Dog Dentistry - What dog owners need to know
At Alder Vets, Haslemere, we advocate that your dog’s dental hygiene is just as important as any other routine and preventative treatment. Just us and our dental care, dogs can develop a build-up of tartar, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
Brushing your dog’s teeth once or twice a day is the best practice for maintaining good oral hygiene. Our dog dental care services include products such as liquids to add to their water to help reduce plaque build-up and reduce bad breath (halitosis), as well as our recommended veterinary dog dental diets. Here at Alder Vets, our team are happy and willing to assist you with any dog dental care questions you may have, as well as advising you on the recommended dental products or diets for your dog.
Symptoms of dental disease in dogs
Dog with dental care issues can be very good at hiding signs of oral pain and dental disease. Some dogs with severe dental disease, including root exposure, severe gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), and tooth root infections, will continue to eat, showing only subtle signs that something is wrong. This can result in a dog having multiple teeth extracted at one time as opposed to one tooth extraction. Build-up of plaque and tarter will not be removed by teeth brushing alone if this is already present, the best action for this is a scale and polish to remove this, followed by tooth brushing to prevent the build-up occurring again. A general anaesthesia is required for all dental procedures, however, having a routine scale and polish carried out to prevent dental disease from progressing is a hugely reduced anaesthetic time compared to multiple extractions being carried out.
What are the signs of dental disease in dogs?
- bad breath (halitosis)
- visible tartar build-up on teeth
- red or inflamed gums (gingivitis)
- discoloured teeth
- loose teeth
- bleeding from the mouth
- slowness or reluctance to eat
- chewing on one side of the mouth
- dropping food from the mouth when eating
- swelling around the mouth (from potential tooth root abscesses).
How can this be prevented?
The best way to maintain healthy teeth for your dog is to brush their teeth daily. This is easiest to start when your dog is younger but can be introduced at any age. Alder Vets' team are always ready to help with advice on introducing dental care routines such as this, to your dog.
It can also be beneficial to have a scale and polish performed regularly to clean the teeth thoroughly. This is similar to the treatment we would receive from a dental hygienist. These are done under a short general anaesthetic as dogs won’t sit in one position for a prolonged period and we must ensure their safety and the team’s safety when in the vicinity of sharp - and potentially sore and tender - teeth!
Why does dog dental disease occur?
Food and saliva that is left behind on the teeth will form plaque on the tooth. Plaque is soft and can be removed by brushing or using alternative dental products. If not removed, the plaque will harden forming tartar, which is difficult to remove without dentistry intervention. If tartar is not removed (normally via the scale and polish procedure) then bacteria will spread below the gum line, causing red sore gums. This is called gingivitis and periodontitis, which in turn can lead to lose teeth, infection of the tooth root and jawbone infections.