Dog dental disease is one of the most common health conditions that veterinarians see, with over 80% of canines experiencing dental and gum illnesses. It is not always obvious at first, especially to an untrained eye. It is up to your veterinarian, doggy dental specialist, or sometimes the groomer, to spot the warning signs.

What Is Dog Dental Disease?

Dog dental disease includes both gingivitis and periodontitis. Periodontal disease is the inflammation and infection in your dog’s gums, bones, and teeth. This is caused by bacteria in the mouth from the accumulation of plaque and tartar buildup. This can lead to teeth loss as well as some more serious and unexpected health conditions. It is very common and currently affects more than 8 out of 10 dogs over the age of 3.

Here are 5 scary consequences of leaving your dog’s teeth uncared for, and all the ways you can prevent this from happening.


If your dog has diabetes then it might have one of the higher levels of periodontal disease. This is because the two diseases fuel each other and it becomes a vicious cycle. Sometimes it is hard to tell which came first, diabetes or periodontal disease. Inflammation and infection associated with periodontal disease can affect the dog’s blood-sugar metabolism and can decrease their sensitivity to insulin. Usually, once the tooth is addressed their diabetes becomes a lot easier to handle. Dog insurance is something to consider in aging dogs to help cover the costs of diabetes and dental disease care.

Dog Pain

If you are not constantly checking your dog’s teeth then it might take you a while to notice something is off. Not to mention dental disease can be a hidden disease not visible to the eye. Even when dogs are in pain, they sometimes have different ways of showing it. Some are more obvious than others. Some signs to watch for include:

  • ‘Inhaling food’ rather than chewing it.
  • Lack of appetite
  • Swelling or bleeding
  • Drooling
  • Bad breath

Broken Jaw

If a dog gets infections in even just one tooth it can actually lead to severe consequences such as a fractured jaw. This is more common in smaller dogs that have large teeth, like a chihuahua, Lhasa, Apsos, Maltese, or Shih Tzus. Even a simple action like jumping off the couch can lead to injury. Periodontal disease can cause extra challenges due to the lack of quality bone left in the area.

Sets Off Immune System

If there is too much plaque left on your dogs teeth this can lead to periodontal disease that starts under the gums. This is when the immune system and inflammatory responses kick in. This process begins to try and kill bacteria, killing tissue in the process. The worse the dental disease is and the more inflammation present might lead to bacteria entering the bloodstream.

Risk of Heart Disease

Inflammation caused by dog dental disease commonly affects both the heart and the liver. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association shared evidence that periodontal disease could be directly linked to endocarditis which is a heart valve infection in dogs. So usually if your dog is showing signs of dental disease they are probably also showing signs of heart disease at the same time.

How to Prevent Dog Dental Disease

Dog dental disease can be easy to avoid with a couple of simple, routine care measures.

Vaccinate Your Pup!

There is finally a vaccination available for our dogs that is meant to help them avoid destruction caused by canine periodontitis. The Porphyromonas vaccine works to help reduce the risk of bone changes caused by the disease. While it may not eliminate the periodontal disease from happening, it can greatly reduce the damage done to the teeth, gums, and the risk of further complications. Dog wellness plans are pet insurance to start immediately, which is great if you’re looking to book a vaccination appointment.

Regular cleaning

Cleaning our dog’s teeth regularly is a major way to prevent any dental disease! Brushing our dog’s teeth reduces the risk of too much plaque and tartar building up on their teeth. This reduces the risk of their immune system flaring up to kill bacteria. There are toothbrushes and toothpaste made specifically for dogs as well as great bones and dental treats.

Oral Examinations

The number one way to reduce the chance of your dog developing periodontal disease is to bring them in for regular teeth cleaning and dental examinations. Vets, groomers, and doggy dental technicians are experts at spotting issues that could potentially lead to disease. The regular removal of plaque is a sure-fire way to ensure your dog’s mouth stays healthy.

Wagmo gives dog owners the opportunity to sign up for dental coverage. This is additional to dog insurance and is part of a wellness plan. A wellness plan is for preventative routine care that covers vaccinations, dental, flea medication, etc.

If you’re looking for pet insurance to start immediately sign up for Wagmo Wellness that begins immediately, while you wait the 30-day waiting period for Wagmo Dog Insurance to kick in! Wagmo dog insurance and Wagmo dog wellness plans are available to mix and match so every pet owner finds the best plan for their dogs (and cats!).