Are you a victim of bad dog breath? Do you nearly pass out when your dog jumps in your lap to give you that heart-felt doggie kiss? Do you push the dog away and shriek, “What have you been eating?”
Bad breath is not necessarily caused by something putrid your dog may have eaten. It is typically a sign of something far more serious - dental problems. Research shows that dog dental problems affect more than 80% of all dogs with problems being even more prevalent in older animals.
What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease, exhibiting various signs. In addition to bad dog breath, you may also notice a yellowish brown tartar buildup on your dog's teeth.
Since the gums are sensitive, they are typically swollen and darker pink than their normal coral color. There may also be a thin red line running across the gums due to irritation.
Left untreated, the condition will worsen becoming more and more painful. The gums then recede from the root of the tooth, leading to eventual tooth loss.
How Does Dog Dental Disease Progress?
Dog dental disease progresses because of bacterial build up in the mouth. This bacteria causes the yellowish brown byproduct we call tartar or calculus. As more and more bacteria multiply in the dog’s mouth, toxins from the bacteria cause the gums to become inflamed and irritated.
In addition, those toxins deteriorate the periodontal ligament, which holds the tooth in the gum. Left untreated, irreversible damage can occur to the periodontal ligament, resulting in tooth loss.
At this point, bacteria freely travel the blood stream, adding to other more serious health problems such as heart and kidney conditions. Once the disease has progressed to this stage, open-heart surgery and/or a kidney transplant may be required in order to save the dog’s life.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Has Dental Problems?
It is easy to tell if your dog has dental problems. One of the first tell-tell signs will be the bad dog breath, which will immediately let you know bacteria are at work growing and multiplying in your dogs mouth.
Lift up your dog’s lip to inspect its teeth. Check around the gum line for any signs of yellow or brown buildup. If you see buildup you will probably also see gum irritation, both of which will let you know you have a problem as gingivitis is already at work.
What Should I Do If I Suspect My Dog Has Dental Problems?
Dog dental problems are easy to prevent with proper care and maintenance of teeth and gums. If you suspect your dog may have dental problems, or if you see or smell the signs of dental disease (bad dog breath), you should immediately schedule an appointment with your veterinarian or groomer. They can better assess the situation and tell you if your dog in fact has developed the dental disease gingivitis. They can also perform regular cleanings to help fight the effects of the disease.
There are many things on the market to use as a bad dog breath remedy, some of which include:
• Chew Toys and Treats – Although chewing will help scrub away some of the tartar buildup, it will not alleviate it all nor will it address the bacteria issue other than to cover it up with meaty or minty scents.
• Teeth Brushing – Although this seems practical to us humans, it is not natural to our canine friends. Most dogs do not like it and will not sit still for getting their teeth brushed any more than they would for pooping in the potty and having their rear end wiped.
• DentaSure – DentaSure is a quick, easy, alcohol-free all-natural dog dental and cat dental spray that will dissolve and wash away harmful tartar buildup, reverse gingivitis, prevent cavities, and leave your dog with clean teeth and fresh breath.
• Regular Dental Cleanings – Although the teeth get a thorough cleaning, this procedure requires your dog to be sedated, which can be costly, dangerous, and leave side effects.
You be the judge of how best to handle bad dog breath. The important thing is to act: Do something when you suspect your dog has a problem. Remember, tooth and gum disease are permanent. By caring for your dog’s dental health and taking preventive measures, you can ensure your dog does not fall prey to this painful and sometimes deadly condition.