Dog dental disease is one of the most common health conditions veterinarians see, with over 80% of canines experiencing dental and gum illnesses. It is not always evident at first, especially to an untrained eye. It is up to your veterinarian, doggy dental specialist, or sometimes the groomer to spot the warning signs.
What is dog dental disease?
Dog dental disease includes both gingivitis and periodontitis. Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection in your dog’s gums, bones, and teeth. Bacteria in the mouth from the accumulation of plaque and tartar buildup causes infection. Periodontal disease leads to teeth loss as well as some more serious and unexpected health conditions. The disease is common and affects more than eight out of 10 dogs over age 3.
Here are five scary consequences of failing to care for your dog’s teeth and all the ways you can prevent this from happening.
If your dog has diabetes, then it might have one of the higher levels of periodontal disease. This is because the two conditions fuel each other, creating a vicious cycle. Sometimes it is hard to tell which came first, diabetes or periodontal disease. Inflammation and infection associated with periodontal disease can affect the dog’s blood-sugar metabolism and decrease their insulin sensitivity.
Usually, after the tooth is treated, diabetes becomes easier to handle. Dog insurance is something to consider in aging dogs to help cover the costs of diabetes and dental disease care.
If you are not constantly checking your dog’s teeth, it might take you a while to notice something is off. Not to mention dental disease can be hidden and not visible. Even when dogs are in pain, they sometimes have different ways of showing it. Some are more obvious than others. Some signs to watch for include:
- “Inhaling food” rather than chewing it.
- Lack of appetite
- Swelling or bleeding
- Bad breath
If a dog gets infections in even one tooth, it can lead to severe consequences such as a fractured jaw. Broken jaws are more common in smaller dogs with large teeth, like a chihuahua, Lhasa, Apso, Maltese, or Shih Tzu.
Even a simple action like jumping off the couch can lead to injury. Periodontal disease can cause extra challenges due to the lack of quality bone left in the area.
Sets off the immune system
If there is too much plaque left on your dog’s teeth, this can lead to periodontal disease that starts under the gums. The immune system and inflammatory responses kick in to try and kill bacteria but kill tissue in the process. The worse the dental disease is and the more inflammation present might lead to bacteria entering the bloodstream.
Risk of heart disease
Inflammation caused by dog dental disease commonly affects both the heart and the liver. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association shared evidence that periodontal disease could be linked to endocarditis, a heart valve infection in dogs. So usually, if your dog is showing signs of dental disease, they are probably also showing signs of heart disease at the same time.
How to prevent dog dental disease
Dog dental disease can be easy to avoid with a couple of simple, routine care measures.
Vaccinate your pup!
There is finally a vaccination available for your dog that helps them avoid destruction caused by canine periodontitis. The Porphyromonas vaccine works to help reduce the risk of bone changes caused by dental disease. While it may not prevent periodontal disease, the vaccine can significantly reduce the damage done to the teeth, gums and the risk of further complications. Dog wellness plans are pet insurance that starts immediately, which is excellent if you want to book a vaccination appointment.
Regularly cleaning your dog’s teeth is a significant way to prevent dental disease! Brushing your dog’s teeth reduces the risk of too much plaque and tartar building up on their teeth. This reduces the risk of their immune system flaring up to kill bacteria. There are toothbrushes and toothpaste made specifically for dogs, as well as great bones and dental treats.
The number one way to reduce the chance of your dog developing periodontal disease is to bring them in for regular teeth cleaning and dental examinations. Vets, groomers, and doggy dental technicians are experts at spotting issues that could lead to disease. Routine plaque removal is a sure-fire way to ensure your dog’s mouth stays healthy.
Wagmo allows dog owners to sign up for dental coverage. This additional coverage is included in its wellness plan and provides routine, preventative care covering vaccinations, dental cleanings, flea medication, and more.
If you’re looking for pet insurance to start immediately, sign up for Wagmo Wellness that begins immediately, while you wait the 30-day waiting period for Wagmo Dog Insurance to kick in! Wagmo dog insurance and Wagmo dog wellness plans are available to mix and match, so every pet owner finds the best plan for their dogs (and cats!).