4 Signs Your Dog Has Gum Disease

From feeding and training to vaccinating and grooming, caring for a dog can be challenging. While these tasks are usually considered priorities, focusing on your dog's oral health should also be important. Most people are surprised to learn that dogs and cats will have some form of periodontal disease by the age of 3, so learning the signs of this condition is imperative.
Proper brushing and complete understanding of gum disease can prevent pain and discomfort in your dog's mouth, but it can also help save your dog's teeth. If you are noticing one or more of the following signs, your dog may be suffering from canine gum disease.

Swollen Gums

Without regular brushing, plaque and tartar will build up on your dog's teeth. As with humans, this plaque and tartar will eventually spread onto the gum tissue, resulting in uncomfortable inflammation.
If your dog's gum tissue appears red and swollen, they may have an early form of gum disease. The inflammation is not only painful and unappealing, but it can also prevent your dog from eating and drinking a sufficient amount of food and water. This can lead to more serious health problems.

Bleeding Gums

The inflammation of the gum tissue can also cause your dog's gums to bleed. This bleeding can occur while your dog is eating, chewing on a toy, or from any light contact to the tissue.
Small red spots of blood may be seen on their toys or in their food and water bowls. However, you can inspect your dog's mouth for signs of bleeding in the gums.
Carefully open your dog's mouth and gently press on a few areas of the gum tissue. If the gums become red instantly after making contact, your dog has a form of gum disease that requires immediate care.

Bad Breath

The buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth and gums will spread through the entire mouth. This buildup will prevent your dog's mouth from producing saliva, which is necessary for rinsing away plaque, tartar, and food particles. Without saliva, the mouth will not only be full of debris, but it will also become dry and hot, increasing the risk of bacteria growth.
A mouth that is dry and hot will also have a foul odor. Most people assume that all dogs have bad breath, but it is actually a common sign of gum disease. If your dog continuously has foul breath that is hot and dry, they most likely have an underlying condition affecting their oral health.

Loose/Missing Teeth

Puppy teeth develop between the ages of 3 and 6 weeks. As your dog grows, the adult teeth will erupt, causing the puppy teeth to fall out. This usually occurs when your dog is between the ages of 5 and 8 months. Unfortunately, dogs that lose their adult teeth may be suffering from gum disease.
As plaque and tartar build up in the mouth, the inflammation of the gum tissue can loosen permanent teeth. You may find a tooth on the floor of your home or see one in your dog's food bowl. While these are obvious signs that your dog is losing teeth, inspecting their mouth for warning signs they will lose a tooth is helpful.
Open your dog's mouth and press on each of their teeth. If one or more teeth wiggle when you touch them, your dog is at risk of losing some of their teeth.
Loose teeth are a sign of an advanced case of periodontal disease, so extracting the tooth will most likely be necessary. A full cleaning of the mouth and an antibiotic treatment to heal infections will reduce the risk of further tooth loss.
Gum disease may be a common problem in dogs, but help is available. To learn more about diagnosing and treating your dog's periodontal disease, contact Yolo Veterinary Clinic today.