Periodontal Disease In Dogs: Warning Signs, Treatment and Prevention

Periodontal Disease In Dogs: Warning Signs, Treatment and Prevention

Alpha Paw Sale

Jul 26, 2021

Table of Contents

Key Points

  • Most dogs over the age of two have some degree of periodontal disease.

  • Many times your dog will need professional cleaning to help prevent worsening of their dental issues.

  • Dental disease can easily be prevented with routine care of your dog’s teeth.

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.

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!

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