Tooth Decay In Dogs

by Nicola Parry

Dental disease is a very common problem for dogs, and is commonly associated with foods that become trapped in pockets where the gum meets the base of the tooth. Since dogs don’t tend to have their teeth brushed as frequently as we do, entrapped foodstuffs remain for a long time, and collect bacteria along the way. This combination of events leads to infection, and this ultimately causes the gums to soften and recede. And it also produces the bad breath that your dog may share with you! Sadly, if this problem goes ignored and untreated, tooth loss is inevitable.

Five Common Signs Of Tooth Disease

  • Bad breath
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Excess salivating
  • Slow eating and exaggerated chewing
  • Reluctance to eat

To Pull, Or Not To Pull?

Contrary to what many people believe, tooth decay is not just a disease of older dogs, but is also extremely common in dogs as young as 2-3 years old. So many owners feel distressed when they learn that their young dog has a tooth that is decayed and crumbling. And they naturally become even more distressed about the prospect of that tooth being removed. The truth is though, that if left untreated, this decay process will progress to inflammation of the pulp, with infection, discoloration, and death of the tooth. And some situations may also progress to cause facial swelling and draining tracks as a result of tooth root infections or abscesses. So extraction of decaying teeth is an important part of your dog’s dental care. Even better than the benefits of dental extractions, however, is the benefit of preventative dental care for your dog!

Four Simple Ways To Guard Against Tooth Decay

  • Give him hard foods: Try to mix in hard food if you are feeding a primarily soft diet. Harder kibbles are much better for your dog’s teeth because they gently scrape tartar from the tooth surface.
  • Provide hard rubber chewing toys: Chewing on hard toys also has an abrasive action on the teeth, similar to hard kibbles.
  • Introduce a regular oral hygiene schedule: Brush his teeth with dog-specific toothpaste. The toothpaste that we use contains soap ingredients that don’t affect us because we rinse out the toothpaste. Your dog, however, will swallow his, so he needs a safer, edible alternative. The KissAble Toothpaste contains natural ingredients to help fight plaque and sweeten your dog’s breath. Brush 2-3 times weekly using the KissAble Toothbrush. Its unique 3-sided design enables brushing of all edges of your dog’s teeth at the same time with firm scrubbing bristles, while its softer bristles massage the gums. If your dog won’t tolerate brushing and you get discouraged, there are other ways to maintain your dog’s teeth. Click here for more options
  • Regular dental check ups: Just as we have dental checkups a couple of times a year, so should our dogs. Your veterinarian can to check for tartar buildup and other evidence of decay, and will be able to address any dental problems under anesthetic.

Dental care is just as important for dogs as it is for people. Although it is difficult to provide the same level of oral hygiene for our dogs as we do for ourselves, we can do a great job of preventative care in this area. And certainly the earlier we address and treat dental disease, the better the chances of actually saving the teeth rather than having to remove them. Prevention is certainly better than cure!

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