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Yorkshire terriers suffer from the same oral and dental health problems as humans do. They are predisposed to such dental conditions as gingivitis, bad breath, and dental pain.

Teeth Cleaning to Prevent Gingivitis in Yorkies

If dog owners do not pay attention to the condition of the dog’s teeth, it is likely possible that your dog will suffer from dental plaque. In other words, dental plaque is a substance that covers the dog’s teeth with a film and it is composed of bacteria and related secretions.

Gingivitis in Dogs
Photo by Daniel Koch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Plaque accumulation is a natural process and you cannot stop it by any means, all you can do is to prevent the negative impact of dental plaque on the dental health of your dog.

Bacteria included in plaque get the nutrition from the food that dogs consume. In most serious cases, the bacteria start getting food from blood and gums.

The gums of your dog may become severely inflamed which may cause a depressed mood of your dog. In most cases, dogs suffering from gingivitis start losing weight and they cannot eat hard foods.

One of the most effective ways to exclude that dental condition is to ask the veterinarian to perform a dental cleaning. It is a rather painful activity that is performed with the help of anesthesia.

In serious cases, the veterinarian may prescribe taking antibiotics for several days before performing the dental procedure. It is not enough for your dog to live a normal life and after the teeth cleaning you will need to start home teeth cleaning to exclude any chances of gingivitis appearance.

For dogs that cannot tolerate brushing, there are a lot of gels and sprays available.

You should never use toothpaste for humans as dogs are expected to swallow it.

You should not demonstrate any pressure on your dog and should start slowly till your Yorkie starts feeling comfortable with brushing or cleaning. Try to perform the procedure in a gentle way to exclude any damage to the gums.

Signs of Gingivitis to Watch Out 

Dog owners may notice oral problems least in their pets. The usual concerns may be related to the dog’s poor movement, misbehavior, or eating disorders. 

We can also say that not all dog owners check their dogs’ mouths all the time. Thus, it must be difficult for them to realize that their dogs are having unhealthy dog teeth and oral health problems such as gum disease. Worst, when they find it out, the case is already severe.

Ideally, dogs’ gums should be firm, fitted tightly around the teeth, and pinkish in color. These qualities are indicators that dogs have healthy gums. However, here are characteristics to watch out for so your dogs can prevent gingivitis or other serious oral health problems.

Dogs with swollen, puffy gums or mild inflammation may be demonstrating mild cases of gingivitis. But as the gum disease worsens, you can already notice that the symptoms are increasing and it is becoming severe.

The rest are other signs of serious gum disease among dogs. Take your pet to the vet as soon as you observe any of the following getting worse than before:

  •         Bad breath despite constant brushing
  •         Swollen and wounded gums
  •         The thin, red line along the gums
  •         Lack of appetite
  •         Resistance to eat due to pain
  •         Bleeding gums especially when brushing
  •         Plaque and tartar build-up
  •         Stained teeth
  •         Calcified areas on teeth
  •         Excessive drooling
  •         Decreasing gums
  •         Losing of teeth due to weaker tissues

Gingivitis Causes among Dogs 

dog mouth

Eating habits, types of food, and poor oral hygiene are the top causes of gingivitis and other oral health problems among dogs. Similar to us humans, gum diseases also take a major toll on dogs. This condition makes them weaker since they also lose appetite.

Most forums show dog owners posing the question, “Is gingivitis contagious?”. Scientifically, the gap between healthy dog gums vs unhealthy lies in how dog food is prepared.

Bacteria grow in conditions when saliva, food with different compositions, and fluids combine. When not properly cleaned, the bacteria are formed into plaque. This causes tooth decay and gum disease.

There’s a greater tendency for gum diseases to happen to dogs since they have a higher level of alkaline in their mouth. Alkaline is known to produce bacteria that lead to plaque.

Keeping your dog from eating foods with high sugar levels is also an ideal thing to do. Sugary foods contain sugar that produces acids. The acids weaken the tooth enamel and this leads to a cavity or hole in the tooth. Thus, eating too many sweets leads to unhealthy dog teeth.

The natural bacteria inside the mouth due to poor oral hygiene also causes inflammation of the gums, otherwise known as gingivitis. This is still a mild gum condition, but if left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease.

How to Treat Gingivitis in Dogs 

When giving treatment to your dog that shows signs of gingivitis, you also need to consider the severity of the condition. But here are the general treatments you can purchase over the counter.

You may also look for natural ways to treat gingivitis in dogs such as getting organic products instead of commercial ones.

Formulated Mouthwash for Dogs

Mouthwash is helpful in preventing plaque and cavities from building on your dog’s mouth. It also avoids bad breath and bacteria from growing.

Purchase a mouthwash formulated specifically for your dog to keep his health in good shape. Giving your dog the same mouthwash humans use is dangerous as your dog may swallow it and affect his health.

Dental Cleaning Operation

Dogs suffering from more severe oral conditions might have to undergo dental cleaning to remove tartar and plaque build-up. This may require the dog to be placed under anesthesia so the germs can be removed safely.

Some clinics also perform X-ray check-ups on the dog while the cleaning is ongoing so that they can see other problems if there are any.

Anti-inflammatory Pain Relief

Next to operations or any needed surgery, your dog might need to take vet-prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This is to aid your dog from feeling the pain due to a surgical operation.

Antibiotics

Your dog’s vet may prescribe antibiotics to prevent severe concerns such as periodontal diseases. Please remember that you should give your dogs antibiotics only when the vet tells you to do so. Refrain from buying antibiotics over-the-counter.

How to Get Rid of Gingivitis at Home

You can get rid of gingivitis and other severe conditions among dogs by doing the following consistently.

Brushing and Flossing

Just like brushing our own, we should brush our dog’s teeth at least twice a day using a toothpaste formed for them. Flossing your dog’s teeth at least three times a week can also help remove the plaque and avoid cavities.

It is also a must to cultivate the habit and comfortability of brushing in your dog while he is still a puppy. You can also ask for recommendations from your vet for toothbrushes and toothpaste for your dogs.

Check-ups and Consultations

Having your dog’s oral exams and check-ups met consistently makes a great difference in keeping his mouth healthy. 

You may also subscribe your dog to insurance and health plans. This is to ensure that he gets annual dental check-ups and treatment.

Limit Sugary Food Intake

Too much sugar is bad for you and your dog’s health. Sugar does not only cause diabetes but is also the main cause of bacteria building on your dog’s teeth.

Instead of sugary foods, you may provide raw meaty bones to your dogs as it is recommended to improve oral health among dogs. Raw food diets already have natural enzymes which fight bacteria and tooth decay.

Select toys which are good for chewing

Treat your dog with toys he can chew without compromising their oral health. There are toys that can clean a dog’s teeth as they chew on them. Moreover, chewing among dogs help them produce enzymes that can remove plaque and tartar in teeth and gums.

Conclusion

Oral health concerns may be taken with less attention most of the time, but having healthy gum and teeth is a major indicator that a dog is in good physical condition.

Aside from home remedies and prevention, it is important to bring your dog to a veterinarian for regular dental check-ups. Dogs that have healthy mouths are said to have a longer life.

For more up-to-date dog health tips and discussions, you may also check the rest of Yorkie Passions’ articles.

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