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5 Common Dental Problems in Dogs: Signs, Prevention & Treatment


7 min Read

April 26, 2024 | Hygiene & Care

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Common Dental Problems in Dogs

During interviews with pet parents, we often discover two distinct attitudes toward dog dental health.

One group lacks awareness about various dental problems in dogs and their significant impact on overall canine health.

Meanwhile, another group is aware but may not be taking the necessary steps to address these issues.

According to a veterinary report, ‘approximately 80% of dogs suffer from some form of dental disease by the age of three.’ This statistic is undoubtedly concerning.

This blog aims to explain two things:

  • Common dental problems, their impact, and signs to watch out for

  • Super helpful tips to keep their tooth strong, clean, and healthy 

We'll also delve into the role of dental sticks for dogs and explore their remarkable benefits, adding an intriguing dimension to our discussion.

Without further delay, let's dive straight into the blog!

Below are 4 Common Dental Problems in Dogs

1. Plaque and Tartar:

Plaque and Tartar

Image Copyright: The Honest Kitchen

Plaque and tartar, often found in dogs of various ages and breeds, are the first on our list.

Plaque is a soft, sticky film composed of bacteria, food particles, and saliva that accumulates on the surface of teeth. It can be removed through regular brushing and cleanings.

If left untreated, plaque can mineralize and harden into tartar, also known as dental calculus. It’s a hard, yellowish deposit that adheres to the teeth and can only be removed through professional cleaning by a veterinarian.

The bacteria accumulating in plaque and tartar can lead to infections in gums, tooth decay, and can even enter the bloodstream causing conditions such as bacterial endocarditis in the heart, respiratory infections in the lungs, and putting a halt to the functioning of vital organs.

2. Gum issues (Gingivitis and Periodontitis): 

Gum issues

Image Copyright: Dr.Buzby’s

Gingivitis: It's an initial stage characterized by inflamed gums due to plaque buildup. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and bleeding. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis.

Periodontitis: It’s an advanced gum disease where plaque and tartar spread below the gum line, leading to the destruction of gum tissues, and bone, potentially leading to tooth loss.

3. Tooth Fractures:

Tooth Fractures

Image Copyright: Anexa Veterinary Services

Tooth fractures in dogs can occur when they abruptly chew on hard objects like bones or toys, or from accidents like being struck by a car or object.

These fractures can involve chipping of the enamel, root fractures, or even pulp exposure due to crown fractures.

In such cases, the affected tooth becomes sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure, making eating or chewing on dog food and treats difficult, and might show signs like:

  • Dropping food while eating

  • Excessive drooling

  • Facial swelling

  • Pawing at the mouth etc 

Pet parents must be cautious about the toys or treats doggos chew, and examine for injuries or swellings. Consult a veterinarian to understand the appropriate treatments to treat tooth fractures.

4. Tooth Decay:

Tooth Decay

Image Copyright: Veterinary Practice

Tooth decay in dogs occurs when bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugars and carbohydrates from food, producing acids that erode tooth enamel.

Commercial dog foods, treats, and even some human foods can contain carbohydrates that bacteria feed on, leading to plaque formation and eventually decay.

Make sure to feed a balanced diet low in sugars and carbohydrates. This will help reduce tooth decay and prevent them from forming cavities.

5. Malocclusion in Dogs:

dental malocclusions in dogs

Malocclusion refers to abnormal alignment of the teeth or jaw, causing difficulties with chewing, biting, or holding objects in their mouths.

It can manifest in different forms, including overbite, underbite, crossbite, and rotated teeth. Certain dog breeds are more predisposed to malocclusion due to genetic factors, but it can be also due to early trauma or overcrowding of teeth.

Orthodontic treatment or appliances such as braces or retainers may be used to realign the teeth and correct the bite gradually.

In some cases, extraction of certain teeth may be necessary to alleviate overcrowding or correct alignment issues.

Helpful Dental Hygiene & care tips for Doggo Parents

1. Incorporate Dog Dental Chews:

Incorporate Dog Dental Chews

Consider dog chews like Dogsee Himalayan Yak Cheese Chews, the hard texture helps effectively scrape off plaque and tartar buildup.

These long-lasting natural dog chews are made from the finest cow and yak milk churpi sourced from the Himalayas, making them protein and calcium-rich, plus they promote fresher breath contributing to overall oral hygiene.

2. Ensure regular tooth brushing (Once a week):

puppy dog holding toothbrush

Make brushing your dog's teeth a part of your routine to prevent plaque and tartar buildup, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Use a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste and brush gently once a week.

3. Provide them with dental chew toys:

dental chew toys

To encourage healthy chewing habits in dogs, there’s a wide variety of dog-specific chew toys available. Toys with hard textures are specifically designed for dental cleaning, helping to remove plaque and tartar buildup.

Additionally, as dogs chew on these toys, the saliva produced contains enzymes that protect the enamel of their teeth.

This not only promotes dental health but also provides an enjoyable and stimulating activity for dogs to engage in while caring for their teeth.

4. Ensure fresh water for natural tooth cleansing:

dog water drinking

Fresh water keeps doggos' gum hydrated and mouth clean. It helps wash away food particles and plaque buildup before it hardens and damages teeth. It’s one of the best home remedies for canine dental treatment.

Adequate water intake fuels saliva production which in turn prevents tooth decay and gum disease. Encourage regular water breaks throughout the day, especially after meals or playtime.

5. Regular dental checkups & professional tooth cleaning:

veterinarian checking teeth labrador dog

Veterinarians will help thoroughly examine your dog's teeth for tooth gum issues, oral cavity, signs of plaque, tartar buildup, and more.

Especially in cases like tartar buildup, brushing alone cannot remove, it requires specialized tools to carefully clean your dog's teeth.

Check out our blog: 5 Ways to Tackle Dental Hygiene in Dogs we hope you will get an in-depth insight on dog dental health hygiene tips.

5 common FAQs regarding Dog’s Dental Health

1. How often should I brush my dog's teeth?

Answer: Ideally, you should brush your dog's teeth once a week. Brushing teeth excessively can irritate gums, wear down enamel, and potentially cause stress or anxiety.

2. Can dental problems in dogs lead to other health issues?

Answer: Yes, as discussed earlier bacteria in plaque and tartar enter the bloodstream and enter into dogs' organs leading to more serious health issues such as heart disease, kidney problems, and respiratory infections if left untreated.

3. How do I choose the right dental sticks/chews for my dog?

Answer: Consider factors such as ingredients used (rawhide treats are a big no-no), size, texture, and your dog's chewing habits. Take your vet’s suggestion if your pooch is allergic to certain ingredients.

4. Are there specific breeds more prone to dental problems?

Answer: Yes, some breeds, like Chihuahuas, Bulldogs, and Toy Poodles, are prone to dental issues due to factors like crowded teeth or short snouts. Regular dental care is crucial for breeds with small mouths or delicate dental structures.

5. Can diet affect my dog's dental health?

Answer: Absolutely, diet is crucial for dental health. Overconsumption of sugary or starchy treats promotes plaque buildup, leading to bad breath, gum disease, and tooth loss. Starchy foods break down into sugars, exacerbating plaque buildup and dental issues.

Dog Dental Problems: Final Thoughts

We trust that this article has been an eye-opener regarding the importance of understanding and prioritizing your dog's dental health.

By ensuring their oral health is in check, you're contributing to their overall well-being, enhancing their happiness, and improving their quality of life.

At Dogsee, we are on a mission to provide our furry friends with 100% natural and safe treats. 

We are happy to expand our pawprints to more than 30 countries and serve more than 50 million pet parents with our healthy & delicious dog treats.

If you liked this blog, do stay connected with us on social media for interesting pet parenting tips, fun pet-related videos, and more!


Thank you for reading! Stay tuned for our next blog on another interesting topic!

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