Whenever Doll, my 8-year-old mixed breed dog chews something hard, her gums start bleeding. What should I do?

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According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs show signs of periodontal disease by the age of three. Signs include bad breath, inflamed gums, yellowed teeth and bleeding from the gums. Disease occurs in your dog’s mouth just as it would in yours. Plaque (made up of food particles, saliva minerals and bacteria) forms on the teeth. And as it builds up, the plaque grows brown and hard, turning into tartar. It is tartar that causes the gums to become inflamed and tender. Next, the gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets that trap bacteria, which attack the roots of the teeth. Besides causing bad breath, these bacteria may loosen the teeth, cause bleeding at the gum line and make it painful for your dog to eat. In severe cases, the bacteria may enter the dog’s bloodstream and trigger infections in vital organs such as heart, liver, kidneys and lungs. Such infections can prove fatal. A vet can tell you how advanced the disease is, and provide the appropriate treatment. The starting point is often a thorough dental cleaning under general anaesthetic, when the vet will remove tartar and extract any teeth that are past saving. After this, it is you who will have to take responsibility for your dog’s dental health, which involves regular brushing and feeding dog chews like Pedigree Denta Rask.

Question by – Girish Patel, Ahmedabad

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