We humans may not enjoy going to the dentist… but we understand why it’s important.
After all: Brushing, flossing, and twice-yearly checkups can help prevent dental issues like cavities.
And checkups mean we spot potential issues early.
Dogs, like humans, only have one set of adult teeth. And it’s just as important to care for them. Otherwise… painful dental issues can develop… and this can ultimately result in needing tooth extraction.
Common Dental Issues In Dogs
The following are common dental issues found in canine patients:
Your pet’s breath doesn’t have to be extremely stinky! The most common cause of bad breath in dogs is periodontal disease which has four stages.
Stage 1 periodontal disease means that there is tartar building up on the teeth. The gums might appear slightly swollen and red. If dental x-rays are taken, no bone loss will be noted. This is the perfect time to perform a dental cleaning so that the dental disease doesn’t progress.
Stage 1 and Stage 2 externally can appear similar but when dental x-rays are taken, up to 25% bone loss will be noted in Stage 2. A dental cleaning is highly recommended at this time.
By the time that dental disease has reached Stage 3, significant bone loss has occurred. At this time, the only options are to either extract the impacted teeth or to have a veterinary dentist perform advanced procedures such as a root canal to save the teeth.
When Stage 4 has been reached the only option is to extract the teeth that have been damaged.
Periodontal disease can be very painful and can make it difficult for your dog to eat. If your vet recommends a dental cleaning you should seriously consider it.
Fractured teeth are fairly common and are typically caused by either trauma or a hard chew. Once damaged, it might be possible to save the tooth with advanced dental work, however, more often than not the tooth needs to be pulled.
Although uncommon, congenital defects do occur and can impact the mouth. When a dog doesn’t have a normal bite the teeth can be damaged.
Dogs can have oral tumors. When the tumor grows, it can damage the gums, teeth, or bone. This can result in the need for surgery to remove the tumor and the extraction of several teeth.
In addition to these common conditions, studies have shown that untreated dental disease can also cause damage to vital organs.
Researchers Link Dental Disease To Heart Disease
Larry Glickman, a professor of epidemiology at Purdue University performed a study that showed there is a link between periodontal disease and heart disease in dogs. The results of this study were published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Glickman reviewed the records of nearly 120,000 dogs, choosing about 60,000 with periodontal disease and 60,000 without.
He then tracked them over their lifetime and recorded which dogs developed heart disease. He determined that dogs with untreated dental disease have a higher risk of developing dental disease.
Glickman hopes to study the link between dental disease and heart disease in the future.
This study is similar to one performed by researchers at Harvard which showed that bacteria from the mouth can travel to the heart through the bloodstream. The bacteria enter the bloodstream when the gums bleed – bleeding caused by dental disease.
This is a great reason to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations when it comes to taking care of your dog’s mouth.
How Much Do Dog Tooth Extractions Cost?
The average cost of a dental cleaning is between $400 and $900 dollars. This price typically includes pre-anesthetic bloodwork, anesthesia, dental x-rays, and cleaning.
Extractions, if necessary, are typically extra, between $30 – $60 a tooth. Always ask for an estimate prior to having a dental performed so that you can be prepared for the cost.
If you have pet insurance this cost might be covered under your policy.
Should My Dog Have Their Dental Disease Treated By Their Reg Vet Or A Veterinary Specialist?
While all veterinarians are trained to take care of dental disease, veterinary dentists are board-certified. This means that they have specialized in dentistry and have demonstrated specialist knowledge and expertise in veterinary dentistry. This typically requires extra training.
Typically, it’s best to work with a veterinary specialist if you would like to try and save your dog’s damaged tooth. This is a personal choice.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that working with a specialist can greatly increase the cost associated with dental treatment.
How Can I Help Prevent Dental Disease?
You can always take steps at home to help your dog have good dental health! Recommended steps include:
1. Brushing your dog’s teeth. There are many types of doggy toothpaste on the market! It’s important to use toothpaste specially formulated for dogs because the ingredients in human toothpaste can be toxic for our canine friends. You should brush your dog’s teeth at least once a day.
2. Provide dental treats. There are dental treats and chew toys that are made to help your dog clean their teeth as they chew.
3. Check your dog’s mouth regularly for irregularities. It’s always good to check your pup’s mouth for fractured teeth or oral growths. The earlier a dental issue is found the better.
4. Feed a dental diet. There are diets that are specially formulated to help protect your dog’s teeth. In addition to this, unless your pet is on a strictly regimented diet for another medical condition, avoid feeding only wet food. Dry food helps to clean the teeth while a dog chews.
By following these recommendations you’ll help keep your dog healthy and happy!
The Most Popular Doggy Toothpastes
Here are some of the top-rated canine toothpaste that owners can buy.
Last update on 2023-06-04 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
This toothpaste is poultry flavored which means your dog will love it! The enzymatic system helps to prevent the formation of plaque on the teeth. The best part is that this toothpaste can also be used for cats if you have a dog and cat at home!
Last update on 2023-06-04 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Thanks to this toothpaste you won’t mind those doggy kisses! This sweet paste also helps to prevent tartar and is flavored with vanilla for a taste your pets will adore.
Last update on 2023-06-01 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Another enzymatic toothpaste that is poultry flavored. This paste battles bacteria that cause tartar, stopping the problem before it starts.
The Nylabone toothpaste is one of the only peanut butter flavored pastes available. When used in combination with one of Nylbone’s dental chew toys, your dog will have fresh breath and clean teeth!
If you’re new to brushing your dog’s teeth, remember, this is a learning experience for them as well. Not all dogs respond well to the first few attempts to brush the teeth. Start off slow and let them investigate both the toothpaste and the brush.
Begin by gently brushing the front teeth for a few seconds each day, slowly adding more of the mouth each time you brush. Over time, this will become a daily habit that they will look forward to!