Gingivitis in Pets: Symptoms and Treatment


Gingivitis in pets, or gum disease, can lead to painful mouth sores that make it hard for your animal to eat and drink. If you notice gingivitis symptoms in your pet, it’s important to learn more about the disease and how to treat it with natural home remedies as soon as possible.

This article will take you through what gingivitis is and how to treat your pet if you notice any symptoms of gingivitis.


What is gingivitis?

In humans, gingivitis is often caused by poor dental hygiene. Animals get gingivitis when bacteria settle into the tissues surrounding their teeth.

Often this happens because the owner does not provide enough space for the animal to brush its teeth or because of long periods of time between brushing sessions.

Other causes may be tooth trauma, an unbalanced diet, periodontal disease, or foreign bodies lodged in the mouth. 

The most common symptoms of gingivitis are bad breath and redness around the mouth. Other symptoms include a lack of appetite and lethargy.

If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to more serious health problems such as abscesses and bacterial infections in the bones, heart valves, lungs, liver, and kidneys.

If you suspect your pet has gingivitis, it’s important to see your veterinarian as soon as possible so they can assess if there is any other damage occurring in the body due to a lack of treatment.

There are many options for treating gingivitis including daily brushing with commercial pet toothpaste and regular trips to the vet. Your vet will also want to make sure that your pet is getting all of its nutrients from food since those will help strengthen its immune system.

You should consult with your vet about which approach is best based on what they find during the examination.

If you have questions about your pet’s oral health, talk to one of your veterinarians!


When should you worry about your pet’s gum health?

If your pets has periodontal disease, your vet will be able to tell by looking at the gum line.

If your pet has gingivitis, you may notice some of these symptoms: 

-Bleeding gums or reddish brown colored teeth when eating. 

-Bad breath (halitosis). 

-Unusually rapid tooth decay. 

-Sensitive teeth to hot or cold water or air due to gum recession.

-Swollen, red, or sore gums. 

-Difficulty chewing food with reduced appetite. 

-Your pet isn’t responding well to dental chews for extended periods of time.

-They don’t respond to traditional tooth brushing. 

-Their behavior is different than usual such as not wanting to play with their favorite toy anymore or feeling pain while they eat.

These are all signs that your pet might have gum disease and should be seen by a veterinarian right away. To get started on treatment, veterinarians may prescribe antibiotics which would need to be given by mouth three times a day for 10 days.

In severe cases, surgery may be needed. Talk to your vet about the best treatment plan depending on your pet’s condition. After four weeks of antibiotic therapy, there should be an improvement in your pet’s overall health.


How can you prevent it?

So what can you do to prevent or slow down the progression of gingivitis? There are several steps you can take. For example, brushing your pet’s teeth at least two times a week is important for preventing the buildup of plaque that leads to gum disease.

You should also try to use a moist toothbrush with bristles made from softer material as this is more gentle on your pet’s mouth. A toothpaste made just for pets will also work well.

Some veterinarians recommend using an antibiotic solution called chlorhexidine instead of regular toothpaste because it kills many types of bacteria including streptococcus mutants which can lead to plaque formation.

If these steps don’t seem to be working, it may be time to talk with your veterinarian about other treatment options such as a fluoride rinse or antibiotics.

Some pets need surgery to remove infected tissue. These treatments are often quite expensive but they could save your pet’s life so it is worth exploring all possible avenues before giving up.

Always consult your veterinarian before trying any new remedy to make sure it is safe for your pet. 

The home remedies described above are meant to help relieve symptoms of mild cases of gingivitis only. In severe cases, when the infection has spread beyond the mouth into the neck and head region, professional care is required by a veterinarian or veterinary specialist like an oral surgeon.


How can you treat your pet’s periodontal disease?

To start off with treating your pet’s gingivitis, it is important to change your pet’s diet. Foods that are high in sugar or starch will cause plaque formation and encourage bacterial growth.

You may want to introduce some healthy snacks into your furry friend’s diet such as raw vegetables and fruits. Sometimes switching to a dental chew toy can also aid their teeth-cleaning process.

Along with these modifications to the food they eat, you may need to look into other treatments like professional dental cleaning or antibiotics.
It is important to be aware of any warning signs of more serious conditions such as pus discharge from the mouth or severe weight loss. If you notice any of these symptoms, take your pet to see a veterinarian right away.

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is by practicing good oral hygiene for both yourself and your pets. For example, don’t let your dog lick anything but treats that have been stored on a shelf, and keep your own mouth free of bacteria by brushing regularly.

For people who wear dentures, clean them often with denture cleaner solution or toothpaste to avoid the buildup of plaque.


Signs of gum disease you should watch out for

If your pet has any of the following symptoms it is likely that they have gingivitis. Symptoms to watch out for include: swollen or bleeding gums, bad breath, and teeth with black or red dots on them.

If you notice these symptoms your pet could have gum disease which requires treatment ASAP.

Symptoms are not always clear though. Take time to watch your pet carefully during their brushing and if you notice anything unusual contact your vet right away!

In most cases, a good quality toothpaste containing fluoride will help keep pets’ teeth clean and healthy. You can also brush your pet’s teeth at home.

Brushing every day will help maintain healthy gums as well as clean up any plaque from building up between the tooth and gum line. Make sure to use an appropriate size animal toothbrush designed for small mouths.

Pet toothbrushes come in three different styles – a comb style (designed for kittens), an O style (designed for small dogs), and a C style (designed for larger dogs). 

Gently brush along the top surfaces of all the teeth using circular motions. Pay special attention to areas where food gathers like on either side of their tongue.

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