Posted 30th Aug 2017
Dental disease is the most common disease dogs will face
An astonishing 85 per cent (i) of dogs will have dental problems from just three years of age – this is the equivalent of the same number of people in their early 20's suffering with dental disease.
This is a significant concern for pet owners, as it's not only a silent and hidden problem but can also pose a genuine risk to a dog's overall health and wellbeing. A combination of working and looking after a busy home means it can be difficult to find the time to check our dog's teeth - however, doing so regularly and knowing the signs to look out for help to prevent dental disease early on.
Eukanuba's Veterinary Expert, Kellie Ceccarelli, offers her insight and advice on ensuring you keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy.
What is dental disease?
Dogs acquire gum disease in the same way humans do. Bacteria will attach to the surfaces of the teeth and gum line to form what is known as plaque, a soft and sticky film which causes bad breath. If plaque is not brushed off, minerals from the saliva combine with plaque and form tartar, which can happen after as little as 48 hours.
Tartar causes local irritation which results in gum inflammation. Unfortunately, prior to gingivitis, the owner will see absolutely nothing, which is why dental disease will generally be thought of as a silent disease. If the calculus is not removed, it begins to separate the gum from the teeth, allowing even more bacteria to enter. This is called peridontal disease.
Spot the warning signs
Contrary to popular belief, 'dog breath' isn't normal, so it's often a sign of underlying problem. Keep an eye out for reddened, bleeding or swollen gums and yellow-brown tartar build-up. Pain, excess salivation and a loss of appetite are also indicators of dental disease, although dogs could mask the signs of dental pain, even learning how to eat dry food with the non-painful part of their mouth.
Follow the ‘3Ds of Dental Care’
As puppies, “baby” teeth are white and gums lovely and pink, but once a dog’s adult teeth come through, they need more help to keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy. Ensuring good dental hygiene is an important part of pet ownership and by following the 3D’s of Dental Care you can keep the risk of dental disease under control and have peace of mind knowing your dog’s teeth are being well looked after.
Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth is by far the most effective way to remove plaque from the gumline (ii). This should be done once or twice a day, or if that is not possible then on an every other day basis (combined with a tailored dental diet and special dental chews).
Feeding your dog with a premium nutrition can help to prevent dental disease. With a blend of science and 45 years of expertise, Eukanuba offers a 100% complete and balanced diet tailored to suit various breeds, life stages, and lifestyles for visible benefits with a lifelong impact.
Finally, as a rule, you should have your dog`s teeth and gums checked by the vet every 12 months, ideally every 6 months if possible.
(i) Wiggs RB. Periodontal disease in age categories of dogs and cats. 11th Am Vet Dental Forum, Denver, Co, USA, 1997: 143-144
(ii) Eisner ER. Home care and dietary management of canine and feline dental patients, in Proceedings/Vet Dental Forum 2001:35-39