Image result for cleaning dogs teethHave you ever petted a dog and their breath just caught you off guard? Humans are not the only ones who have bad breath, dogs can too. You would think that they may have just eaten something they shouldn’t, but bad breath can be a sign of health problems; or the most common, periodontal disease.

These are a few things to consider before taking them to the vet and figuring out why their breath smells:

How do dogs get gum disease?

Like us humans, when we eat, food gets mixed with saliva which produces sticky substances around our teeth called plaque. If we do not remove the plaque it will harden and turn into tartar. Over time tartar will cause you to have swollen and inflamed gums. This applies to dogs as well. Tartar thrust the gum away from the teeth which is an open window for bacteria to enter, when the bacteria enters, it gets into the bloodstream and affects dogs’ organs.

Risk of having periodontal disease

Dental problems in dogs is not something to ignore. According to Colleen O’Morrow, a veterinary dentist from the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, periodontal disease happens five times more in dogs than in people. Some cases dogs lose their teeth, have bad infection, and bone loss. What O’Morrow commonly sees is that “over time untreated gum disease can destroy bone to such an extent that even a little pressure will fracture a small dogs weakened jaw”. By not taking care of your dog’s periodontal disease, it can cause your dog to be in severe pain. Our dogs do not show weakness and tend to hide their pain. We would not want our dogs feeling pain for such a long period of time.

Preventing Gum Diseases  

Recognizing your dog’s habit is the key. Are they a chewer? Do you notice red swollen gums? Just like you come to see your dentist every 6 months for an exam and cleaning, dogs need to do the same thing. Seeing your vet for an exam and asking them ways to steer away from periodontal disease can help.

Do you brush your dog’s teeth? Brushing your dogs’ teeth daily is an effective way of cleaning and removing plaque. Be aware that some dogs may not like you touching their teeth, so there are dog chews out there instead of daily brushing. The chewing motion reduces plaque because when they gnaw, they put their teeth against the chew toy or dental stick which rubs the plaque off. Also, there’s an organization called The Veterinary Oral Health (VOHC) that evaluates pet products to see if they meet standards for reducing plaque. So next time you buy your fur baby food, treats or toys make sure it is approved by the VOHC so that you know the item will help slow plaque and tartar accumulation

Signs of Periodontal Disease:

·         Problems picking up food.

·         Bleeding or red gums.

·         Loose teeth.

·         Blood in the water bowl or on chew toys.

·         Bad breath (halitosis)

·         Bumps or lumps in the mouth.

·         Bloody saliva.

If you see this, make sure you call your veterinarian and schedule an appointment for your pet. This is a critical step to avoid periodontal disease. There are articles out there for you to read to prevent this happening to your pet at home. Our fur baby can feel pain, so if we don’t like having toothache, our pets don’t either.