Peripheral disease in dogs is the accumulation of tartar along with gum infection and affects a large number of dogs. We tell you your symptoms and treatment in this post.

What is periodontitis or periodontal disease in dogs?

It is the main oral condition that affects dogs of all races and ages, especially those of small size, and from two years onwards.

Periodontal disease in dogs is caused by the accumulation of dental plaque and tartar on the teeth, which results in gum infection and bone loss and support structures around the teeth. Over time, they can result in the loss of teeth.

Periodontitis can be treated but, if not done, it can lead to serious infections that affect vital organs such as the liver, kidney or heart. In addition, it is important to keep in mind that if our dog suffers an infection in the mouth and bites or licks us in the face or hands, it can transmit some diseases (it is what is called zoonosis, or transmission of diseases among non-human animals and human animals).

Which dogs are more predisposed to suffer from Peripheral disease in dogs?


All dogs are exposed to suffer from this type of condition if they do not maintain proper oral hygiene. However, tartar usually appears around 2 or 3 years of age – not before – with small breeds showing the greatest predisposition to this oral problem.

The reason is that the teeth of small dogs have a smaller size and it is easier for food to accumulate between teeth. The accumulation of these food remains is what, when mixed with the saliva and bacteria that inhabit the oral cavity, become dental plaque and then tartar. If you want to know more about the process of accumulation and formation of plaque and tartar, you can read our post-Sarro in dogs: a dangerous enemy.

On the other hand, it must be taken into account that the saliva of dogs is more acidic than that of humans, so the risk of accumulation of bacterial plaque and tartar is greater in these animals.

Therefore, in summary, we can say that the dogs most predisposed to suffer from periodontal disease are:

Small Breed Dogs

Dogs from two to three years old

Dogs maintaining poor dental hygiene

Dogs that usually receive soft homemade food or soft prizes whose remains are usually fixed more to the teeth.

Symptoms of periodontal disease

Often canine owners do not recognize periodontitis. However, there are some clear signs that should serve as an alert:

Bad breath

Tartar buildup on teeth

Swollen gums

Loss of teeth


Anorexia: the dog stops eating or decreases daily intake

Bad breath is something that many owners consider normal in their dogs. However, it can be a clear symptom of periodontal disease in dogs. Against bad breath, there are multiple remedies, including dental snacks or multifunctional prizes. In this post about bad breath, we explain them in detail.

According to the American Medical Veterinary Association, this disease can be divided into four stages of development:

Stage 1

At this stage, there is a visible accumulation of tartar or dental tartar and slight swelling and redness of the gums.

Stages 2

In stage two of canine periodontitis, the gums are more inflamed and there may be a slight loss of bone around the roots of the teeth (only visible by radiography).

Stage 3

In the third stage of periodontal disease in dogs, the teeth do not look very different compared to the previous stage with the naked eye but by radiography, a more severe bone loss is revealed.

Stage 4

In this phase the accumulation of tartar is very visible, the gums are retracted, the teeth damaged and the loss of teeth can occur.

Treatment of Peripheral disease in dogs

During stage 1 of periodontitis, treatment can be totally curative. Gingivitis is reversible. In this post, we explain more about gingivitis in dogs and how to treat it.

In the following phases, the process can be controlled but cannot be completely reversed. That is why prevention through proper dental hygiene is so important.

Preventive treatment of periodontal disease in dogs consists of the routine care of the dog’s mouth by daily brushing of teeth and the use of multifunctional dental rewards that help prevent the accumulation of bacterial plaque and, therefore, the formation of tartar and its associated problems.

In more advanced stages of the disease, treatment may consist of a dental cleaning in the veterinarian and the administration of antibiotics to fight the infection.

Prevention is the key

Since the treatment of periodontitis in dogs when it is in advanced stages is simply palliative but cannot be curative (the loss of dental bone is irreversible once it has already occurred), the important thing is to carry out good prevention.

Remember to brush your dog’s teeth daily or, failing that, use dental rewards such as Greenies to combat the accumulation of bacterial plaque, the formation of tartar and halitosis or bad breath associated with these two elements.

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