Puppy kisses – is there anything sweeter? But when your pup has poor dental health, those puppy kisses can mean more than just stinky breath.
According to the American Veterinary Dental College, by age 3, most dogs and cats show signs of periodontal disease. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association says that periodontal disease impacts upwards of 80% of dogs and cats. Periodontal disease can cause major issues throughout a dog’s life, due to bacteria which releases toxins directly into a dog’s bloodstream. Because of poor dental health, your dog can suffer inflammation, severe pain, loss of gums or teeth, a fistula (or hole) into the oral cavity and nasal passageways, weakened immune system, diabetes, and even heart disease.
As scary as these diseases can be, there is no need to panic. With the right treatment and prevention, you can avoid periodontal disease altogether.
How does periodontal disease start?
Periodontal disease begins when bacteria in the mouth form a substance called plaque that sticks to the surface of the teeth. Subsequently, minerals in the saliva harden the plaque into dental calculus (tartar), which is firmly attached to the teeth. Tartar above the gum line is obvious to many owners, but is not of itself the cause of disease.
Signs and symptoms of periodontal disease
According to PetMD, symptoms of periodontal disease in dogs includes:
- Problems picking up food
- Bleeding or red gums
- Loose teeth
- Blood in the water bowl or on chew toys
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- “Talking” or making noises when a dog eats or yawns
- Bumps or lumps in the mouth
- Bloody or ropey saliva
- Not wanting the head touched (head shyness)
- Chewing on one side of the mouth
- Sneezing or nasal discharge (advanced gum disease in the upper teeth can destroy the bone between the nasal and oral cavity)
Unfortunately, by the time your pet begins to show these symptoms, they may already have a severe infection. That is why it is so important to help your dog have good hygiene before disease has time to start.
The best way to keep your dog healthy is through prevention. Starting a routine early in your pet’s life will not only help keep their gums clean, but will help your pets maintain a sense of overall balance and wellbeing.
One of the easiest things you can do is to brush your pet’s teeth. Whether you do this at home or have a groomer do it, it can help tremendously in the long-run. You can also try giving your pet dental treats, like these ones from V-Dog. Remember, dental treats are still treats and should be kept in moderation.
Another way to prevent gum disease is to keep your pet on a healthy, low-carb diet. Often, toxins are lurking in our dogs’ food which stick to the gums and teeth and are slowly released over time. Keeping your dog on a raw or more natural diet can help prevent inflammation as well, which can help lower the risk of gum disease.
If your dog has periodontal disease, it is important to bring them to a professional to create a plan of action. You may need to change your dog’s food to a softer diet to help them chew, and your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics.
For many pet parents, using anesthesia can be nerve-wracking for routine teeth cleaning and oral care. Anesthesia poses risks of complications and can leave a dog feeling groggy and uncomfortable for hours afterward. I recommend finding a trained professional who can do professional teeth cleaning without the use of any anesthesia. These cleanings can take anywhere from 1-3 hours and are performed by a trained hygienist who uses a variety of methods to remove tartar and other harmful bacteria.
You can also treat periodontal disease with full spectrum hemp CBD oil, which can lower inflammation and aid in healing. You may also find colloidal silver and apple cider vinegar helpful in treating periodontal disease, as both act as an antibacterial.
Angela Ardolino has been caring for animals since she was 8 years old and has operated a farm rescue for over 10 years. She also is the owner of Beautify the Beast a natural pet salon and spa, and the founder of CBD Dog Health. Angela is an expert in medical cannabis and has dedicated her life to providing all-natural relief for pets of all kinds. She has three dogs, and 4-10 at anytime that she is fostering, or boarding, visit www.angelaardolino.com to find out more or www.facebook.com/fireflakefarm to find out more about Fire Flake Farm.