A dog's gum disease can cause discomfort, dental health problems and, if left untreated, lead to more serious complications. Knowing about your dog's symptoms of gum disease eliminates the most important causes.

Causes of gum disease in a dog

Bacteria are the leading cause of dog gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Bacteria - along with food debris, saliva and other particles - form an adjacent layer - plaque on the surface of dogs' teeth. A dog's immune system tries to get rid of plaque by releasing enzymes that can destroy the gums. This leads to a dog's gingivitis and tissue damage and, if left untreated, to other complications.

Lack of oral hygiene in a dog means more plaque and, as a result, an increased risk of gum disease. Sometimes it is easy to overlook the early symptoms of a dog's gum disease, so knowing to help identify the signals correctly is important.

Symptoms of gum disease in dogs

You should regularly check your dog's gums and mouth for signs of gum disease. A dog's bad breath is the most obvious symptom. You should also pay attention to your dog's red, bleeding, or swollen gums, crusted yellow-brown tartar deposits, and drooling.

Other symptoms may be obvious from your dog's behavior. Depending on how long you've had your dog and how well you know his habits, you may find he has trouble ingesting food or he squeals while eating. You may also find that your dog is leaving blood stains in the water bowl or on the teethers, or is producing more nasal discharge or dragging saliva.

If your dog shows any of the symptoms of gum disease above, or you are concerned about something, you should take your dog to the vet for a checkup in the first instance. Some bacteria may hide below your dog's gumline and X-rays of the teeth will reveal the extent of the damage caused by the bacteria.

To keep your dog's teeth healthy, give him a Purina® DentaLife® chew once a day. Its chewy porous texture and properly shaped edges allow cleaning even hard-to-reach places, additionally thoroughly cleaning the teeth - refreshes breath. Talk to your vet for more information on caring for your dog's oral hygiene.

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