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Dental Problems in Dogs - Warning Signs and Prevention Tips

8 min read
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Oral hygiene is a very important part of your dog’s overall health. Taking precautions to avoid dental problems is important because it could cause severe oral diseases such as periodontal disease. Dogs are playful creatures that love to explore the world around them and most of the time, they explore by biting or licking unknown things. Because of this, they are at a higher risk of developing oral diseases. Dogs can also develop cavities and that is another reason why it is important to take care of their oral hygiene. These diseases can cause them pain and no pet parent would want to see their adorable child in pain. But no worries because the Kuddle team is here to help you out!

Common Oral Diseases in Dogs

1. Gingivitis

In gingivitis, bacterial plaque causes the gums to swell, but the ligaments and bone are unaffected. The coral-pink color of the gums changes to crimson or purple, and the gum edge swells. The gums frequently bleed when touched. It's common to have bad breath. When teeth are properly cleaned, gingivitis can be reversed; however, if left untreated, periodontitis can develop.

2. Periodontitis

Gums, ligaments, and bone all suffer more serious tissue damage in periodontitis. It typically appears years after plaque, tartar, and gingivitis have developed. It leads in a permanent loss of tooth support and is irreversible. Periodontitis typically affects small-breed dogs more than large-breed canines.

3. Endodontic Disease

Endodontic disease mostly refers to abnormalities inside the teeth. This category includes a variety of ailments. Injury, tooth fracture, abnormalities in the enamel, and tooth decay are some of the causes. Teeth can break due to external damage (such as roughhousing or car accidents) or inappropriate item biting (such as using genuine bones, hooves, antlers, hard nylon toys, boulders, fences, or cages).

Warning Signs of Dog Dental Problems

dog with bright teeth

Dogs are not capable of voicing out their pain and discomfort. This is why it is important to look for any tell-tale signs that may suggest that your pet may have dental issues and being able to identify these symptoms is a very important part of being a pet parent.

1. Bad Breath

Dogs with good oral health usually don’t have bad breath. A very foul smelling mouth can suggest that your dog indicates that there may be something wrong going on in there. This could either be a dental cavity or an infection. Either way, it is important to get your dog’s mouth checked to relieve pain and discomfort.

2. Excessive and Unusual Drooling

As you may have noticed, dogs usually drool when they bite toys, or when they are eating or hungry. But if your dog may drool at odd intervals and more regularly than they do like when they are simply chilling on the sofa, it could mean that there is something wrong. This is because their salivary glands are trying to fight whatever infection may be there in their mouths. However, if your dog starts salivating blood too, then you must consult a veterinarian immediately.

3. Using Only One Side to Chew

This habit is similar to humans because we also tend to chew using only one side of the mouth where there is no pain when we usually chew using almost all our teeth. So if you see this behavior repeating in your dog too, know that there is something wrong.

4. Discolored Teeth

If your dog’s teeth are discolored, it could either mean that they have abnormal tooth formation or there was some blunt trauma to the tooth. Blunt force on the pulp can lead to hemorrhage within the canal and it is important to get this checked. Such hemorrhage can be caused accidentally when catching frisbees or other hard toys.

5. Tartar on Your Dog’s Teeth

Tartar is a rough substance that tends to accumulate in the lower and upper portions of a dog’s gum. This accumulation needs to be cleaned by a veterinarian because it is unhygienic and can allow bacteria to live in them which may eventually lead to oral diseases.

6. Unusually Shy Behavior

If your dog has an extroverted personality and loves interacting with people and being petted by them but suddenly stops this interaction, it may be due to oral pain and physical touch could be hurting them more. it could mean that they have a toothache or some kind of pain in their mouth. This is because physical touch may be causing them more pain. However, their shyness could also be due to other reasons so it is also necessary to keep other symptoms in mind.

There are other more visible signs of dental problems in dogs such as loose or broken teeth, extra teeth, swelling, reduced appetite, bleeding and swelling. If there are any such signs, you should take your pet to the vet immediately.

Tips for Dog Dental Health Care

1. Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

dog brushing teeth

Teeth cleaning is a very important part of maintaining your dog’s oral hygiene. You don’t have to brush their teeth everyday, you can brush them once or twice daily. But if you’re really busy, then brushing their teeth once a day or once in two days is fine too. It is important to use good toothbrushes toothbrush recommendations with soft bristles and angled handles because their oral structure is more complex than ours. Most dogs might not be very friendly when brushing their teeth, so you can use tasty toothpastes to make the process more fun and rewarding for them too.

2. Using Chew Toys

Most dogs love chew-toys because they have a natural tendency to chew and also because it helps them kill time. Not only are they fun, but they are also a great way for dogs to clean their teeth. It is a natural way of maintaining dental hygiene because gnawing helps them remove tartar and plaque from their mouths.

3. Dental Chews

These treats are recommended by vets as an effective way of getting your dogs to clean their teeth. Dental chews are treats that help to remove tartar, plaque or any other residue from your dog’s canines. However, this does not mean that regular teeth cleaning can be avoided.

4. Nutrition

dog eating food using teeth

Citrus fruits like strawberries are full of Vitamin C and they also have an enzyme that can help to whiten your pet’s teeth. However, these fruits may also contain certain amounts of sugar so it should be given in moderation. There are other vegetables like carrots, pumpkins and apples that are rich in fiber and won’t stick between their teeth. Since these foods are hard, they also helpave to scrape off plaque.

5. Regular Visits and Cleanings from The Vet

dog infected teeth

Although these tips may help to maintain your dog’s oral health and hygiene, it is important to remember that dental problems such as periodontitis may still arise, there may also be chances of dental injuries. Therefore, it is important to get your dog’s canines checked and cleaned by the vet on a regular basis. You can check out Kuddle’s Vet Home Visit and Vet Video Call services for more help!

Home Remedies and Oral Hygiene Techniques

dog plague

If you are concerned about chemicals that may harm your dog or simply prefer more organic ways of taking care of your dog’s teeth, then don’t worry because there are other options. You can use items from your own kitchen to help with your pet’s dental health.

You can use coconut oil when you brush their teeth or you can add a few drops of it to your dog’s meal. It contains lauric acid which is a powerful antiseptic that helps to fight and prevent bacterial infections such as periodontitis and gingivitis. Coconut oil will also improve your dog’s cognition and help in mental clarity. Other than that, cinnamon extract is also very beneficial for your pet. It is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. These properties can help to relieve pain and prevent tooth decay. Moreover, cinnamon extract can also make your dog’s breath. These remedies are completely natural and very useful, win-win for you and your pet!

Although chew toys are a great way to maintain your pet’s oral hygiene, there are also other vet-recommended options like dental sprays. They are a very effective way to prevent plaque accumulation. You can spray it on their teeth or tongue, or simply put it in their water bowl. It also works as a great mouth freshener.


As you can see, maintaining your dog’s oral hygiene is crucial for their overall development and health. Learning to understand these symptoms in their early stages can prevent major oral diseases and severe damage to their mouths. By practicing oral hygiene techniques such as a regular dental care routine and using chew toys and dental sprays helps in preventing oral complications and saves them a lot of pain and discomfort. So, let's make doggy dental care a priority and keep those tails wagging and teeth shining bright!