teeth Cleaning
You might also be given an oral antibiotic to give to your dog to help with the infection if it has gotten widespread and is severe. Some vets will also prescribe anti-inflammatories to help your dog get back to eating and being comfortable again. Your dog might also need to have a professional dental cleaning that is done at your vet’s office.
If your dog needs a dental cleaning, they will need to be anesthetized and then your vet will clean their teeth with the same kinds of tools that are used on humans during annual exams and tooth cleanings. This can be the most effective way to get your dog’s teeth and gums back to their full health. In more advanced cases, this might be the only way to deliver a good result for management of this condition.
Teeth Cleaning Toys for Dogs
Providing access to the correct kind of oral cleaning toys can make a big difference in dogs that are still young enough to chew on things, and you should also make sure that you feed a kibble that is designed to scrape the teeth while it is consumed. Soft dog food can lead directly to gingivitis in many dogs.
What Happens if My Dog Has Advanced Dental Disease?
When dogs have advanced stage oral conditions related to neglect of their teeth, they might experience loose or painful teeth, gum abscesses and other painful conditions. This kind of problem will often necessitate the pulling of teeth and a full teeth cleaning on the remaining teeth that can be spared with your vet’s help.
Advanced dental disease can lead to heart conditions as well as long-term nutrition issues that could have been avoided with better dental care earlier on. This is why brushing your dog’s teeth, giving them dental support toys to chew on, and making sure to monitor the health of their gums and teeth is so important.
On top of the serious health concerns that can happen related to poor oral health in dogs, your dog might have unpleasant breath and struggle to eat so long as their mouth is not treated for this condition. You might find that being around your dog and feeding them is much easier with the right dental care plan as part of your daily management of their needs.
Taking Care of Your Dog’s Dental Health Matters
While bad breath might not seem to be such a big deal, it can be a sign of major issues with your dog’s health brewing just under the surface. Some dogs are prone to poor dental health, even at a young age, and you should make sure that you take this health concern seriously. Preventing long-term health concerns that stem from your dog’s gingivitis can be critical to their overall well-being throughout their life.
Activities like brushing your dog’s teeth can make a big difference in their health and many dogs enjoy the experience and welcome it like a treat. There are many ways to provide the right dental care for your pet and you should consider this just another part of their daily care routine to support their long-term health.
Call (978) 929-9200 to talk with a Veterinary Dental Services veterinarian about your dog’s gingivitis and dental health!