Sadly, most pet owners neglect to care for their dog’s teeth. Unknown to them, dental disease in dogs increases the risk of heart, kidney, and liver disease. Like humans, their dental health needs to be in 100% optimal condition to avoid oral issues and other infections in their bodies. Even simple tooth loss can lead to periodontal disease and heart, kidneys, and liver issues.
Caused by bacteria, periodontal disease is the presence of infection and inflammation of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth called the periodontium.
Potential Health Risks of Poor Oral Hygiene in Dogs
1. Increases the Risk of Heart Disease
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association or WSAVA found a link between periodontal disease and endocarditis. Endocarditis is a heart valve infection wherein the heart’s inner lining is inflamed in response to a dog’s body infection. Experts also warned pet owners that this condition is six times higher in dogs with moderate to severe or stage three periodontal disease than those without it.
As it progresses, it can affect your dog’s heart functioning, resulting in shortness of breath or difficulty of breathing.
2. Complicates Diabetes
Diabetic dogs have higher levels of periodontal disease. While it’s almost impossible to identify which occurred first, the infection and inflammation associated with periodontal disease can affect blood sugar metabolism. That’s why vets need to treat periodontal disease first to manage a dog’s diabetes better.
If not, other health complications can arise, including cataracts that can make your dogs lose their vision entirely. Click here for ophthalmology pet care in Cordova if you’re nearby.
3. Dog Pain
Dogs don’t usually show signs they’re in pain. Even if they’re behaving and eating normally, they may be suffering from oral disease. That’s why owners tend to delay a vet visit. Also, while you can see some signs, such as drooling, swelling or bleeding, and lack of appetite, this may not always be the case.
By the time severe symptoms show, it’s too late to save their tooth. It can also mean that they have been quietly living in pain for some time. The saddest part is that you may need to bring them to veterinary dentistry and oral surgery specialists.
4. Broken Jaw
Poor oral hygiene can lead to broken jaws, especially for smaller breeds with disproportionately huge teeth, such as Maltese, Shih Tzu, and Chihuahua. Oral infection to these types of dogs can weaken their tiny jaws. A fractured jaw due to periodontal disease can often become difficult because of the area’s lack of teeth and good-quality bone.
How to Care for Dog’s Teeth to Prevent Overall Health Issues
The most effective and less costly way to prevent dental disease is to maintain your dogs’ regular oral hygiene routine. It includes brushing their teeth daily to prevent harmful bacteria from building up on their gums and teeth. Feeding them appropriately also helps, like giving dry food instead of soft food. Crunchy food is better since it scrapes away tartar as dogs eat.
In addition, take your dogs to the vet for annual oral exams. If it’s necessary, consider an anesthetized oral exam with a complete tooth-by-tooth exam and dental x-rays. Note that a dog’s oral hygiene is more than just cleaning their teeth and addressing bad breath.
On the other hand, ensure that you choose a vet clinic or hospital with 24/7 emergency care, such as this emergency vet Cordova hospital. The location of their clinic is a crucial factor to consider in choosing a veterinarian. Remember, the closest to you, the better.