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One of the easiest ways to prevent serious health problems in your pet is to maintain healthy dog gums. Gum disease can lead to serious infections, tooth removal and costly veterinary bills. In fact, dental issues can even cause heart murmurs or shorten your pet’s lifespan. But how do you maintain your pooch’s oral hygiene? Here’s your guide to healthy dog gums!
What Do Healthy Dog Gums Look Like?
The color of your dog’s gums can help you tell whether or not they’re healthy. Healthy dog gums are light pink, similar to the color of shrimp. The following gum colors might indicate a variety of health issues:
- Inflamed and bright red gums might mean your dog has gingivitis.
- Pale or white gums are a symptom of anemia.
- Blue gums are a sign of low oxygen levels.
- Yellow gums could be indicative of Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection, or jaundice.
Also be on the lookout for excessively bad breath, sudden changes in gum texture or excessive gum bleeding. While gums tend to change in texture as a dog ages, sudden changes tend to be an indication that something is wrong. Likewise, a little bit of gum bleeding is common if your dog is chewing on something, but call your vet if bleeding persists.
How to Help Prevent Gum Disease
Gingivitis can be painful and costly to treat, so you’re better off preventing it instead of treating it once it rears its ugly head. Gum disease is caused by the accumulation of plaque, tartar and bacteria along the gumline, so take your dog to regular dental cleanings. You can also use several products at home:
- Start with daily brushing with a dental kit. Brushing only takes a few minutes and toothpastes come in a variety of yummy flavors that dogs love!
- Dental spray helps eliminate bacteria and plaque deposits.
- Dental gel also helps freshen breath and control plaque and tartar. This is a non-spray alternative.
- Dental chews scrape away tartar.
- Antler chews also help scrape away tartar and plaque. Plus, these don’t splinter like bones.
- Water additive is a no-brush method for fighting tartar and plaque buildup. It also freshens your pup’s breath.
How to Treat Gum Disease in Dogs
Call your vet if you think your dog might have any kind of gum-related issue. Gum disease can be quite painful and cause your pup to have difficulty eating if you don’t address the problem. Your vet will likely perform a dental exam, complete with x-rays. If your vet suspects another health issue, such as an immune disease or cancer, your vet might require a gum biopsy.
Treatment will then depend on the result of your veterinarian’s findings and the severity of your dog’s condition. This could include a thorough cleaning of the tartar and plaque that has accumulated on the teeth or periodontal surgery. Your dog’s condition might also require tooth extraction. After veterinary care, your vet will then likely ask you to start at-home tooth and gum care. This is similar to prevention. Simply brush the teeth to help prevent buildup of bacteria, plaque and tartar.
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