periodontal disease in dogs

What is Periodontal Disease in Dogs?

What is it?

Periodontal disease in dogs is a condition that affects the tissues surrounding the teeth, including the gums, ligaments, and bones. This condition is caused by the buildup of plaque and tartar on the teeth, which can lead to infection and inflammation. Over time, periodontal disease can cause tooth loss and other health problems.

How is it Treated?

The treatment of periodontal disease in dogs typically involves a professional dental cleaning under anesthesia. This consists of the removal of plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth, as well as the treatment of any underlying infections or inflammation. In addition to preventing further development of periodontal disease, regular at-home dental care, such as tooth brushing and dental chews or treats, is recommended.

Breed Predispositions

Chihuahua Pomeranian Toy Poodle Yorkshire Terrier Maltese Dachshund Shetland Sheepdog Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Greyhound Afghan Hound


Sarah had always been proud of her dog, Cooper, a handsome and energetic Border Collie with a radiant smile. However, she recently noticed that his breath was increasingly foul, and his once pearly white teeth were now discolored and covered in plaque. Knowing the importance of dental health, Sarah wasted no time in taking Cooper to their family veterinarian for an examination. The vet’s diagnosis was clear: Cooper was suffering from periodontal disease, a common yet potentially severe oral health problem in dogs.

Periodontal disease in dogs, or gum disease, is common among dogs that cause inflammation and damage to the soft tissue and bone surrounding a dog’s teeth. It typically occurs when plaque and tartar on the tooth surface accumulate below the gum line and cause an infection that can spread to other parts of the mouth. This infection can eventually lead to tooth loss or even more severe untreated medical conditions.

It is estimated that 80% of dogs suffer from the periodontal disease over the age of three, which means that most dogs will develop the periodontal disease at some point.

The American Academy of Periodontology defines periodontal disease as “a chronic inflammatory process affecting the supporting structures of the teeth.” There are three types of periodontal disease: gingivitis, periodontitis, and apical periodontitis.

  1. Gingivitis is milder than periodontitis, and it causes redness and swelling of the gums and makes regular tooth brushing difficult. Gingivitis usually starts with plaque buildup under the gumline. Over time, bacteria multiply and form tartar, causing the gums to become inflamed. With gingivitis, there is no bone loss or tooth attachment.
  2. Periodontitis is often called adult periodontitis because it typically develops during adulthoDeep pockets between teeth and gums, loose teeth, and bone loss characterized loss. Periodontitis is caused by bacterial infections that destroy the soft tissues and bones supporting teeth.
  3. Apical periodontitis is much rarer than other periodontal diseases. It happens when infected teeth spread into the tooth’s root canal system. Apical periodontitis can occur in people with healthy gums and regular dental hygiene. However, it can cause chronic pain and can damage the jawbone.

Causes of Gum Disease in Dogs

Recent studies show that almost 90 percent of dogs will develop some form of periodontitis by two years of age. That’s why as early as possible, we have to take care of the teeth of our fur baby to avoid periodontal disease.

This disease is caused by plaque buildup around teeth, which hardens into tartar and causes gum inflammation, leading to inflammation and, eventually, tooth loss. Other factors that cause periodontal disease includes poor oral hygiene, diabetes, stress, genetics, and certain medications. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth decay. Periodontal disease affects both large and small breeds alike.

Poor nutrition and lack of dental care contribute to periodontal disease, too. For example, dogs who eat a diet high in carbohydrates tend to have more plaque buildup, and they also tend to chew on things like toys and bedding, which get stuck in their mouths and contribute to plaque formation.

Causes of Gum Disease in Dogs 1

Symptoms of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

The most common signs of periodontal disease include gingival swelling, missing teeth, and redness in the gums. Other symptoms include:

Bad Breath – Dogs often lick their lips, especially after meals, and this is normal behavior, but if your dog licks his lips excessively, he may have periodontal disease.

Loose Teeth – Loose teeth are one of the most common signs of periodontal disease. As the disease progresses, the bone supporting the teeth begins to deteriorate, causing the teeth to loosen and eventually fall out.

Bleeding Gums – As the disease continues, the gums become inflamed and bleed easily. Bleeding gums are usually accompanied by bad breath.

Drooling –Dogs with dental disease tend to drool frequently. Drooling occurs when saliva accumulates between the teeth and tongue, causing irritation and inflammation.

Other Symptoms – Besides these symptoms, dogs suffering from periodontal disease may appear listless, tired, and depressed. They may also have difficulty eating and drinking due to soreness in the mouth, which may cause weight loss in your dog.

Diagnosis of Periodontal Disease in Dogs

To diagnose periodontal disease, veterinarians use several techniques, including visual examination, x-rays, blood tests, and bacterial cultures. The most accurate method is a complete mouth exam or an oral exam, where the veterinarian examines every tooth in the dog’s mouth. This is usually done at least once during each visit.

Stages of Periodontal Diseases in Dogs

Periodontal diseases in dogs can be classified into four: Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, and Stage 4. Each stage has its signs and symptoms, indicating that your dog suffers from periodontal disease.

  • In Stage 1 of periodontal disease, gingivitis occurs when bacteria-laden plaque accumulates on the teeth below the gum line. Plaque then hardens into a substance known as calculus, which causes irritation and inflammation to the surrounding tissues. In this stage, there may be redness, swelling, and discoloration of the gums around the affected tooth or teeth.
  • In Stage 2 of periodontal disease in dogs, more severe inflammation occurs as the calculus pushes farther below the gum line, causing pockets between the tooth’s root and jawbone. In addition, bacteria can now enter these pockets, further irritating surrounding tissues and causing discomfort for your pet.
  • Stage 3 is also an advanced periodontal disease where the active infection starts damaging bone tissue around teeth roots and creating more oversized pockets, allowing bacteria to multiply further and lead to decay. At this point, severe discomfort for your pet can no longer be ignored.
  • Stage 4 is end-stage periodontal disease in which multiple oral problems exist due to large amounts of calculus present throughout the mouth leading to bad breath and movement or shifting of teeth due to loss in bone support around them. Without proper medical intervention, your pup’s life could be at risk! Identification and treatment are essential to managing oral health problems before they worsen.

Treatments of Periodontal Diseases in Dogs

Several treatment options are available if your pet shows signs of periodontal disease—from simple home remedies to surgery.

Treatments of Periodontal Diseases in Dogs 1
  • Home remedies include brushing daily with a soft toothbrush and rinsing his mouth with water after meals. This helps remove plaque buildup and prevent further damage to his teeth.
  • Pain medication can be used to relieve discomfort associated with periodontal disease. Your vet will prescribe an antibiotic for this purpose.
  • Surgical procedures include scaling and root planning, where the dentist removes tartar and debris between the teeth and roots. This procedure is usually performed every six months.
  • Another option is tooth extraction, where the vet pulls out damaged teeth. Dental extractions are often performed when the animal shows pain or infection.

Dogs who suffer from periodontal disease are at risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, and cancer. So it’s essential to keep your dog’s teeth healthy.

Prevention of Periodontal Diseases in Dogs

Make sure to seek medical advice from your vet if your dog is behaving unusually. Here are some tips to help you out:

  • Oral care includes brushing your dog’s teeth twice daily, which helps avoid discolored teeth. Use a soft bristle brush, and use a small amount of toothpaste.
  • Keep your dog away from foods like raw bones, hard candy, and ice cream cones. These items can cause tartar buildup and increase the risk of developing periodontal disease.
  • If your dog eats dry food, ensure it contains high-quality ingredients like fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and grains.
  • Make sure your dog gets regular checkups from your veterinarian. They can tell if your pet needs antibiotics or special diets.
  • Do not let your dog lick his paws excessively. Excessive licking can promote plaque buildup.
  • Chew toys made from natural rubber latex rubber are safe for dogs. You can even buy chew bones explicitly made for dogs.

Dry foods are also an excellent choice for your dog’s periodontal health. They are usually formulated with hard textures and small kibble sizes, making them great for getting between teeth and gums. Additionally, dry food is easier to chew, has more nutritional benefits, and can help reduce plaque build-up.

Regarding periodontal disease in dogs, dry food helps clean teeth effectively as your canine chews with its sharp canine teeth. Not only does it help promote proper oral hygiene, but it also minimizes the proliferation of bacteria that cause various dental problems.

Some of the dry foods we highly recommend are HealthyAdvantage™, Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets and Canigan Dental. These are some great dry dog foods formulated to help reduce tartar, plaque, and even bad breath for your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

It depends on how severe the periodontal disease is. Some cases require only antibiotic treatment; others may require surgery. A dog’s average price of treating periodontal disease ranges from $150 to $300 per session.

Here are some home remedies that you can try at home:

  • Toothpaste

Toothpaste contains fluoride, which helps prevent decay and strengthen enamel. Apply it directly onto the affected area twice daily. Please do not use too much because it could irritate you.

  • Salt Water Rinse

A salt water rinse is another effective way to clean your dog’s mouth. First, mix one teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. Then, gently swish it around your dog’s teeth and tongue, which will help remove plaque and tartar buildup.

  • Sugarless Chewing Gum

Chewing sugarless chewing gum can help reduce bad breath and control bacteria growth. Place a piece of gum in your dog’s food bowl once every day. Your pet will chew it up and swallow it.

There are many ways to remove plaque from your dog’s teeth, and the most common methods include brushing, flossing, rinsing, and applying dental chews.

  • Brushing is one of the easiest ways to clean your dog’s mouth because it requires minimal effort and only takes a few minutes daily. However, if your dog doesn’t like having his mouth brushed, you should try another method.
  • Flossing helps prevent gum disease and reduces the risk of periodontal disease. To floss, ensure your dog isn’t chewing anything while you do this. Then, place a piece of floss between two adjacent teeth. Gently pull the floss through until you reach the opposite side. Repeat this process for all of your dog’s molars. Do not force the floss too far down your dog’s throat.
  • Rinsing is yet another way to remove plaque. Rinse your dog’s mouth with water after eating, preventing food particles from sticking to the teeth and causing problems later. Rinsing is especially helpful if your dog eats dry kibble.
  • Dental chews are great for removing plaque from your dog’s teeth. In addition, chewing these treats stimulates saliva production, which helps loosen plaque and reduce tartar buildup. Some people recommend giving their dog pleasure at least twice a day.

If none of these methods work, consider getting professional help. Your vet can give you some suggestions on how to keep your dog’s oral health healthy.

The pain associated with this disease varies from dog to dog, and some dogs do not show obvious discomfort, while others suffer severe pain. You should consult your vet immediately if your dog shows any of these symptoms.

Periodontal disease in dogs can progress quickly, particularly if the dog has poor oral hygiene habits.

Generally, dogs can live with gum disease for a few months before the condition becomes severe. However, the canine teeth may become loose and decay if left untreated, which may result in oral surgery to remove them.

If the periodontal disease goes untreated in dogs, it can lead to tooth loss and possible infection. Additionally, plaque may build up along the gums and between teeth, which can cause severe issues with biting. If left untreated, periodontal disease may also progress to more severe conditions such as heart disease or diabetes.

Advanced periodontal disease in dogs results from gradually losing bone and gums around their teeth. The bones gradually become soft and can no longer support the surrounding tissue, leading to tooth decay and eventual removal.

Since most cases of periodontal disease are caused by bacteria that can be spread through contact with saliva or plaque droplets from the mouth, other animals can become infected if they’re close to a diseased dog. If you’re concerned about your pet’s oral health and want to maintain good dental hygiene practices if your dog becomes infected, clean his teeth regularly and discourage him from licking his lips or tongue.

Gum disease in dogs can cause diarrhea because gum disease is a common cause of poor digestion and nutrient absorption. Poor digestibility of food results in increased gas production, which can lead to diarrhea.

At stage four, the destruction of your dog’s teeth is extensive, and nearly all of your teeth may be lost in both jaws. The gums may also recede, making it difficult for them to eat and drink properly.

There is no definitive answer to this question, as the cause of elevated liver enzymes in dogs may be due to several factors. Some potential causes include infection, autoimmune disease, exposure to toxins, and dietary problems. In some cases, nothing can be done other than monitoring the dog for any changes in its health and using appropriate medication or supplements as needed. Always consult your veterinarian if you are concerned about a possible cause for elevated liver enzymes in your dog.

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that colonize the gums and interfere with their ability to heal correctly. The most common types of bacteria implicated in causing periodontal disease in dogs are Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas gingivalis.

Seizure activity can occur in dogs due to a variety of reasons. Some possible causes of dog seizures include head trauma, epilepsy, and brain tumors. So it is difficult to say definitively whether periodontal disease may be involved. However, if your dog experiences increased seizure activity or any other concerning behavior changes related to their oral health care (e.g., drooling or chewing on objects), it would be best to visit a veterinary specialist for evaluation.

Some dental diseases may be inherited in a Mendelian pattern, meaning that they are passed down in the genes of affected animals. Other factors influencing the development of certain dental diseases include environmental and dietary influences, age, and breed.

Animals not receiving anesthesia for dental cleanings may have a slightly higher risk of developing an infection. However, the benefits of anesthesia-free dental cleanings outweigh this potential health concern.

Some dogs are predisposed to periodontal disease, meaning they may be more likely to develop the condition than other dogs. These include mutts, Welsh Corgis, Shetland Sheepdogs, Boston Terriers, and Dachshunds. 

This is mainly due to a combination of genetics and lifestyle choices. If you have a dog who seems particularly prone to developing periodontal disease, it’s essential to take measures to prevent or treat the condition as soon as possible.

Yes, periodontal disease can have a complicated array of complications. These complications may include the following: loss of teeth, gum infection, bone infection (osteomyelitis), toothache, and heart attack.

Nutrition affects the likelihood of gum disease in dogs primarily through its effect on plaque formation. A diet low in fiber and high in sugar contributes to increased bacteria levels that form plaque, leading to inflammation and tooth decay.

Periodontal surgery in dogs usually entails removing plaque and calculus (tartar) from the teeth and gums. The dog’s mouth may be cleaned, dried, numbed, or treated with local anesthesia before the surgeon makes an initial cut into the gum tissue to access the teeth. Once this is done, other cuts are made around individual tooth roots to remove the tartar buildup. Reconstruction of bone and gum tissues may be necessary if extensive damage has been caused by tartar removal.

If your pet has gingivitis, you may need to take them to the vet for a checkup. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the tooth and gum tissues caused by bacteria or plaque. Left untreated, it can lead to more serious dental problems such as tooth loss or oral cancer.

You can use a manual toothbrush and toothpaste to clean your dog’s teeth at home. However, supervise them carefully while cleaning their teeth, as accidents can occur quickly.

Dried foods do not usually remove plaque from teeth, as the bacteria that causes cavities to form prefers a slightly moist environment.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.

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