Spotting whether your canine friend has a set of healthy dog teeth can be tricky. This is because different breeds of dog have different types of mouths: the symptom of a dental condition in one breed of dog may not be exactly the same for another. For example, your Labrador’s tongue should be pink if it’s healthy - however, blue-black colouring is completely normal for a breed like a Chow-chow.
Take a look at the information below to discover the signs of good canine dental health.
Healthy Dog Teeth
While the ideal colour for a set of dogs’ teeth is white, it’s still unlikely that your dog has any that are really pearly white. However, this doesn’t mean your friend hasn’t got a set of healthy dog teeth. Dog teeth tend to darken as a dog grows older, and they will become slightly discoloured.
Your dog should have a set of 42 teeth. If your dog doesn’t, and has lost any teeth you don’t know about, you should take them to visit their vet. This is because gaps in the mouth could cause dental conditions later on. When checking your dog’s teeth, you should also make sure none of the teeth are chipped or cracked. Again, if this is the case you should take your dog to visit the vet.
If your dog has a lot of brown or yellow film by their gum line then it’s unlikely they have healthy dog teeth. This film is plaque and just like in humans this can cause dental conditions. Brushing your dog’s teeth and establishing a good dental routine should help reduce this condition.
If your dogs’ teeth have changed to a darker colour, it could be for a number of reasons. The first is that the tooth could simply be stained from a build up of plaque; even if the plaque is removed from brushing it can still stain your dogs’ teeth. Certain types of medication could also be the cause of discoloration along with medical conditions such as systemic infections.
Healthy Dog Gums
Many dog owners ask themselves ‘what colour should my dogs gums be?’ In truth, there isn’t one single answer. A dog’s gums should usually be pink; however, it’s completely normal for your dog to have black gums or black spots over their gums. These types of spots are often something your dog is born with. It is important, however, to check these spots are flat and not raised. This is because raised gums could be a sign of a tumour. If you notice your dog has raised gums you should take them to visit your vet immediately. Additionally, if spots appear where there were none before, take them for a check-up.
Another way to check for healthy dog gums is to find out whether the gums are firm. Firm gums are usually a positive sign and mean your canine friend has a set of healthy dog gums. However, if your dog has puffy or white sections to their gums it could mean they have periodontal disease. This disease is known as gingivitis in its early stages and can cause a lot of pain, and even lead to tooth loss.
Healthy Dog Tongue
A dog’s tongue will vary depending on their size and breed. Most dogs should have a pinkish tongue, however, slight colour variation is completely normal. There are a few exceptions to this rule, as some breeds such as Chow chows have a blue-black tongue rather than a pink one.
The colour of your dog’s tongue can be an indicator of a dental condition. Healthy dog tongues should not be white in colour. If your dog’s tongue is white it could be a sign that your dog is anaemic. In this case, you should pay a visit to your local vet.
Some dog owners may notice small warts appear on their dog’s tongue. These warts are usually harmless and should disappear within a few weeks without treatment. However, if they don’t disappear, you should take your dog to see their vet.
Healthy Dog Breath
As most owners have probably realised, a dog’s breath isn’t always the most pleasant smell. However, there are certain types of smell you should look out for that could indicate other conditions. ‘Sweet’ or ‘fruity’ breath could be an indicator of diabetes in dogs. Breath that smells like urine could be a sign that your dog has a kidney condition. Awful or foul-smelling breath paired with a lack of appetite may mean that your dog has a liver condition. If you think your dog has any of these conditions, you should take them to visit their vet.
Find out more about dog dental health by taking a look at our full list of dental health articles.