Dog Dental Health Warning Signs

Dr. Jason Gagné, DVM, DACVIM
By Dr. Jason Gagné, DVM, DACVIM
Updated: 5/20/20242-4 minutes
woman with brown curly-haired dog

Understanding when or when not to visit the vet can be difficult, especially when dealing with a dog’s dental health. Most people don’t want to see their vet every time they have a small question, but at the same time, not going at all could mean dental problems go unnoticed. 

Keep reading to find out some of the dog dental health warning signs you should be looking out for. 

Bleeding Gums in Dogs

If you notice your dog’s gums bleeding, we would advise you take them to visit your vet as soon as possible. If the gums are bleeding lightly over a wide area, it could be a sign of gum diseases such as gingivitis or periodontal disease. Both diseases can cause discomfort and lead to issues such as weight loss. 

If your dog’s gums are bleeding heavily, it is probably a sign they have cut their gums rather than a sign of dental disease. Dogs can cut their gums on a number of different things, especially when on a walk. Items to watch out for when walking your dog include: 

  • Sharp or splintering sticks 

  • Smashed or cracked glass 

  • Waste plastic 

  • Rocks and stones 

  • Used plastic food cartons 

  • And more 

If you do notice your dog’s gums bleeding heavily, we recommend you take them to your vet as soon as possible. Once there, your vet will be able to stop the bleeding and help them to recover from the cut. 

Tooth Loss in Dogs

Tooth loss can be a very common issue for older dogs. This is because dental calculus builds over time, and eventually causes teeth to fall out. As this is an issue primarily for senior dogs, it shouldn’t be as common in younger dogs. If you have a younger dog and notice their teeth are falling out, it could be a sign of a different dog dental issue. 

If you notice your dog’s tooth has broken off rather than fallen out, they could have eaten or chewed something hard like a stone. If this is the case, the remaining part of the tooth could still be in your dog’s mouth. This can lead to more serious issues as the tooth could dig further into your dog’s gum; it could also cut other parts of your dog’s mouth. 

A broken tooth could also lead to a tooth root abscess. A tooth root abscess forms when bacteria is exposed to the root canal of a tooth, usually because of a broken or chipped tooth. 

It’s important to be aware of dog dental health warning signs, but if you have any doubts about your dog’s teeth, it’s best to consult your vet. For more tips from Purina experts on how to look after your dog’s teeth, explore our other dog dental health articles.

Related articles

blonde doodle dog playing tug with person in grass
Can dogs get hay fever? Just like humans, dogs can get hay fever. Find out the symptoms & causes of hay fever in dogs and what treatment options are available.
person holding chin of chocolate lab
person petting brown dog on lap
MyPurina App - woman with dog

Reward Yourself with myPurina

Earn and redeem rewards for Purina products with the myPurina app.