Skip to Main Content

Common Dental Problems in Dogs

Dental issues are among the most naturally occurring health problems found in dogs. Our vets in Leighton will help you identify, treat, and prevent some of the most common dental issues found in dogs.

Dental Issues in Dogs

Dog use their mouth for a lot of things but not every dog gets the dental care they need. Many owners brush their own teeth with full knowledge of the health issue if they don't, but don't think of the health issue their canine companion can suffer for not having their teeth properly looked after. Below we have compiled a list of common dental problems that dogs experience.

Tooth Fractures

With all of the chewing that dogs do whether they are eating or playing, it is not surprising that tooth fractures are a common occurrence. Even everyday items that dogs use can be the cause of a tooth fracture such as bones or hard plastic used to make toys.

Picking appropriate toys for your dog will help mitigate the issue of tooth fractures. Dog chew toys should be small enough that the dog doesn't have to stretch their mouth open, but large enough that there won't be a concern of accidentally swallowing or choking on the toy.

Plaque & Tartar Buildup

Just like humans, dogs will accumulate plaque and tartar buildup over time, especially without regular cleanings. Plaque is a whitish substance made up primarily of bacteria, that if left on the tooth, will harden and turn a more yellowish color called tartar. Tartar will remain stuck to the tooth until it is scraped off with an object such as those used by a veterinarian.

Plaque and tartar buildup are the main causes of gum disease in dogs as well as tooth loss. The most common signs for a dog owner to look out for are gingivitis (very red and swollen gum line), discolored deposits on the teeth, and increasingly bad breath. As the dental disease gets worse, dogs may experience even worse breath as well as bleeding of the gums.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is the deterioration of the gum and bone that surround the tooth. This most commonly occurs when untreated plaque and tartar stick to the tooth and make their way beneath the gum line. 

This disease starts in the form of gingivitis and develops into periodontal disease as the gum and bone around the tooth deteriorate. As this occurs, pockets around the tooth can develop, allowing food and bacteria to collect below the tooth. If left unattended, dangerous infections can arise and the teeth will begin to fall out.

Common symptoms of canine periodontitis include:

  • Discolored teeth (brown or yellow)
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Weight loss
  • Inflamed or bleeding gums
  • Irritability
  • Excessive drooling
  • Blood on chew toys or in the water bowl
  • Favoring one side of the mouth when chewing
  • “Ropey” or bloody saliva
  • Reduced appetite
  • Problems keeping food in the mouth

If you notice any of these symptoms present in your dog, please contact a veterinarian.

Tooth Fractures

With all of the chewing that dogs do whether they are eating or playing, it is not surprising that tooth fractures are a common occurrence. Even everyday items that dogs use can be the cause of a tooth fracture such as bones or hard plastic used to make toys.

Picking appropriate toys for your dog will help mitigate the issue of tooth fractures. Dog chew toys should be small enough that the dog doesn't have to stretch their mouth open, but large enough that there won't be a concern of accidentally swallowing or choking on the toy.

Oral Infections

An oral infection is an outcome of a pocket in the mouth ,usually around the root of the tooth, that has been filled with bacteria. Infections are primarily caused by periodontitis but can also be initiated due to trauma-induced chewing on hard or sharp objects. Some infections can be fatal as the bacteria makes its way to the bloodstream and cause organ disease/failure in the heart, liver, kidneys, or brain.

How to Prevent Dental Problems

Creating a dental care routine for your dog is a great way to maintain oral hygiene and prevent oral issues.

Introducing food or water additives is an easy way to improve and maintain the health and strength of their teeth and bones. Adjusting your dog's diet can also increase oral hygiene, even with small exchanges like providing dental chews instead of less healthy treats.

Brushing your dog's teeth regularly is an ideal tactic for dog owners to use. Although it is not very realistic, brushing their teeth every day would be best if your dog will tolerate the process.

Be sure to bring your dog in for an oral hygiene cleaning and examination at least once every year. Some smaller breeds of dogs should go two or more times a year due to their teeth's shallow roots.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always consult with a vet before making medical decisions for your pet. 

Worried about your dogs teeth? Has their breath gotten worse? Contact your All Animal Clinic vet to book an appointment to get your dog in for a dental cleaning.

New Patients Welcome

All Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Leighton companion animals. We currently are only taking pets by appointment, so get in touch to schedule yours today!

Contact Us

(256) 446-8888 Contact