If you have a dog, you need to make sure it receives proper dental care. Like humans, dog can develop gum disease if their teeth and gums are not cared for properly. Unfortunately, your dog can't tell you when its teeth hurt or when it's experiencing dental problems. Luckily, there some signs you can watch for. Here are four signs that your dog may have gum disease.
Halitosis That Goes Beyond Doggy Breath
Halitosis is one of the first signs of canine gum disease. If your dog develops bad breath take goes beyond normal doggy breath, it may be experiencing the beginning stages of gum disease. Try giving your dog dental sticks to chew on. If the foul breath goes away, it's a dental hygiene issue, which means you'll need to brush its teeth more often. However, if the dental sticks don't alleviate the foul odor, you should take your dog into the veterinarian for a dental exam.
Tartar buildup can occur very quickly on canine teeth. The easiest way to prevent tartar buildup is to brush your dog's teeth at least once a day and give it a dental stick to chew on several times a week. If you've noticed a significant amount of tartar buildup along the gum line, your dog may have gum disease. This is particularly true if your dog's gums have been bleeding.
Healthy canine gums should be curved around the top of each tooth. If your dog has gum disease, you may notice that its gums are swollen and that they form a straight line across the top of their teeth. Unfortunately, if your dog's gums are now swollen and red, they may be in the advanced stages of gum disease, which means they may be in jeopardy of losing their teeth.
Favoring One Side of the Mouth
Once gum disease advances to the severe stage, your dog may begin experiencing tooth pain. If that happens, you may notice that your dog favors one side of its mouth over the other. They may stop chewing on hard food and prefer soft food instead. If your dog is favoring one side of its mouth or is refusing to chew its food, you should schedule a dental exam as soon as possible.
Gum disease is treatable if caught soon enough. If your dog is exhibiting any of the symptoms described above, you should contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. To help prevent dental problems, be sure that your dog has a dental exam at least twice a year.
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