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Canine Stomatitis in Dogs: Symptoms, Diagnoses and Treatment

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    What is Stomatitis in Dogs?

    Photo Credit: Veterinary Dental Center

    Canine Stomatitis is a condition of the mouth characterized by the irritation and inflammation of the soft tissues. In most instances, the condition causes ulcers to form inside of the dog’s mouth including the lips, tongue, gums, and back of the throat. Due to inflammation and ulcers, great discomfort and pain occurs, making it difficult for your dog to eat, drink, and even swallow in some cases. 

    What Causes Stomatitis in Dogs?

    Unfortunately, there is usually no single cause of stomatitis but is often associated with the development of dental disease. When dental disease develops, plaque accumulates along the gum line leading to swelling and irritation. Over time, bacteria multiply and the gums become infected. However, this is not always the case when it comes to Canine Stomatitis. Other possible causes behind Canine Stomatitis include: 

    • Hormone Disorders 
    • Kidney Failure 
    • Negative reaction to medications
    • Fungal or viral infections
    • Biting of toxic substance like certain plants or chemicals 

    Who’s at Risk of Developing Stomatitis?

    Canine Stomatitis is most commonly observed in certain breeds of dogs that are predisposed to the condition, including Cavalier King Charles spaniels, cocker spaniels, and Maltese.  Breeds that are at a higher risk of developing Gastritis include German shepherds, Rottweilers, and Shar-peis. 

    What are the Symptoms of Stomatitis?

    The most common symptoms of Canine Stomatitis include: 

    • Inflamed or swollen tissue in the mouth 
    • Odorous breath 
    • Ulcers in the mouth
    • Discomfort when eating or drinking
    • Excessive plaque on the teeth 
    • Increased saliva production and drooling 
    • Loss of appetite/weight loss

    How Can Stomatitis in Dogs Be Prevented?

    At-home dental care and keeping up with veterinary dental appointments is the best way to prevent stomatitis and other dental issues from occurring. A professional cleaning will reduce the build-up of tartar and plaque that leads to dental disease.

    How is Stomatitis Diagnosed?

    Diagnostic testing will likely be performed to rule out any other diseases or dental issues that look similar to Stomatitis. A biopsy will be taken and histology performed.

    What is the Treatment for Stomatitis?

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    Unfortunately, Stomatitis is difficult to completely cure and many dogs will experience repeated episodes of the condition. However, long-term treatment plans can help to ease your dog’s pain and discomfort. 

    Since the condition is very painful, your veterinarian’s first priority will be to get your dog’s discomfort under control so that they can carry out normal functions such as eating and drinking. Anti-inflammatory medications will likely be administered as well as antibiotics to heal the infection.

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    Mouth Pain in Dogs: The Signs and Prevention

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      When a dog has mouth or tooth pain, it can be a little more difficult to diagnose or even tell that they are in pain. There may be some obvious signs like reluctance to eat and blood on chew toys, but some are not so obvious. You also usually aren’t checking your dog’s mouth for receding gum lines. It’s imperative to be familiar with signs of mouth pain, as certain mouth disorders can lead to even more serious conditions as things like plaque enter the bloodstream. Mouth pain in dogs should never be taken likely and should be addressed right away with your veterinarian.

      1. Be Familiar With Your Dog's Mouth

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      Any being that has teeth is susceptible to having broken or fractured teeth, and it’s also possible to have gum disease, as well. Dogs are actually five times more likely to develop gum disease than humans for a variety of reasons. The first being that dogs’ mouths happen to be more alkaline, therefore it encourages plaque to develop. Plus, most dogs don’t brush their teeth on a regular, daily basis like humans do. 

      Plaque is developed from things like food waste, saliva, cells from the mouth lining, oral bacteria, and their by-products. When this plaque builds up, the bacteria continue to multiply. At the point that bacteria starts to multiply, a dog’s mouth will mobilize cells to help fight the invasion, to which those cells and bacteria will continue to cause both inflammation and destruction. As this happens, bone is destroyed, which then leads to tooth loss…and pain.

      2. Know That Dogs Don’t Always Show Mouth Pain

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      Dogs have a habit of not telling us when their mouth hurts. Even on top of having a condition like a cracked tooth or periodontal disease, dogs may still continue eating like normal and being their happy, go-lucky selves. Overall, they might seem like the same dog you always know and love. 

      Dogs have evolved over time to hide chronic pain, as their natural animal instinct is to not show signs of weakness, which includes being in pain. More often than not, the #1 sign of periodontal disease in dogs is no sign at all. 

      3. Be Aware of The Signs of Advanced Dental Problems

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      Once a mouth disorder has progressed, the signs will usually start to become more noticeable as there’s no way to hide them. These signs include: 

      • Red or bleeding gums
      • Teeth that are discolored, broken, loose or rotten
      • Blood on a chew toy
      • Bad breath
      • Lumps in the mouth
      • Vocalizing when they yawn or eat
      • Chewing on one side of their mouth
      • Loose teeth
      • Either Ropey or bloody saliva
      • Head shyness
      • Trouble picking up food
      • Nasal discharge and sneezing (this is due to bone loss between the nasal and oral cavity from advanced gum disease)

      4. Keep Up With Oral Health

      Photo Credit: Unknown

      Maintaining your dog’s oral health is the #1 way to make sure they don’t develop periodontal disease or another oral-related condition. Here’s how to do that:

      • Regular Teeth Brushing: One of the best ways to ensure the prevention of gum or periodontal disease is by regularly brushing your dog’s teeth. Some dogs may be predisposed, so this can at least slow the progression. It may take some patience and practice, but you can learn more about how to brush your dog’s teeth in our blog or check out this helpful video. You can use dog toothpaste that usually has flavors like peanut butter or chicken! 
      • Oral Examinations: A vet is really the only one who can determine if your dog is having mouth problems. By having an annual oral examination, they can take oral x-rays, examine the gum line, their teeth, and even do a full cleaning under anesthesia. When it comes to these professional cleanings, they should only be done by a vet under anesthesia so they can do things like removing callus and tarter around the gum line, take out dead tissue, remove rotting teeth (if needed) and check for any pockets around their teeth.
      • High-Quality Dog Food: Your dog may benefit from a “dental diet” which is usually a diet consisting of additives to help plaque from hardening or even dried foods to help scrub their teeth when they chew. Consult your vet if they think this is right for your pup.
      • Dedicated Chew Time: Not all dog toys are safe just because they are sold in stores. Toys that are actually beneficial to your dog and won’t break their teeth include hard, rubber toys, or even thinner treats that bend. 

      5. Examine Your Dog’s Teeth On a Regular Basis

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      Just like with any other part of your dog, it’s important to keep an eye out for any changes in their mouth. While some things can really only be seen by a vet, there are certain parts you can easily identify. 

      • Check for unusually bad breath
      • Look for teeth that may be loose, broken or discolored
      • Watch for changes in eating habits
      • Check their water bowl and chew toys or blood
      • If they usually get their teeth brushed, be alert if they start to resist
      • Check for lumps around or in their mouth or swelling

      If you suspect that your dog is suffering from a dental condition or disease, please consult your veterinarian or find a dental specialist in our specialist directory

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      Oxyfresh Showcases Must-Have Mini Pet Dental Kit at SuperZoo

      Las Vegas, NV – August 17, 2021 – Oxyfresh, the leading provider of safe, environmentally friendly products for pets and people, is showcasing their new mini Pet Dental Kit at SuperZoo. Stop by booth #1949 to see why this kit is a game-changer for pet dental care. 

      This must-have kit features mini sizes of Oxyfresh’s most popular oral care products for pets: Pet Dental Water Additive (3 oz.); Pet Dental Gel Toothpaste (1 oz.); and 3 gentle finger brushes. Customers will love having everything they need for their pets’ oral health in one convenient, cost-saving kit. 

      “We’re always looking for ways to bring more value to our retailers and their customers. This kit is a fantastic way to introduce customers to Oxyfresh dental products and show them how easy it is to adopt an oral care routine at home,” shared Tom Lunneborg, Oxyfresh Vice President of Research and Development. 

      Blended with the best of science and nature, Oxyfresh dental products stand out from the pack because they bring a better kind of fresh to pets: no covering up bad breath through mint, green tea, clove or artificial flavors. Oxyfresh Pet Dental Water Additive and Pet Dental Gel Toothpaste are free of flavors and scents so pets won’t turn their noses up at it. Instead, their exclusive ingredient Oxygene® neutralizes bad breath completely while fighting plaque and tartar buildup. Best of all, these safe, vet-recommended dental products work, every time.

      Product Highlights: 

      • All-in-one kit with everything customers need for their pets’ oral care: 3 oz. Pet Dental Water Additive, 1 oz. Pet Dental Gel Toothpaste; 3 gentle finger brushes
      • Tasteless and odorless dental products so even the pickiest pets will love them
      • No brushing: water additive goes straight into pet’s water bowl and the dental gel can be applied with a finger brush or directly to gum line with finger
      • 100% non-toxic, eco-friendly and Leaping Bunny Certified 

      See what the buzz is all about! Stop by booth #1949 and discover how Oxyfresh is reinventing fresh with their must-have mini Pet Dental Kit.

      About Oxyfresh:

      Oxyfresh’s mission is to bring a better kind of fresh to the world – one smile, one pet and one home at a time. Made in the USA, their innovative products are alcohol free, dye free, gentle, and effective and have been loved by generations of customers since 1984. Learn more at

      Connect Socially

      Instagram: @Oxyfresh

      Facebook: @oxyfresh

      Twitter: @Oxyfresh

      Media Contact:

      Melissa Gulbranson, Vice President of Marketing | 800.333.7374 |

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      Brushing Dogs’ Teeth: The How and Why

      German shepherd having teeth brushed
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        Why Should You Brush Your Dog's Teeth?

        Brushing dogs’ teeth can often be overlooked but it is, in fact, a crucial part of their health. Brushing their teeth can:

        • Prevent bad breath
        • Remove tartar and plaque buildup
        • Prevent Periodontal disease
        • Avoid Rotting teeth
        • Reduce internal organ damage in your dog

        How Do You Brush a Dog's Teeth?

        Brushing your dog’s teeth is often much more difficult if you’re getting started at some point in your dog’s adult life whether it be you have never thought to do it or they were adopted as an adult but it is absolutely possible! Follow the steps below for assistance in brushing your dog’s teeth:

        1. Find The Right Time to Start

        When your dog is nice and comfortable, brush their teeth. Establish a routine. It is good to gradually increase your brushing frequency until you are brushing everyday. But if their mouth is in good shape, even three days a week may make a big difference in their oral health. As a result of plaque accumulation, your dog is at risk of developing foul breath, gum disease, and teeth decay. It can also lead to painful infections, according to the CDC. Extreme cases of infection can be lethal.

        2. Have The Right Tools

        You’ll want to use a dog-specific toothbrush. Specially slanted bristles make these brushes gentler and easier to use. Dog under 30 pounds may benefit from finger brushing. Longer handles can give you a better reach in larger dogs. Dog toothpaste is a must with common flavors including chicken and peanut butter. Dogs’ stomachs are sensitive to human toothpaste, which includes irritants that might cause stomach upset.

        3. Get in Place

        Check to see whether your dog is comfortable in the environment where you’ll be doing the brushing. Keep your dog at a safe distance from you and avoid intimidating stances. If you want to avoid this, consider kneeling before them, or sitting to the side of them instead. Determine your dog’s degree of anxiousness and t ry again later if they appear agitated. Each of the next steps may take some time to perfect.

        4. Get them used to it

        Rub your finger over your dog’s top gums and teeth to see whether they’re comfortable with you touching their mouths. In this approach, they will become accustomed to the sensation of anything against their teeth. Press lightly. Before going on, you may need to spend a few sessions getting them used to this. Your fingers should be coated with dog toothpaste. Allow your dog to lick the toothpaste off of your finger to become acclimated to the feel and taste of the toothpaste. if they don’t want to lick any more toothpaste after the first few days, switch flavors. This is a treat for them, and you’ll want to make sure you find one!

        5. Test the Toothbrush

        You may start using the toothpaste and toothbrush together once your pet has become accustomed to you opening and touching their mouth. Then, they raise their top lip. Be sure to slant the bristles of the toothbrush as you brush their teeth so that they reach the gum line as you do so Brushes that are placed at a 45-degree angle against teeth will massage the gum line and remove plaque.

        6. Use the Toothbrush

        In tiny circular motions, brush both the top and bottom of each side. The bristles may bleed a little as they travel along the gum line. A little bleeding every now and again is OK. In contrast, persistent or severe bleeding might indicate that you’re brushing too forcefully, or that you have gum disease. Your veterinarian can provide you with further information.

        7. Brush Away the Plaque

        Brush a few teeth at a time, increasing the number of teeth you brush each day as you and your dog get more comfortable. Aim for a total of two minutes. Begin by cleaning the outsides of the canine and rear teeth, where plaque is most likely to accumulate. If you’re able to go inside, that’s fantastic. But if you’re unable to reach them, don’t worry too much about it. These animals have a coarse tongue, which helps keep the region clean.

        8. Use Positive Reinforcement

        Specialists recommend keeping the mood light when brushing your dog’s teeth. Tell them what you’re doing while you brush their teeth, reassuring them that they are fine and safe. Gently pet them while doing so to remind them of what a good dog they are. Make this a positive experience for them. In the end, give your dog with their favorite reward or special attention. When everyone is still having a good time, it’s time to stop. Also, keep in mind that excellent dental care doesn’t end with brushing as you can also help your dog prevent plaque accumulation by eating certain chews and snacks. Schedule frequent professional dental cleanings as well. Consult your veterinarian to determine how often your dog should be brushed.

         Learn more about brushing dog’s teeth with this helpful video by VetVid.

        To find teeth brushing products for your dog, visit our product directory. To find a dental specialist near you, visit our specialists directory! Please consult with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s health plan.

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