Those pearly whites your dog barely shows may be tucked away behind those furry lips, but just like you, your pooch can have dental problems that require occasional veterinarian attention. Periodontal disease, or disease of the soft tissue of the mouth, is a common canine problem–especially for older dogs. Unfortunately, many pet parents fail to realize what the problem is or even that their dog is suffering or in pain because of periodontal disease. To be better equipped to handle the total care of your dog, it is important that you get to know a bit more about this common problem.
What causes periodontal disease in dogs?
There are a lot of factors that can come into play with the dental health of your four-legged pal. In some cases, the problem is only relative to age, because just like humans, animals have a greater likelihood of developing periodontal disease as they get older. However, some dog breeds are also naturally more prone to developing periodontal disease because of the shape of their teeth and jaws. Periodontal disease can also be caused by a poor diet. If food particles and extra mineral deposits are allowed to accumulate around the teeth, it can actually irritate the gums and lead to periodontal disease as well.
How do you know your dog has periodontal disease?
There are a few common signs of periodontal disease, but these signs and symptoms can be missed or wrongly associated with other health problems. For example, you may notice your dog's appetite has changed or that they are losing weight but assume something else is the problem. To further help you, you should also be looking for symptoms like:
- red and irritated gums, sometimes oozing pus or really sore to the touch
- loose teeth or teeth falling out
- your dog constantly pawing at their face or mouth area
- bad breath
- irritability or your dog is easier to agitate than usual
What should you do if you suspect your dog has periodontal disease?
First and foremost, you should get your dog to a vet or a dog dentist to ensure they get a proper diagnosis for the problem. In rare cases, infection relative to the periodontal disease can lead to severe health concerns. In the meantime, do what you can to soothe your dog's pain like switching to softer foods and giving them water that is lukewarm instead of cold. Your veterinarian will be able to offer prescription medications to help with pain and help alleviate the symptoms for your pet.
For more information, contact establishments like Coastal Carolina Animal Hospital.