Unfortunately, canine dental diseases are very common. As in humans, high levels of plaque can form in dogs’ mouths as the result of trapped food debris, buildups of bacteria, and the presence of other foreign particles.
Plaque, in turn, attracts even more bacteria, which your pet’s immune system recognizes as an intruder. When your dog’s body deploys white blood cells to attack the bacterial buildups, your dog’s teeth and gums also suffer damage. Over time, this damage can lead to the development of dental disease.
Symptoms of Dental Disease in Dogs
The conditions that lead to canine periodontitis are usually asymptomatic in their early stages, showing no visible signs or symptoms. However, as the condition progresses into a more severe stage, it will result in a set of clinical presentations that will include one or more of the following (note: treatment options are listed after the 7 symptoms below):
Symptom: Problems Eating
Dogs with advanced cases of dental disease often have trouble picking up their food when eating. Food may spill out the dog’s mouth as it tries to chew. Your dog may take much longer than normal to eat, or it may start to lose weight because it isn’t eating as much as it needs to.
Another feeding-related symptom of canine dental disease is chewing localized to one side of the mouth. Dogs will try to shield injured teeth and gums by using them as little as possible while eating.