Periodontal Disease In Dogs: Warning Signs, Treatment and Prevention

Periodontal Disease In Dogs: Warning Signs, Treatment and Prevention

Alpha Paw Sale

Jan 15, 2024

What is Periodontal Disease in Dogs

Periodontal disease in dogs is a progression of dental diseases. At first, your dog may just have a mild amount of tartar buildup. Its breath may start to smell bad. If left untreated this can develop into periodontal disease which is when the bacteria will cause damage to the gums, bones, and ligaments that hold the teeth in place.

Many times periodontal disease affects teeth under the gum line and is often not noticed until this has reached advanced stages in your dog. Most dogs without any treatment or prevention of periodontal disease will have dental issues by the time that your dog is three years old. Maintaining a regular cleaning routine can make a difference in the quality of life your dog will have!

Periodontal disease in dogs: warning signs, treatment and prevention

How Do I know If my Dog Has Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease can greatly vary. At first, your dog’s teeth may look great but they have issues below the gum line. As the disease progresses your can notice more issues within your dog’s mouth and your dog may have more outward signs. The best way to assess dental disease in dogs is to sedate your dog and take an X-ray and examination below the gum line.

Many times you may not notice any signs in early on in the disease process. As your dog’s periodontal disease becomes more severe you will notice signs. Common signs of periodontal disease in dogs are:

If you notice any of these signs it would be best for your dog to see your vet. They can examine your dog’s mouth to see if there are signs common with periodontal disease. They can advise you on steps you can take to help keep your dog’s dental disease to progress to more severe and irreversible disease.

Best Products for Optimal Canine Oral Health

Elevate your dog’s oral health with our top-rated products designed for maintaining those pearly whites. From toothbrushes and toothpaste to dental chews and water additives, our carefully curated selection ensures comprehensive care for your canine companion’s teeth and gums. Regular dental hygiene is crucial for preventing plaque, tartar, and maintaining fresh breath.

Dental fresh water additive for dogs, original formula, 17oz – dog breath freshener and teeth clea
  • Eliminates dental plaque-causing bacteria, whitens and strengthens teeth over time.
  • Use daily, along with regular brushing, to support your pet's healthy teeth and gums, give your pet fresh breath, and simplify professional cleanings.
  • Safely helps fight periodontal disease without brushing and no adverse effects on periodontal tissues.
  • No taste or color, so it doesn't disrupt your pet's drinking habits.
  • Contains no alcohol, no sugar, no surfactants or detergents, and no pungent mint flavors, like many other water bowl additives on the market do. Does not cause staining, has no taste or artificial flavorings, and can be safely used long-term. Made in the USA!
Tropiclean fresh breath plus glucosamine for hips & joints | dog oral care water additive | dog brea
  • This water additive works to eliminate stinky dog breath while defending against plaque, tartar, and bad breath to support a healthy mouth.
  • Specially formulated with glucosamine hydrochloride to help reduce inflammation around the hips, joints, and cartilage and support better movement.
  • This breath freshener for dogs is easy to measure and pour—simply add 1/2 capful to eight ounces of clean water twice daily.
  • If your dog is new to Fresh Breath for Dogs or has a sensitive stomach, start him off with half the recommended dose and work your way up to a full dosage.
  • The naturally derived formula is free from sulfates, bleach, parabens, dyes, and flavors.
Petkin liquid oral care, 8 fl oz - simply add this pet dental water additive to your pet's daily dri
  • Made with a special formula designed to clean teeth and gums while your pet drinks.
  • Easy-to-use liquid additive is combined with water for easy feeding.
  • Freshens breath for more enjoyable kisses and a cleaner mouth.
  • Brightens teeth while cleaning off plaque and tartar for a healthier smile.
  • A fast and convenient way to keep your pet's mouth clean.
Vets preferred oral care water additive for dogs - healthy mouth dog breath freshener mouthwash - fi
  • Water additive battles bad doggy breath while supporting oral health.
  • Tasty but mild mint flavor works like breath mints.
  • Helps to fight the tartar and plaque that lead to gym disease.
  • Easy to use – just add a small amount to your dog’s water bowl.
  • Safe for cats, too.
Ebpp advanced pet dental care water additive - premium cat & dog dental care and dog breath freshene
  • Helps eliminate the bad bacteria in your pet’s mouth that leads to bad breath.
  • When used consistently, this water additive helps reduce plaque and tartar buildup on teeth and gums, which can cause periodontal disease and gingivitis in pets.
  • Simply add 1-2 tablespoons into your pet’s water.
  • Vet recommended and suitable for dogs of all sizes and cats.
  • Helps you keep up with your pet’s oral hygiene, promoting overall health and well-being.

How to Treat a Gum Disease In Dogs

If your dog has gum disease there are many ways to treat it depending on the severity of the dental disease. Below are ways to treat gum disease in your dog, depending on the stage it’s in.

Mild dental disease

If your dog just has mild dental issues, you can start with brushing your dog’s teeth. This will help remove mild buildup on your dog’s teeth and prevent them from developing severe dental disease.

Moderated dental disease

For moderate dental disease, your dog may need a dental cleaning done at your vet but there may be some preventative measures that you can take at home to help. Using a water additive such as mouth wash, dental chews, and even dental treats can help toward preventing dental diseases.

Periodontal disease in dogs: warning signs, treatment and prevention

Severe Dental Disease

If your dog has a very severe dental disease they will need a dental cleaning at your vet’s office. Your vet will lightly sedate your dog and fully clean their mouth, take dental x-rays and extract any diseased teeth. They can also help treat any infected gums or other issues in your dog’s mouth.

Your dog will have to undergo anesthesia for these types of cleanings as your dog will not sit still with its mouth open as people do at the dentist.

Periodontal disease in dogs: warning signs, treatment and prevention

How to Prevent Gum Disease In Dogs

Prevention is the best way to treat dental disease in your dog.  It is absolutely critical to have a regular dental cleaning routine with your dog to prevent more damage to its teeth. Even adding a water additive such Alpha Paw’s Magic Mouth Wash can aid in keeping your dog’s teeth cleaner. Below is a list of the things you can do to help prevent your dog from suffering dental issues.

Small dog breeds such as the Dachshund to large dog breeds such as the Great Dane all need regular dental checkups to maintain good oral health!

Brush your dog’s teeth

If you can train your dog to tolerate teeth brushing this will help remove any tartar from your dog’s mouth and prevent dental disease. It is best to brush your dog’s teeth each day for the best results. While many times this is not possible, even a few times a week will help.

Give dental chews

There are many great dental treats that you can give to your dog. Giving your dog this chew will help remove tartar and plaque. When looking for a dog chew, look for chews that are approved by the Dental Veterinary Health Council. These chews are backed by research showing that they actually do what they claim to help with. These chew and treats are also safe for your dog’s teeth and health.

Schedule routine dental checkups

Staying on top of your dog’s dental health will help their teeth stay healthy. Scheduling a routine dental health check every 6 to 12 months will help you detect and prevent dental issues before they become a major problem. If you notice any of the signs of dental disease, having your vet check your dog’s mouth will help keep your dog healthy and happy.

Give toys and chews for your dog to chew on

Providing your dog with a chew stick such as Alpha Paw’s Dentalicious sticks, and other toys will help decrease plaque and tartar on their teeth. Make sure that these dog chews are not too hard as they can also cause your dog to break a tooth.

A good rule to follow is if you can make an indention into the chew with your fingernail, it is okay to give to your dog. Some dogs are very aggressive chewers and can fully chew up a treat within a few seconds. Make sure that your dog is actually chewing the treat and not swallowing it whole as this can cause even more issues for your dog.

Photo credit: canva

Water additives

There are additives that you can put into your dog’s drinking water to help with their breath and dental disease. When offering these additives, also make sure that you give your dog fresh water to drink as some dogs do not like the additives and will not drink the water.


If you notice that your dog is having an issue with their teeth or seem to not want to eat as much as normal, it would be best for you to look at their teeth. Periodontal disease can show no outward signs at first and as it progressed can become severe very fast.

Many times the issue with dental disease is what is below the gum line and not easy for your to see. Your vet can sedate your dog and examine the gums and roots of your dog’s teeth to see if there are any issues.

With quick treatment and these few prevention tricks, your dog can live for many years with great breath and a healthy mouth.

More Vet Expert Advice You May Enjoy…

If you enjoyed reading this article, head over to our Vet Corner where more articles can be found.

Alpha Paw Sale
author image

Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM

Member of Alpha Paw’s Board of Pet Experts

Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM is a board-certified, licensed, and USDA-accredited small animal and exotic animal veterinarian. Dr. Sara graduated from St. George's University in 2015 with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. Following veterinary school, she joined the team of pet experts at a small animal and exotic veterinary clinic in east Texas, where she treats all species that walk in the hospital. Dr. Sara’s professional interests include surgery and exotic animal medicine. She enjoys developing positive relationships with her clients, sharing her passion for animals, and helping pet parents provide excellent care for their fur babies. She is passionate about helping our four-legged family members return to a happy and healthy life - making her a perfect fit for Alpha Paw’s Board of Pet Experts!


The medical, nutritional, or behavioral advice we provide is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Our editorial content is not a substitute for formal or personalized medical advice from a veterinary professional. Only board-certified veterinary specialists who have examined your pet should diagnose medical conditions, provide personalized treatment, or prescribe appropriate medication. For questions regarding your pet’s health, or if your pet is exhibiting signs of illness, injury, or distress, contact your veterinarian immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.