Dental Health Issue in Dogs

The dental health problem is a frequent and painful condition that many dogs suffer from in silence. Dogs with dental health problems can experience pain for months and years in conditions that would force people to see a dentist in just a few hours. It is estimated that within two years, 80% of dogs will have a dental health problem. As a pet parent, you can protect your dog and help prevent and treat painful dental health problems in the early (less painful) stages.

Here is my 5 step plan that you can implement right now to make sure your dog has a healthy and pain free mouth.

Step 1: Identify the signs

It is important to emphasize that most dogs do not complain and do not show signs of a painful dental health problem. Here are some warning signs:

  • Stale breath
  • Tartar (brown/white plaque on the teeth)
  • Gingivitis (red line along the gums)
  • Avoid chewing food/toys/bones.
  • Chewing on one side of the mouth
  • There are no signs that steps 3 to 5 are crucial!

Step 2: Home care

Brushing your dog’s teeth can make a big difference in preventing dental health problems. Check out my style tips here. The ideal is to brush your dog’s teeth every day. Tartar takes 48 hours to form. If you can’t brush your teeth every day, brush your teeth whenever you can. If your puppy won’t let you brush his teeth or if you’re struggling to find time, don’t be discouraged. However, abandoning daily brushing will make steps 3 to 5 mandatory.

Step 3: Oral exams at home

Know your dog’s mouth. Notice redness and swelling along the gums, bumps and bumps, as well as damaged teeth. Ask your veterinarian to show you which teeth break most often. Be on the lookout for discolored teeth. This is also a good time to smell your dog’s breath. If you find anything disturbing or if you have bad breath, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian or send a photo.

Step 4: Oral examinations at your veterinarian

This should be done every 6 months or more often if your puppy already has a dental health problem. This allows a professional to assess the severity of your dog’s tartar, gingivitis, and damaged teeth. Your veterinarian can only evaluate part of your dog’s mouth during a surveillance examination. For this reason, step 5 is very important.

Step 5: Tooth brushing and X-rays under anesthesia

When your dog is under very mild sedation, your veterinarian may take an X-ray and examine any tooth structure that is not visible when examined in the waking state. This is a step that ensures that your dog does not suffer in silence. A tooth may look healthy, but it has a painful health problem below the gum line.

Many puppy parents worry that anesthesia is not safe for their dogs regularly. With good protocols, anesthesia is usually very safe, and regular cleanings can significantly reduce the duration of this procedure from start to finish (limiting the time your dog spends under anesthesia).

Here are some questions you can ask your veterinarian to make sure you are following standard anesthesia protocols:

“Are you going to do any lab work before the anesthesia?”Your veterinarian should perform a complete blood test (CBC) and a chemical analysis before anesthesia.

“Will a dedicated nurse take care of my dog during anesthesia and recovery?”The answer must be yes! Bonus points if there are two of them!

“Will the veterinarian use local anesthesia (nerve block) before performing the extractions?”This makes it possible to reduce general anesthesia and make the procedure safer.

“Will a complete X-ray of the teeth be performed in the mouth?”The answer must be yes!

Maintaining your dog’s oral health is an important aspect of maintaining his overall health. Do the best you can and if you stick with dental care, it’s never too late to come back!

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