Dental Disease And Bad Breath In Dogs


Approximately 80% of dogs over the age of three have experienced some kind of dental disease.  Bacteria accumulating in your dog’s mouth which causes periodontal disease can also travel through the blood stream and cause more problems throughout the dog’s body.

You can check for dental disease in your dog simply by looking into his mouth.  If his breath has a foul odor it may be the result of bacteria from decaying food.  You want to check to see if the dog has inflamed gums or if he has a sticky film known as plaque covering his teeth.  If the dog has a tooth which has abscessed there may be visible swelling on the jaw.  If the dog has abscessed teeth in the upper jaw it could cause sneezing or discharge from the nose.  If the dog is not chewing his food and just swallowing it down it may indicate he has some loose or missing teeth.

If you find evidence of a problem with your dog’s teeth or gums you need to schedule a visit to your veterinarian.  His office can perform a dental cleaning.  He can remove any plaque, remove any teeth that have to come out, check for pockets of abscess and check for bone that is deteriorating.  The vet may give your dog some antibiotic and then  prescribe antibiotics for your dog to continue taking for a period of time in order to clear any infection.

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To help prevent dental problems in your dog it is an excellent habit to brush the dog’s teeth daily.  It helps if you start doing the brushing when the dog is still a pup so he gets used to the idea.  There are toothbrushes and toothpaste made just for dogs available at either your vet’s office or a pet store.  Do not brush your dog’s teeth with toothpaste made for humans.  These may contain ingredients which are harmful to your pet.  Besides pet toothpaste comes in “yummy” flavors like poultry.  You only need to brush the front of the dog’s teeth using downward strokes.  The saliva and tongue will clean other areas of the dog’s mouth.  If the dog will not allow brushing there are also dog dental wipes available.

There are toys and treats you can purchase designed to help clean the dog’s teeth.  Be sure you find the right size for the dog.  Feeding your dog some kibble may also help clean plaque from his teeth.

To help ensure a long, healthy, happy life for your pet dog it’s important to keep on top of his dental health with regular dental care at home and regular examinations and any needed treatment at the veterinarian’s office.