The Connection Between Dental Health and Diabetes in Dogs

Feb 4, 2024

Here’s the deal: your dog’s mouth is more than a treat catcher and slobber factory. It’s actually a health checkpoint. And while we’re all about those shiny, goofy grins, there’s more at stake than Instagram likes for weird teeth poses—think dog diabetes. No, not your usual suspect when you’re busy dodging affectionate face-licks, but there is a connection between dog oral health and diabetes and it’s a growing concern.

Oral Hygiene And Canine Diabetes

Oral health and diabetes are kind of like the odd couple in the dog health world—they shouldn’t be related, but surprise! They’re sharing more than a water bowl.

Understanding a dog’s dental health involves recognizing the key indicators of a healthy mouth in dogs and being aware of common dental issues they face. Good oral health in dogs means clean teeth without plaque or tartar build-up, healthy gums, and no signs of discomfort while eating. But those are just the obvious signs.

One of the most common things to consider concerning a dog’s dental health is periodontal disease (PD), which, according to research, is the most common clinical condition in adult dogs. This disease can lead to serious complications if left untreated, including infection and tooth loss. Poor dental health also leads to affected gums and discomfort but can also result in more serious health issues, including an increased risk of heart and kidney diseases and dog diabetes.

Studies have evaluated the benefits of daily dental chew administration on oral health outcomes in adult dogs. They found that dental chews could significantly reduce plaque, calculus, and bad breath, suggesting that they may help slow the development and progression of periodontal disease in dogs.

Diabetes Mellitus In Dogs

When we’re talking about diabetes mellitus (commonly just called diabetes in dogs), we’re talking about a health issue that’s pretty serious. Diabetes in dogs, much like in humans, is a condition where the body struggles to manage blood glucose levels properly. There are two main types that diabetic dogs suffer from: Type 1, where the pancreas basically goes on a strike and doesn’t produce enough insulin; and Type 2, which is more about the body not using insulin effectively.

Symptoms of diabetes in dogs can be sneaky and gradual – think increased thirst, more frequent potty breaks, weight loss despite a good appetite, or lethargy. If left unchecked, diabetes can lead to some serious complications, like vision problems or even organ damage. Keeping blood glucose levels balanced becomes a long-term gig that needs careful management, usually involving insulin therapy and diet adjustments. It’s important to keep an eye on these signs because catching it early can make a world of difference.

Dental Disease Complicates Diabetes in Dogs

Current research has explored the relationship between dental diseases and diabetes in dogs because the impact of periodontal disease on blood sugar regulation and the role of oral infections in contributing to insulin resistance is really common.

While you may not think there’s a big connection between periodontal disease and diabetes, there is. When your dog’s suffering from periodontal disease, gum inflammation can affect blood sugar regulation, and that can make diabetes even worse. A study that focused on the management of multiple dental infections in a dog with diabetes showed that resolving those dental issues could lead to improved regulation of blood glucose levels. But, you don’t want to get to the point of a drastic dental procedure like a root canal or tooth extraction. The goal is to ensure good oral hygiene so that diabetes and periodontal disease in dogs don’t even come into the same sentence for your dog. 

When you help your dog have good oral health, you’re helping prevent dental disease and managing and potentially reducing the risk of systemic conditions like diabetes in dogs.

How Can I Ward Off Periodontal Disease And Diabetes In My Dog?

Managing diabetes in dogs is a little bit like putting together a puzzle where every piece needs to fit just right for the overall picture to make sense. Here are some tips:

  1. Consistent Treatment: The most important part of managing diabetes in dogs is consistency – consistent insulin shots, consistent feeding, and a predictable, stress-free lifestyle. Much like a routine for us humans, this helps keep their blood sugar levels stable.
  2. Insulin Therapy: Just like with human diabetes, insulin injections are often a treatment that vets recommend. It’s about finding the right insulin type and dose for your furry friend. Initially, there might be a bit of trial and error, but with your vet’s guidance, you’ll get there. Remember, insulin needs to be stored and handled properly.
  3. Regular Monitoring: It’s all about keeping tabs on your dog’s appetite, weight, water intake, and urine output. Changes in these can indicate how well their diabetes is being controlled. You might also need to monitor their blood glucose levels through periodic vet visits or home monitoring kits​​. Also, watch out for hypoglycemia symptoms, which can be more serious. If you notice any worrying signs, a quick call to your vet is the way to go​​.
  4. Dietary Management: What your dog eats plays SUCH a significant role! Diets high in insoluble fiber can help stabilize blood glucose levels, especially if they’re prone to peaks and troughs. Plus, weight management is key, especially for overweight dogs. And, as we’ve learned, keeping your dog’s oral health in check is super important too!

What Can I Do To Help My Pet’s Oral Healthcare?

Prevention is your best friend when it comes to keeping your dog’s chompers in tip-top shape and their tail wagging with good health.

The trick is to keep things clean and crunchy. Regular brushing is the first step, of course. However, if your dog gives you the side-eye for the toothbrush, dental chews like Bernie’s Charming Chompers are a game-changer. That’s why we created them–for our own dogs who were at risk of diabetes and other systemic issues. Charming Chompers are packed with fiber, prebiotics, and postbiotics that do more than just scrub the teeth – they set up a wellness party in your pup’s gut.

Additionally, the road to your dog’s heart is through their stomach, and the same goes for their health. A balanced diet with the right nutrients can help keep their blood sugar levels steady. You’re aiming for a mix of healthy proteins, fibers, and complex carbs – think sweet potato, real turkey, pumpkin, yogurt, and even blueberries. These ingredients aren’t just tasty; they’re like a full-body workout for your dog’s digestive system and overall health. They also happen to be what we wanted to put in Charming Chompers for gut health. We knew the physics of our dental chews would help with the cleaning, but we also know that good health starts from the inside out!

We wanted to create a dental chew that was delicious for your dog but also good for them. For their oral and gut health, especially. Incorporating Charming Chompers into a daily routine, focusing on a balanced diet, and keeping up with monitoring your dog’s dental and physical signs can be powerful strategies in preventing dental disease and diabetes.

After all, a healthy dog is a happy dog! 

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