We all want the best for our dogs. But dental diseases can cause pain and discomfort. That’s why it’s up to you to take notice of their oral health and understand your dog’s dental health.

Checking Your Dog's Mouth

How do you know if your dog has dental problems? It's as simple as lifting his lip and looking. Tartar appears as a brownish yellow or red discoloration close to the gum line. What should be healthy pink gums will look red and swollen. Another obvious sign of dental disease is bad breath. Gum bleeding upon gentle probing with your fingers is another easily noticeable sign.

Stages of Oral Disease


The dog’s gums are uniformly pink with no swelling or redness. And they do not bleed with gentle probing. There is no obvious tooth rot at the gum line, and no tartar is visible on the teeth. The dog is most likely following an oral care routine that includes brushing and feeding of oral care products, such as GREENIES™ Dental Chews.


With gingivitis, a dog’s gums can become irritated and inflamed as plaque and tartar build up in the space between the teeth and gums. This can lead to discomfort, redness, and bleeding with gentle probing. Gingivitis is quite common and may even occur in pets that receive regular oral care.

Early Periodontitis

Left untreated, gingivitis develops into the next phase of early periodontitis. In addition to the symptoms of gingivitis, you will notice the gums beginning to break down, obvious plaque and tartar build up, as well as bad breath. Damage to gums may be irreversible and may increase the risk of bacteria entering the bloodstream to other parts of the body.

Advanced Periodontitis

At this stage a dog’s gums will appear to be separated from the tooth, and the ligaments attaching the tooth to the socket may be destroyed, causing bleeding, severe pain and tooth loss. The dog’s immune system is also compromised and bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream, leading to diseases of vital organs, such as the heart and kidney. Most likely that means less frequent dental hygiene for dogs.

Indicators of Oral Disease in Dogs

Dental disease can also impact your dog’s behavior. You may find that your dog has become short-tempered, and suddenly resists having his mouth or head area touched. In very extreme cases, the dog may eat less because he's having difficulty chewing his food.