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Dental Disease in Dogs

Posted by Reedy Creek Vet on 16 September 2022
Dental Disease in Dogs

Dental problems in dogs are common worldwide. In fact, 80% of dogs over the age of three have experienced at least early stages of dental disease.


Most common canine dental health issues

What are the most common dental problems in dogs?

The most common dental problems in dogs include:

  • gum disease (periodontitis and gingivitis)

  • endodontic disease

  • developmental abnormalities

  • trauma or injury

  • periodontal disease (commonly called dental disease)

Symptoms of dental problems in dogs

Until problems are more severe, a dog likely won’t complain or show easily noticeable signs of discomfort for their dental health. Instead, pet owners should carefully monitor their dogs for symptoms. 

The most common signs of dental problems in dogs include:

  • discolouration of teeth (yellow/brown)

  • discolouration of gums

  • bad breath

  • a buildup of plaque or tartar (the brown stuff forming from the bottom of teeth)

  • excessive or unusual amounts of drooling

  • change in eating habits or unusual disinterest in food or treats

  • abnormal discharge from the mouth

  • swollen or bleeding gums

Ways to keep your dog’s teeth healthy

Feeding your dog foods that are good for their teeth

The foods that are best for your dog’s teeth are those that engage their jaw and take a longer time to eat. 

The most effective food for your dog’s dental health are often veterinary-approved, specifically-designed dry dog foods and treats. Usually shaped in dry kibble or hard sticks, these foods engage your dog’s jaw to salivate and chew, helping to clean plaque and tartar. 

Some examples of other foods that are great for canine dental health include:

  • Large, raw meaty bones 

  • Small amounts of some vegetables and fruits like carrots, celery, and pumpkins.

Which foods are bad for your dog’s teeth?

Similar to us, pet dental health revolves around a healthy diet and maintenance. 

There aren’t many foods that directly cause dental health problems for dogs, but foods high in sugars and carbohydrates can negatively affect your pet’s teeth without careful cleaning and veterinary dental care.

Brushing your dog’s teeth

You can keep on top of your pet’s dental health with careful monitoring and strict cleaning routines. Using a veterinary-approved dog toothbrush or gauze, you can try following the steps below. 

Tips to begin cleaning your pet’s teeth:

  • Start small. To begin, just clean their teeth in short sessions or introduce them to the taste of the cleaning product you intend to use. 

  • If your pet is uncomfortable with their toothbrush, start by using something else like a gauze swab.

  • Associate their cleaning with positive reinforcement by rewarding their patience and good behaviour.

You should aim to brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day, especially if they’re susceptible or have been affected by dental problems in the past.

If your pet is uncomfortable with you handling their teeth and you’re concerned, always seek veterinary assistance to avoid the risk of injuring your pet or yourself. 

4 steps to cleaning or brushing your dog’s teeth at home:

  1. Choose a quiet, relaxing space and time to start.

  2. Hold your dog steady: if they’re small, you can hold them in your lap. If they’re large, you can position them between your legs or sit beside them in a chair.

  3. Start by gently introducing them to the toothbrush (or another cleaning utensil) across the outside of their teeth.

  4. Once they’re comfortable, add your veterinary-approved dental cleaning product to your cleaning device and begin familiarising them with the taste and then start gently brushing.

  5. Continue for two minutes, focusing on removing leftover bits of food. 

  6. Once finished, avoid feeding your pet for at least 30 minutes. 


Treatment and prevention of dental issues in dogs

Routine dental-check ups for dogs

With nearly 80% of dogs over the age of three experiencing canine dental problems, it’s crucial that you have your pet’s mouth checked regularly. Depending on your dog’s age, breed, and existing medical conditions, you should have their teeth checked at least once a year. 

To book your pet for a general health check-up and dental inspection, contact us online or call the clinic at (07) 5593 8395

Alternatively, you can book your pet in for its appointment using our online portal.

Pet dentistry and professional teeth cleaning

Even with careful, ongoing attention to their dental health, dogs need regular veterinary assistance to keep their teeth as healthy as they can be. Depending on the factors mentioned above, your pet may need their teeth cleaned as often as once a year.

To book pet dentistry services and professional teeth cleaning contact the Reedy Creek Vet team

Our clinic is open on weekdays from 8 am to 5:30 pm and Saturdays from 8 am to 12 pm. Call our friendly reception team between these hours or make an appointment online.

Author:Reedy Creek Vet