DOES YOUR DOG HAVE GUM DISEASE?Guidance from our friends at Greenies on caring for your dog’s dental health
How long would you go without brushing your teeth? Our dog’s oral health is as important as our own, and it requires looking after. This guide from Greenies™ will tell you everything you need to know about gum disease – how it’s formed, treated and prevented – and how to effectively look after your dog’s oral health.
Unlike humans, dogs use their mouths for more than just eating. They’re essential tools for carrying things, playing, tugging, chewing and living life to the full. Mouths are as important to dogs as our hands are to us, and healthy mouths depend on healthy teeth.
90% of owners think their dog’s teeth and gums are healthy, but shockingly 80% of dogs over the age of 3 have gum disease (also called Periodontal disease)¹. Gum disease is the most common complication in adult dogs and oral care is the number one reason a dog owner will take their dog to the vet.
There are certain signs that your dog might exhibit if they are suffering from gum disease:
- Bad breath – this is not normal, and is almost always a sign of underlying gum disease
- If they have other insulin-resistant disorders or conditions, such as chronic pancreatitis or hyperthyroidism, they might be at risk of developing diabetes as well.
- Gingivitis/bleeding gums – reddening/swelling where the gums meet the teeth
- Being less lively/social or unwilling to chew/play
- Rubbing/pawing at their face
- Reluctant to let someone touch their mouth/head
- Not eating normally
- Change in temperament/behaviour
As dogs are stoic animals (meaning they can endure pain without displaying any effects), it is really important that they have regular oral health checks.
Gum disease is caused by bacteria sticking to the surface of the teeth, forming a sticky, white layer called dental plaque. If the plaque isn’t removed through an effective oral care regime it hardens to form tartar – which cannot be brushed away. The initial stages of gum disease are reversible if treated. If left untreated, they are irreversible and very painful for the animal. Gum disease can lead to tooth extraction and other health complications. Once tissue has been destroyed, it cannot be replaced.
Gum disease is more common in smaller breeds of dogs. This is because the risk of periodontal disease increases with age and small dogs typically live for longer. On top of this, small jaws contain the same number of teeth in a smaller area. If the teeth are closer together they can more easily trap bacteria and plaque can accumulate.
A daily home care regime is the best way to prevent gum disease. Tooth brushing is the single biggest difference an owner can make to their dog’s dental health. It should be introduced slowly and made fun for the dog. However, tooth brushing can be tricky.
Greenies™ offers an easy, at home solution for caring for your dog’s oral health. Greenies™ are clinically proven to improve total oral health²:
- 80% healthier gums
- 60% less tartar
- 45% fresher breath
- 32% less plaque
On top of this, Greenies™ have an irresistible taste that your dog will love. They are complete and balanced, easy to digest and low in fat. Greenies™ have a soft and flexible texture to allow the tooth to sink right in and encourage chewing, and are available in 4 sizes to suit a range of different bite forces.
Take charge of your dog’s oral health today.
Our articles are not a replacement for face-to-face vet advice. It’s important to consult with your vet on a regular basis to raise any pet concerns that you may have.
Greenies™ Powerfully Good.
1Kortegaard HA, Erikksen T and Baelum V. (2008) Periodontal disease in research beagle dogs – an epidemiological study. Journal of Small Animal Practice 49, 610-616
2J Vet Dent 30(2); 84-87, 2013.)