Signs Your Dog May Be Struggling with Oral Health Issues

Nov 12, 2023

We all adore our furry best friends and want nothing but the best for them, right? But have you ever stopped to think about their oral health? Just like humans, our dogs can and often do face dental problems too. And guess what? It’s not just about bad breath. Knowing the signs that your dog is struggling with oral health is vital so you can take steps to get that kissable snout back–and healthy too!

The Ideal Canine Oral Health

Dogs should have pink gums (not red or white), clean teeth without yellow or brown spots, and breath that doesn’t make you want to faint. This is what your vet is looking for at checkups and what you can look for at home. Additionally, their teeth should be strong, and they shouldn’t have trouble chewing or eating.

But did you know that a dog’s oral health is connected to the ‘oral microbiome’? Yep, it’s a thing!

Dog Oral Health and Gut Health: The Connection

Imagine the inside of your dog’s mouth is like a garden full of plants and bugs. Some bugs are helpful and keep the garden healthy, but others can eat the plants and cause trouble. This garden is like the world of tiny germs living in your dog’s mouth. When the good and bad bugs are balanced, the garden is happy. But if the bad bugs start to take over, the plants get damaged.

Now, think about how a garden shares its soil and water with other nearby places. If something goes wrong in the garden, it can also cause problems in the next-door field. That’s how your dog’s mouth and gut are connected. If their mouth is hurting or not healthy, it might make their stomach upset too. Imagine trying to chew your favorite snack with a toothache – that’s what your dog might be going through. If chewing hurts, they might not digest their food well, and good digestion is key not only for good oral health but overall health and well-being.

The Impact of Poor Oral Health and Dental Disease In Dogs

 A vet brushes a cocker spaniels tongue

Aside from the obvious stinky kisses, poor oral health can lead to severe issues and dental disease. We’re talking about heart, kidney, and liver diseases. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and affect these organs. It’s not just about fresh breath or the obligatory dental cleaning; it’s about the overall health of your best friend.

Signs of Oral Health Issues in Dogs:

So, what are the signs of bad oral health in dogs? It’s important to know the signs of poor dental health in your dog so you can make sure their oral microbiome is in its best shape. Keep a watch on your dog for the following symptoms:

  1. Bad Breath: If your dog’s breath smells like yesterday’s trash, that’s a sign. Sure, we joke about dog breath, but the truth is, it shouldn’t make you cry.
  2. Swollen or Bleeding Gums: If Fido’s gums look red and puffy, it’s time to check them out. This can be a sign of infection or serious dental issues that may warrant medication.
  3. Yellow or Brown Teeth: Tartar buildup is real, and can be a real pain for your dog, too. Regular dental cleanings typically address tartar buildup, but if you can do that on your own with good oral health habits, that’s preferred.A dog parent brushes a golden retrievers teeth
  4. Drooling More Than Usual: Ever seen your dog drool like a faucet? It’s actually not really normal and can be a sign of untreated dental disease.
  5. Difficulty Chewing: If they’re struggling with their kibble, there might be an issue. They may be purposely eating gingerly to avoid pain, and that can affect their nutrition and overall health.
  6. Loss of Appetite: No interest in their favorite treat? That’s a red flag! Again, it could be them trying to avoid pain.
  7. Pawing at the Mouth: This could be a cry for help and a sign they’re trying to remedy a situation they are dealing with.
  8. Loose or Missing Teeth: Keep a count, friends! Losing puppy teeth is one thing; losing adult teeth for no apparent reason is different.
  9. Nasal Discharge: Yep, it’s related, and it throws many pet owners because you don’t realize it could be related, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. Nasal discharge in dogs can sometimes be related to poor oral health due to the close anatomical relationship between the mouth and the nasal passages. Here are a few ways how issues in the mouth could lead to nasal discharge:
    • Tooth Abscess: A tooth abscess, particularly in the upper teeth (the upper premolars and molars), can lead to an infection that may spread into the nasal sinus area because the roots of some of these teeth are so close to the nasal passages. This can cause inflammation and infection in the nasal cavity, leading to discharge.
    • Oronasal Fistula: This is a condition where there’s a passageway (fistula) that forms between the mouth and the nasal cavity, often due to severe dental disease or after the extraction of an infected tooth. It allows oral bacteria and sometimes food to enter the nasal passages, resulting in inflammation and nasal discharge.
    • Periodontal Disease: Advanced periodontal disease can cause the destruction of the tissues surrounding the teeth, which may include the breakdown of the bone separating the oral and nasal cavities. Bacteria from the mouth can ascend into the nasal passages, causing infection and discharge.
    • Sinusitis: Inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis) can be secondary to dental disease. The roots of the upper teeth project into the areas beneath the sinuses. Infection around these roots can lead to sinus inflammation and discharge.

Nasal discharge that is related to oral health issues is typically one-sided (unilateral) and often has a foul odor. It may be accompanied by other signs of dental disease, such as bad breath, difficulty eating, or pawing at the face. If a dog is experiencing nasal discharge, particularly if it’s suspected to be related to dental issues, a veterinary examination is necessary to identify the cause and provide appropriate treatment.

  1. Whining or Aggression when Touched: If your normally lovey-dove bud snaps or shies away when you touch their face, they might be in pain.

Bernie’s Charming Chompers: There’s Help!

Fear not, though! There are ways to help. Of course, The American Veterinary Dental College recommends regular dental care checkups and dental cleaning as necessary. Many vets will also recommend dog dental treats, and while that’s a great option to use in conjunction with brushing your dog’s teeth, not all dog dental treats are the same. Some claim to remove dental plaque and tartar, while others claim to be all the pet dental care your dog needs. Other dental products only address symptoms and focus on dental problems instead of oral hygiene and overall oral health.

When it comes to our dogs, we want to do what we can to ensure they’re happy and healthy. This extends beyond regular walks and cuddle sessions to include their dental and overall health and happiness.

That’s why we created Bernie’s Charming Chompers, and their natural, research-backed ingredients can be a game-changer in pet dental care. What did we include? Only the best!

  • Yogurt & Lactobacillus: Yogurt is rich in calcium and probiotics, which can contribute to a balanced oral microbiome. Lactobacillus, a bacteria found in yogurt, can also play a role in keeping harmful bacteria in check, promoting a healthier mouth environment for your pup.
  • Miscanthus Grass: This might seem an unusual ingredient for dental health, but miscanthus grass is included as a fiber source. It aids in the mechanical cleaning of the teeth as your dog chews, helping to scrape away plaque and tartar. It also adds premium fiber to their digestive system, which can boost their gut health.
  • Parsley: Known for its fresh scent, parsley isn’t just for garnishing dishes; it’s a natural breath freshener for dogs. It contains chlorophyll, which has deodorizing properties, and it’s also anti-inflammatory, which can help soothe irritated gums.
  • Sweet Potato: This superfood is packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for overall health. Sweet potatoes can contribute to the structural integrity of the gums and teeth and provide a naturally sweet flavor dogs love.
  • Coconut: Coconut contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties, potentially reducing the proliferation of harmful bacteria in the mouth and thus improving oral health.
  • Pumpkin: Not only is pumpkin great for digestive health due to its high fiber content, but it’s also beneficial for oral health. It’s a vitamin-rich ingredient that can support the immune system, which is vital for fighting off oral infections.
  • Green Tea Extract: This extract is a potent antioxidant that can help reduce inflammation in the gums. Its antibacterial properties also make it an excellent ingredient for combating bad breath and dental diseases.
  • Blueberries: These berries are another excellent source of antioxidants. They can help prevent the attachment of plaque-causing bacteria to the teeth and gums.
  • Alfalfa Leaves: Alfalfa leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals that can enhance the overall nutrition of any dental health supplement, contributing to stronger teeth and bones.
  • Inulin: A prebiotic fiber, inulin aids in the maintenance of a healthy gut, which is intrinsically linked to a healthy oral microbiome. A healthy gut means less risk of inflammation that could affect your dog’s oral health.

The Overall Impact For Healthy Teeth and Gums

Bernie’s Charming Chompers integrates all those ingredients into a healthy base of premium pumpkin, sweet potato, and real turkey, that’s boosted with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and omega fatty acids to boost overall health. We don’t want just to support your dog’s oral health but to contribute to your dog’s overall health and happiness.

When a dog’s oral health is compromised, it’s not just about facing dental decay or gum disease; the inflammation can spread and contribute to systemic health issues, including heart disease and complications with diabetes. Giving your dog Bernie’s Charming Chompers daily gives them a treat that’s good for their mouth and their digestive system. You’re not just freshening their breath or cleaning their teeth, you’re taking a step towards comprehensively safeguarding their health.

Oral health is more than just a nice smile and pleasant breath. It’s the gateway to your dog’s overall health. So, next time you’re shopping for treats for your pup, think beyond the basics and consider dental treats that keep your dog’s tail wagging from the inside out!


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