Canine Periodontal Disease: Facts You Should Be Aware Of

Your dentist may have told you to avoid gingivitis, infection, or swelling of the gums. Veterinarians say that dogs got gingivitis when bacteria called plaque builds up on their teeth and forms a biofilm. If plaque is not removed, it “hardens and turns into tartar.” Tartar, which is also called calculus, attracts more plaque. In this first stage of gum disease in dogs, toxins infect the gingiva tissue at and below the gumline.

What is periodontal disease?

Plaque bacteria are what cause gum disease. Without regular cleanings, dental plaque builds up and turns into tartar, which sticks strongly to the teeth. When tartar and bacteria get stuck under the gum line, where pet owners can’t see them, they start a cycle that hurts and infects the tooth and the tissue that supports it.

What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?

Dogs with early gum disease have bad breath, tartar on their teeth, and a red line of inflammation along the gum line. Unfortunately, dog owners rarely notice their dogs’ first signs of gum disease. When signs of gum disease show up, it’s usually too late and painful for a pet.

How is periodontal disease diagnosed?

During an oral exam, a vet from places like Burbank Pet Hospital can look for periodontal diseases, such as red gums, a buildup of plaque and tartar, and tooth loss or movement. Let’s say that your vet thinks you have periodontal disease. In that case, they might suggest that your dog get a dental cleaning and an X-ray while under general anesthesia to get a full picture of how healthy their mouth is.


A vet should check your dog’s teeth for periodontal disease once or twice a year. If the disease is caught early, it may be possible to save your dog’s teeth. Even if your dog is acting normally, you should do what your vet says if they tell you to take care of your dog’s teeth.

Is periodontal disease preventable in dogs?

If you do what your vet tells you to, you can help keep your dog from getting gum disease. Just like people, dogs should have their teeth brushed twice a day. Plaque and bacteria can be gotten rid of with a toothbrush. Most dogs can be taught to like having their teeth brushed in a short amount of time. As long as it is done gently, some pets even like it.


Play with your dog using toys that are good for his teeth. Thin, bendy chew strips and soft chews made of rubber are both good choices. Bad dog chew toys are antlers, hooves, bleached bones, and tennis balls. If you’re unsure, ask a vet from a San Jose pet hospital if a toy is a good choice.

What Is the Treatment for Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease in pups is treated the same way gum disease in people is treated: thoroughly cleaning the teeth and getting rid of all plaque and tartar. Putting your dog to sleep is the safest and least stressful way to clean his teeth above and below the gum line. 


This also lets the vet check the mouth carefully, pull out loose, broken, or infected teeth, and take X-rays. If your dog’s gums are infected, they may give your dog antibiotics and painkillers or recommend veterinary surgery if needed.


There is only one way to find out about periodontal diseases early: have a professional clean your pet’s teeth and take x-rays of the whole mouth. Pets should clean their teeth for the first time when they are 1–2 years old. Periodontal diseases are less likely to happen if you feed your dog food that keeps plaque and tartar from building up.