Gingivitis In Dogs

By Kaytie Grant

Gingivitis, a common oral health issue in dogs, is an inflammation of the gums caused by bacterial infection. This condition, often a precursor to more severe periodontal disease, can lead to significant pain and discomfort for your pet if left untreated. In this blog post, we will delve into what gingivitis is, how to recognize it, steps to prevent it, and the treatments available to ensure your furry friend maintains a healthy mouth.

Understanding Gingivitis in Dogs: Prevention and Treatment

Gingivitis in dogs occurs when plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, accumulates on the teeth. If not removed through regular brushing, plaque hardens into tartar, which irritates the gums. This irritation leads to inflammation, causing the gums to become red, swollen, and prone to bleeding. Gingivitis is the initial stage of periodontal disease, which can progress to affect the structures supporting the teeth, potentially leading to tooth loss and systemic health issues.

Signs of Gingivitis in Dogs

Recognizing gingivitis early is crucial to prevent its progression. Common signs include:

  • Red, swollen gums: Healthy gums are pink; redness and swelling are key indicators of inflammation.
  • Bleeding gums: Especially noticeable during or after brushing or chewing on toys.
  • Bad breath: Persistent foul odor from the mouth is often a sign of bacterial overgrowth.
  • Discomfort while eating: Dogs may avoid hard foods or exhibit signs of pain when chewing.
  • Plaque and tartar build up: Visible yellow or brown deposits on the teeth.
  • Receding gums: As gingivitis progresses, gums may pull away from the teeth.

Preventing Gingivitis

Prevention is the best approach to maintaining your dog’s oral health. Here are some effective strategies:

Regular Brushing

Brushing your dog’s teeth is the most effective way to remove plaque. Use a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste, as human products can be harmful to pets. Aim to brush their teeth at least three times a week, but daily brushing is ideal.

Dental Chews and Toys

Provide your dog with dental chews and toys designed to help clean teeth and massage gums. These can reduce plaque build up and keep their mouth healthier between brushings. Here are some Denti Sticks Available in the Philippines from Pedigree Chum.

Professional Cleanings

Regular veterinary check-ups and professional cleanings are essential. Your vet can remove tartar that can’t be eliminated by brushing alone and check for early signs of dental disease.

Balanced Diet

Feed your dog a balanced diet that supports oral health. Some dog foods are specially formulated to reduce plaque and tartar buildup.

Treating Gingivitis

If your dog shows signs of gingivitis, prompt treatment is necessary to prevent the condition from worsening. Treatment typically involves:

Professional Cleaning

Your veterinarian will likely recommend a professional dental cleaning under anesthesia. This process involves scaling to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth and below the gumline, followed by polishing to smooth the tooth surfaces.


In cases of severe gingivitis, antibiotics may be prescribed to combat the bacterial infection causing the inflammation.

Home Care Regimen

Post-treatment, maintaining a strict home care regimen is crucial. Regular brushing, dental chews, and a balanced diet will help keep your dog’s mouth healthy.

Monitoring and Follow-Up

Frequent follow-up visits to the veterinarian will ensure the gingivitis is under control and help catch any signs of recurrence early.


Gingivitis is a common but preventable condition that can significantly impact your dog’s quality of life. By understanding the signs, implementing preventive measures, and seeking timely treatment, you can ensure your furry friend enjoys a healthy, pain-free mouth. Regular dental care is a critical component of your dog’s overall health and well-being, and your efforts to maintain their oral hygiene will contribute to a happier, healthier life for your beloved pet.

At IWCT, we are dedicated to promoting responsible pet ownership and ensuring the well-being of animals. We encourage all pet owners to prioritize their pets’ dental health and seek veterinary advice if they notice any signs of gingivitis. Together, we can prevent unnecessary suffering and improve the lives of dogs everywhere.


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