Doggone it, dental disease is common

Dog dental health is vital.

A friend of mine recently complained that my dog has stinky breath, but isn’t “doggie breath” normal?

That potent doggie breath is more than just an unpleasant odour. It can actually signify a potentially serious health problem: dental disease.

article continues below

Dental disease is very common — so common, in fact, that an estimated 80% of dogs will have some form of the disease by age three. Apart from bad breath, other symptoms include red, swollen gums, yellowish or brownish tartar on the teeth, loose teeth and blood left behind on chew toys.

Not surprisingly, dental disease is painful. Dogs with the disease have sore mouths and may have difficulty at mealtimes — chewing on only one side or dropping food as they eat.

They may even lose their appetite. Dogs may also be reluctant to chew on toys or shy away when someone reaches for their head.

Dental disease can be present without any obvious signs of pain, however, and still be cause for concern. Bacteria from the mouth can spread through the bloodstream to the kidneys, liver and heart, causing damage to these vital organs. Left untreated, dental disease can shorten a pet’s life span.

Because dental health has such a significant impact on a dog’s overall well-being, the best thing to do is have your dog’s teeth checked by a veterinarian as part of a routine health exam. The veterinarian may recommend:

• Brushing your dog’s teeth every day or at least every other day (less frequently than this is of virtually no value to preventing dental disease).

• Giving your dog nylon or rubber chew toys to help scrape away plaque and tartar.

• Feeding your dog a special veterinary dental diet to help slow down the formation of plaque and tartar.

• A professional dental cleaning, which requires your dog to be under general anaesthetic. Teeth cannot be safely and thoroughly examined and cleaned — especially under the gum line — while a dog is awake.

• Depending on how far the disease has progressed, your dog may also require tooth extractions.

For dogs to live longer, healthier lives — free of dental disease — regular veterinary visits are a must.

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Tri-City News

Comments

NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Tri-City News welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus

Tri-City News POLL

Do you think vaccination should be mandatory to attend public school in B.C., as it is in Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick?

or  view results

Sign Up for Our Newsletter!

Popular Tri-City News

Community Event Calendar


Find out what's happening in your community and submit your own local events.