Oral health is an important issue for all dog owners to be aware of. Pooches are particularly susceptible to gum disease which, if left untreated, could cause periodontitis - an irreversible condition that can lead to tooth loss and infections.
Gum disease itself is not pleasant for dogs, just as it isn't in humans! Inflamed gums, bleeding and tooth loss are all effects to look out for - though gum disease can be a little more difficult to spot.
Spotting gum disease
Even though gum disease can be painful, and at its more advanced stages display clear signs, it can be tricky to spot. Your dog's appetite won't be affected, so despite discomfort he will usually eat as normal.
Keep a careful eye on the colour of your pet's gums - if they seem redder than usual, that is a potential indicator of gum disease, as are bleeding gums. If he seems to struggle to pick up his food, dribble, or make unusual noises when he eats, these are all potential symptoms too.
Always visit your vet to confirm what these signs indicate.
While dogs are prone to gum disease, there is plenty you can do to keep it at bay. It is important to make dental care part of your daily routine, as this is the best way to prevent build-up of harmful bacteria and plaque. Brush your pet's teeth daily and, if you feel uncertain about how to do so or how your pet will react, ask your vet to take you through it step by step.
Ensuring your pet has a good diet, such as the BARF Diet, and plenty of tooth-friendly chew toys, will also help to maintain good oral health.
Written by: Hannah Dyball