May 4, 2010

How can you tell if my dog has gum disease?

Filed under: dental care for dogs — Dr. Amber Reed @ 9:33 pm

gum disease in dogsOtherwise known as periodontal disease, gum disease in dogs is a condition wherein the gums around the teeth become weakened and inflamed.  Dog periodontal disease usually develops because of poor dental hygiene and may result in tooth loss or other more serious side effects.  While most dogs affected by gum disease tend to be older, it is not impossible for young dogs to develop the condition.

Most often, periodontal disease in dogs results from the consistent presence of plaque and food particles along the gumline.  When these food particles are not removed and the plaque forms the gums get irritated and gingivitis results.  You can recognize gingivitis by redness in the gums that are next to the teeth.  In addition, chronic gingivitis is one of the main causes of halitosis in dogs and animals alike.

Eventually, plaque on the teeth forms tartar which can build up under the gums.  This tartar causes your dogs gums to separate from the teeth and allows bacteria to grow.  This condition is periodontal disease and is irreversible.  Symptoms of periodontal disease include pain, tooth lose, abscesses, and even bone loss.  Many factors contribute to the development of periodontal disease in dogs.  While age and general health are leading factors, diet, breed, grooming, and home care can also be important contributors to dog periodontal disease.

canine teeth careTreatment of gum disease in dogs depends on the severity of the disease.  Professional dental cleaning is recommended for dogs with low grade periodontal disease so that tartar and plaque can be removed.  However, in more advanced cases of dog periodontal disease may even involve surgery.  In order to protect the overall health of your dog it is important to take preventative measures against periodontal disease.  Because periodontal disease is irreversible you should try to maintain dental health through regular veterinary visits, a healthy diet, and daily oral care.

January 31, 2010

Can my Dog eat with no Teeth?

Filed under: dental care for dogs,dog dental,dog with no teeth — Dr. Amber Reed @ 4:11 pm

dog with no teethThe luckiest dog owners will get to see their beloved pet grow to a ripe, old age. While the health of older dogs is a bigger concern, we all want to believe that our dogs will be around for a very long time. Yet, in many of these cases these dogs have special care needs and many pet owners wonder if a dog with no teeth can still eat.

Clearly, the best thing a dog owner can do to ensure their dogs will have no problem enjoying their favorite foods long into adulthood is to take care of your dog’s teeth. Proper dental care should start early and will include using milk bones and even tooth brushes from time to time. Still, for many dogs, losing teeth is inevitable as they get older.

Nevertheless, even without teeth your dog can still eat; but as a loving owner, you will need to make some more intelligent choices when it comes to their diet. Chewy treats and dog bones are probably no longer appropriate. Likewise, dogs lose their ability to crunch on dry dog food as they lose their teeth so you will almost definitely need to make some dietary changes.

canine tooth careIn the early stages of losing teeth, switch to softer, dry food. Your dog will still have some teeth and should manage well will soft or semi-moist food. But once your dog loses all its teeth, even softer dog foods will be difficult. You’ll want to make the switch to canned, wet foods and you’ll need to spend some extra time preparing the food. Your dog doesn’t have any teeth so it probably cannot break up even wet food very easily. Cut or mash the wet food so that your dog can easily take small bites. No teeth makes meal times a bit more challenging but certainly not impossible.

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Disclaimer: CritterCures is an educational resource, and all information herein is strictly for educational purposes. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure diseases, nor is it meant to replace the (prescribed) treatment or recommendations of your veterinarian or healthcare provider. Always inform your veterinarian or healthcare provider of any products that your pet are taking, including herbal remedies and supplements.