Gingivitis in dogs refers to gum inflammation and marks the beginning of periodontal disease. Our vets at Mankato explore the reasons, symptoms, and treatments for canine gingivitis.
Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacteria that accumulate in a dog's mouth owing to plaque and tartar buildup. It is preventable in dogs with frequent at-home brushing and professional dental cleanings, just as it is in humans.
Unfortunately, many dog owners do not consider their dogs' oral health until it is too late.
If your dog shows signs of gingivitis, consult your veterinarian about treatment options and how to care for your dog's oral health at home to avoid additional gum disease.
Causes of Gingivitis in Dogs
Gingivitis in dogs mainly stems from poor diet and insufficient oral care, with toy breeds or dogs with crowded teeth being more susceptible. When teeth and gums aren't well-maintained, food particles and bacteria accumulate, leading to inflammation. Bacteria growth results in plaque that hardens into tartar.
This process pushes gums away from teeth, creating pockets for more debris and bacteria. Without proper cleaning, it leads to periodontal disease and tooth loss.
Signs of Gingivitis in Dogs
Gingivitis symptoms in dogs may begin with slight inflammation of the gums, but as the condition progresses, symptoms will become more severe and visible. If your veterinarian notices signs of gum disease in your dog, he or she may offer expert teeth cleaning and educate you on how to keep your dog's dental health at home.
Some of the most common symptoms of gingivitis in dogs include:
- Bad breath
- Swollen gums
- Gums bleed, especially when brushing
- Plaque buildup, visible as stained teeth
- Pus oozing when making contact with gums
- Tartar buildup, visible as calcified areas on teeth
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums
- Difficulty eating
- Reluctance to eat
- Signs of pain around the mouth
Treating Gingivitis in Dogs
To treat dog gingivitis, start with a professional teeth cleaning to remove tartar and polish teeth, preventing future bacteria buildup. In severe cases, gum tissue removal may be needed, and antibiotics could be prescribed for infections.
Prevent gum disease by caring for your dog's teeth like your own. Regularly clean and rinse their teeth, use chew treats and toys to remove plaque, and follow your vet's advice on specific toothpaste or products for your dog.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.