The main reason dogs gums bleed while brushing their teeth is because of inflamed gums. Inflamed gums are typically the result of gingivitis. If your dog’s gums bleed during or after brushing, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your vet.
Dog’s and their precious chompers go together like PB&J. Besides their sensitive nose, dogs use their mouths (specifically teeth) to explore the world and discover new things. That’s why it’s important to keep those pearly whites of theirs healthy and squeaky clean!
Although a good old fashioned toothbrush can do wonders for a pup, if you’ve brushed your dog’s teeth, you might have experienced some light bleeding from their gums. But why does this happen? And is there anything you can do about it? Does this mean you should stop brushing your dog’s teeth? Or does it mean you should brush their teeth more often?
We will discuss the reasons this may be happening and what you can do to prevent it!
Inflamed Gums Are The Leading Cause of Bleeding
The number one reason dogs gums bleed when brushed is because of inflamed gums. Gums can become inflamed for a variety of reasons. Whether it be the rough bristles on a toothbrush or brushing too hard in the tough to reach places. It could also be that they have sensitive gums and their kibble is causing irritation.
This issue is shared by dogs and humans alike. In fact, a staggering percentage of humans are living with undiagnosed gum disorders.
Although this isn’t necessarily dangerous, if left unchecked, the gums can begin to degenerate. Degeneration may provoke more severe side effects in the future.
Poor Hygiene Makes The Bleeding Worse
As we discussed above, inflamed gums are a significant contributor to bleeding.
Poor hygiene can rapidly worsen this situation. Severe plaque build-up may cause the gums to inflame, which will cause bleeding gums.
Not only can inadequately performed tooth care cause inflammation, but it can also cause disorders like gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Gingivitis is severe inflammation of the gums caused by repeated exposure to harmful bacteria. These bacteria are formed by plaque, which builds up on your dog’s teeth. If left uncleaned, it hardens and becomes tartar.
When the tartar (or plaque) extends below the gum line, the risk of infection becomes significantly higher. Periodontal disease is a severe stage of gingivitis. If this is left undiagnosed, the gums may proceed to degenerate. This damages the soft tissue and bones which support the tooth, causing it to loosen and possibly fall out completely.
What If Inflamed Gums Isn’t The Cause of Bleeding?
Although inflamed gums and poor hygiene are the two most common causes, there are still several other possible causes.
Injuries to the mouth and teeth may cause bleeding in the gums. If a tooth becomes injured, it may apply abnormal pressure to the gums, causing them to inflame and bleed.
It’s no secret that dogs love to pick up sticks, rocks, woodchips, and anything else they can get their jaws on. Although this is typical, particular foreign objects may damage the sensitive lining within their mouth.
Wounds caused by pointy objects can even attract infectious bacteria. It’s important to catch these wounds early so they don’t fester and turn into a severe infection.
Consuming toxic items is another contributor. Foods such as chocolate are extremely toxic to dogs. Not only does the chocolate devastate their insides, but it can also rot or diminish their gums.
This is why you should avoid feeding your dog processed food. Other examples of toxic treats for dogs include: avocados, garlic, onions, tree nuts, and any food or beverage containing caffeine.
Health Conditions That Cause Bleeding Gums
In a worst-case scenario, bleeding gums may not be from brushing, but a precursor of more serious ailments.
Sometimes the teeth can become infected, causing the gums to bleed if not treated promptly. The teeth themselves can begin to deteriorate, causing them to literally rot out of the mouth.
In the most extreme cases, bloody gums can be an early warning of oral cancer. This includes mouth, throat, and tracheal cancer.
It can also be a symptom of a variety of systemic diseases, such as: metabolic syndrome, hypothyroidism, Crohn’s disease, sinusitis, and sickle cell disease.
If you feel that any of these disorders could be the cause of your pup’s bleeding gums, contact a medical professional immediately. The longer it’s allowed to fester, the worse it becomes.
Symptoms When Not Brushing
If you suspect your dog’s gums are bleeding but don’t notice it when brushing, here are some things to look for.
Dark Gums: The first thing to observe is the gums. The gums will become swollen and change color (a beet red, or a very dark pink).
Yellow Teeth: You might notice that their teeth have turned a dark yellow or even brown. This is a sign of tooth decay, which can cause bleeding.
Rancid Breath: I know our furry friends have never had the best breath, but if you notice a rancid change in their breath, it may be a sign of gum bleeding.
Difficulty Chewing: Maybe you’ve noticed that your pup isn’t giving that favorite bone of theirs the attention it usually receives? This may be due to inflamed and bleeding gums, making it difficult to chew.
Poor Appetite: This may also cause your pooch to have a poor appetite or none at all. Rapid weight loss is something to look out for if you aren’t sure if your dog’s teeth hurt.
Preventing Gum Bleeding When Brushing
Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly prevents plaque and tartar build-up, eliminating risk for bacterial infection. But you may want to find a brush with softer bristles. Harsh bristled toothbrushes can irritate the lining of the gums, inflaming them and cause bleeding.
Certain chews and treats can help your pup’s oral health. You can find these at most pet stores and online shops.
If your fluffy friend has an extra sensitive set of gums, it may be worth taking them to a veterinarian who specializes in oral health.
How is your dog’s nutrition? A simple change in diet can make a huge difference! A healthy diet regiment promotes fantastic oral health. Processed food is hard on the body, and the organs have a hard time breaking them down. Try providing your special pup with a whole food diet.
How To Brush Sensitive Dog Teeth
You want to brush your dog’s teeth similar to your own. Using a toothbrush (with soft bristles), rub in a circular motion throughout the mouth.
If you can’t seem to find a toothbrush that works, you can wrap your finger with soft gauze, and lightly massage your finger throughout the teeth.
Tip: Rub chicken broth on the lips of your dog before you brush. This will relax them, making it easier to perform a thorough job.
Take Care of Bleeding Gums ASAP
If you notice that your dog is undergoing a concerning oral dilemma, be sure to contact your vet or a trained professional. This is not something you want to procrastinate on. Something as simple as gingivitis can turn systemic, making the situation much more dire.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.