As your beloved dog ages, there are a variety of health issues to monitor, and some are more obvious than others. Many families with dogs ages 7 and up look for cancer, arthritis, diabetes or behavioral changes, but miss out on gum disease, a potentially dangerous illness that can lead to bone loss and organ damage. The Old Dog House, a rescue organization for older dogs in Jacksonville, Florida, answers, “Can my old dog get gum disease?”
Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) occurs when the gums become inflamed from from bacteria on the teeth. The bacteria turns into tartar or plaque, and unless it is removed, it can spread in your dog’s mouth and cause swelling. When gingivitis advances to periodontitis (or gum disease), the gums can pull away from your dog’s teeth, allowing space for bacteria and other matter to lodge and potentially cause infection and bone loss. Periodontitis can then spread into your dog’s blood stream and cause organ damage.
Just like in humans, symptoms of gingivitis and periodontitis are gums that swell, bleed or loose teeth. Gums also may appear red.
It is important to take care of your pet’s teeth throughout their life to prevent gum disease. Try using a dental treat such as a Greenie, Oravet or DENTASTIX. Your dentist can also clean your dog’s teeth, but this may require anesthesia. Talk to your veterinarian about proper dental hygiene for your old dog on your next visit.
The Old Dog House is Northeast Florida’s first nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to giving older and senior dogs a second chance at a new life. We rely solely on the generosity of the individuals in our community for assistance in furthering our mission to give older and senior dogs a second, sometimes third, chance at living out their lives in dignity.