How to Treat Gingivitis in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Does your dog always have inflamed and painful gums? He or she may suffer from gingivitis. Gingivitis in dogs is an inflammation of the gums, often being the early stage of periodontitis. This condition is treatable, but if left untreated, it can turn into an advanced periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss.

Food particles and bacteria that accumulate along the gums can form plaque, which, combined with saliva and minerals, will turn into tartar. Gingivitis can become severe and painful, and the gums may even begin to bleed. This condition can be prevented by brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, as it is done in humans.

Many dog owners do not think about the oral health of their pets until it is too late. Here’s what you need to know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for gingivitis in dogs…

Gingivitis Symptoms

Gingivitis can start with a slight inflammation at first, which the dog owner may not notice because their pet does not show any visible symptoms. As the inflammation progresses, the symptoms will become more severe, and the owner will realize there is something wrong with their dog.

The most common symptoms of gingivitis in dogs:

— The appearance of a thin, red line along the gums.
— The gums are swollen and painful.
— Bad/smelly breath.
— Stains on the teeth from the accumulation of tartar.
— Gingival bleeding.
— Refusal to consume food.
— Difficulty chewing.
— Pawing at the mouth.
— Excessive salivation.

In cases where gingivitis turns into periodontitis, gingival retraction and tooth loss will also occur.

Gingivitis Causes

One of the most common causes of gingivitis in dogs is lack of oral hygiene. It promotes the accumulation of excess dental plaque and inflammation of the gums.

Dental plaque is made up of bacteria that accumulate on the surface of the teeth. It accumulates when food debris and sugar come in contact with the normal bacteria that are commonly found in your dog’s mouth.

Dental plaque begins to calcify (harden) as it builds up on the tooth surface and turns into tartar.

The more tartar builds up, the more it accumulates bacteria and irritates the gums. The more tartar accumulates on a tooth, the more it begins to form as a pocket at the base of the tooth that will collect more food and bacteria, which will worsen your dog’s gingivitis. Over time, the gums will become red, sensitive, painful, and may even bleed.

Other causes for gingivitis in dogs are:

— Poor nutrition
— Diabetes
— Respiratory infections
— Trauma

Another cause could be the breed’s teeth anatomy. Toy breeds have crowded teeth due to their small mouths, which favors the accumulation of food between them and the growth of bacteria.

Gingivitis Treatment

Unlike periodontitis, gingivitis is reversible.

Gingivitis can be treated by regular brushing of the teeth and good oral care. If your dog has accumulated tartar, then you will need the intervention of a veterinarian who will perform a descaling.

You can use a laser therapy device for dogs at home if you are unable to brush your dog’s teeth or brushing does not work. This therapy is relatively new and non-invasive.

The benefits of laser therapy in pets are supported by numerous studies. Laser therapy can:

— Remedy inflammation.
— Improve the gingival mucosa and tooth structure.
— Reduce bone loss in periodontal disease.

This technique has advanced quite a lot in recent years, and now there is no need to go to the vet to benefit from laser therapy. You can now perform the treatment right from the comfort of your home.

How to use the laser device for gingivitis in dogs:

— Place the laser device along the outside of the mouth near the upper premolars and hold it for 4 minutes.
— If your dog has a problem in the lower gums, place the device on the jaw bone near the lower premolars and hold it for 4 minutes.
— For dogs suffering from stomatitis, place the device where the teeth end to reach the back of your pet’s throat.
— Use the laser device twice a day until your dog’s gums heal.

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