Gum health in dogs is one of those issues that dog owners know they need to be vigilant about, yet also find it difficult to maintain. Even those with the best of intentions may find it challenging to brush a dog’s teeth at home while keeping up with professional dental cleanings at a veterinarian’s office.
Life moves fast and sometimes dogs aren’t really keen on caring about their own dental health as much as their humans are.
While most dogs will experience some level of dental disease by the age of 3, according to statistics, some popular dog breeds are more prone to developing gum disease than others. And generally speaking, the biggest dental disease threat comes in the smallest packages.
Certain Dog Breeds Could Develop Canine Gum Disease More Easily
Small dog breeds, or dogs that generally don’t reach beyond an owner’s knees, experience canine dental and gum disease at a higher rate than their larger peers. And many times they experience it at a higher rate due to their facial structure.
Small dog breeds, such as Pugs, Shih Tzus, Bulldogs, Lhasa Apsos and Boston terriers — among others — are classified as brachycephalics, which is a fancy way for saying they sport squished-in faces. That same appearance, that makes them cute and expressive, also tends to crowd their teeth. And while straight teeth aren’t necessarily a need for dogs to avoid dental disease, crooked teeth don’t do a dog any favors when it comes to gum health as they make it difficult to property clean at home.
Other small dog breeds, such as Yorkies, Maltese and Pomeranians, sometimes experience overlapping layers of teeth. When that layering takes place, as baby teeth refuse to make way for the adult teeth coming in, food can become lodged in those spaces, leading to the development of bacteria and eventually tooth decay and gum disease.
How A Veterinarian Can Help Treat Dog Dental Disease
Canine dental disease progresses in stages and symptoms worsen over time, just as they do in humans. A dog with inflamed gums may experience pain or bleeding, which could result in a diminished appetite or blood in his or her food or water bowl. More advanced stages of dog gum disease may involve a receding gum line, loosening teeth and a refusal to eat.
Veterinarians are able to intervene at every stage, by cleaning teeth, scaling plaque build up and extracting teeth that may be beyond saving. And, once a dog’s dental health is on the road to recovery, dog owners can work with their veterinarian to establish regular professional cleanings to avoid further infection from settling in.
Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit is a trusted veterinary team serving the Phoenix, Peoria, East Mesa and Tucson metro areas, with accessible locations in each market, offering highly specialized surgery, quality spay and neuter procedures, and accessible dental care for pets. Contact us to learn more about our specialized services or to schedule an appointment.