Along with a wagging tail and muddy paws, many of us may assume that smelly breath is just another everyday dog trait. However, bad breath in dogs can be an early sign of dental health issues.
Just like us, dogs can have dental problems. However, as they can’t go for a check-up with the dentist, it’s our responsibility as owners to make sure that they’re healthy.
Health issues associated with bad breath
As dogs can’t tell you themselves, it can be tough to tell if they’re having problems with their dental health. That’s why it’s important to know what signs to look out for. Bad breath in dogs is one of the first signs that something could be wrong.
There are two common dental health issues associated with bad breath; gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Gingivitis in dogs
A dental health issue that affects dogs and humans alike, gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums as they react to plaque. Gingivitis in dogs can often be a cause of bad breath. Other effects of gingivitis in dogs include redness, swelling and even bleeding of the gums.
Gingivitis in dogs is quite common – more than 80% of pets over three years of age will experience the problem. It can affect toy breeds (such as Chihuahuas) earlier on.
Gingivitis can be usually reversed with good oral hygiene, but could progress to periodontal disease if left untreated. The best way to avoid the problem is to take care of your pet’s teeth, such as giving them a daily Purina® DentaLife® chew.
Periodontal disease in dogs
Periodontal diseases are a group of dental problems that affect the tissue that supports your dog’s teeth – such as gums and jaw bones.
Periodontal diseases in dogs are caused by unseen pockets that collect bacteria between your dog’s teeth and gums, which is the first phase of the development of periodontal disease.
The plaque build-up then causes gingivitis and goes on to affect surrounding tissue. The final stage of the disease is bone loss and tooth removal, and can even go on to develop into other issues that affect the whole body including your dog’s heart, liver and kidney function.
There are some factors that make some dogs more prone to periodontal disease including their breed, alignment of teeth and if they chew on hard objects. However, there are steps you can take to minimise these risks – the key being keeping your pet’s teeth clean, perhaps with a daily Purina® DentaLife® chew.
If you’re unsure about your pet’s dental health or have any questions, speak to your vet for further information and advice.