Illnesses like heartworms and rabies may grab the attention of most dog owners, but you need to be just as vigilant about protecting your dog's teeth. Increasingly, veterinarians are seeing dogs with severe periodontal disease. At the least, this causes pain to your dog. At worst, it can shorten your canine friend's life.
Dangers of Poor Oral Health
The most obvious casualty of peridontal disease in dogs is the teeth. Left untreated, peridontal disease can cause the gums to recede and teeth to fall out. This is a long, painful process for the dog marked by repeated oral infections. These infections are triggered by a buildup of bacteria and food particles in the gums.
Fighting these infections takes a toll on your dog's immune system. The infections can spread to other organs, including the liver, heart and kidneys, leading to permanent organ damage or death.
Signs of Peridontal Disease
Peridontal disease progresses through four stages, beginning with gingivitis. If you catch the disease at this early stage, the effects are reversible and your dog can go on to have a full and happy life with regular dental care.
Signs to look for include the following:
If you notice these signs in your dog, schedule a vet appointment to have his teeth checked.
Preventing Peridontal Disease
The good news is that it's easy to keep peridontal disease at bay. Brushing your dog's teeth daily is a good way to keep the teeth healthy. You'll find toothpaste and brushes at your pet store. It can take a while for dogs to get used to this, so be patient.
Other things you can do to keep your dog's teeth healthy include the following:
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