Gingivitis in humans is fairly obvious. The four stages of this inflammatory disease can be seen in a mirror. While dogs also suffer from gingivitis, it is not so easy to spot. If your veterinarian performs dog dental cleanings, check with him/her in regards to signs of gingivitis in your dog's mouth. Then you can look for the following and attempt to prevent, reverse, and treat the problem.
Pink Gums and Hot Pink Gums
A dog does not always have pink gums. A dog's gum tissue can be purplish, black, off-white, gray, and pink. To spot the first stage of gingivitis, look for puffiness, swelling, and hot pink or reddish gums. Any one or more of these signs could be the first stage of gingivitis in a dog.
Bleeding When Brushing
If you manage to brush your dog's teeth at least once a day, you are ahead of the dog owner pack. (Most dog owners do not try to do this with their dogs for fear of getting bit.) If you see pink on your dog's toothbrush or there are definite signs of bleeding, you are somewhere between the first and second stage of gingivitis. If your dog also has major discomfort and yowls when you brush a certain area in his mouth, that is a sure sign if inflammation and/or infection.
Heavier Bleeding and Avoidance of the Food Bowl
If your dog's gums have more bleeding when pushed, touched, or brushed to the point that it takes a while to stop, your dog has officially reached the second stage of gingivitis. If your dog also avoids his/her food bowl and prefers not to eat because it hurts too much to bite and chew, then you definitely need to get into a vet to see what can be done.
Loose, wiggly teeth, especially in a young adult dog, means that your dog has reached the third stage of gum disease. There is not much your vet can do at this point besides pull the loose teeth and prescribe pain relievers. Starting a tooth-brushing regimen at this time can still help save your dog's other teeth and prevent him/her from experiencing additional pain.
Lots of Blood and Tooth Loss
This is the fourth and final stage of gingivitis and gum disease in dogs. (If you have let your dog's oral health get to this point, a vet has every right to report you to animal protection agencies.) Your dog cannot come back from this, but your vet may be able to cure any signs of infection and stop the bleeding.
Reach out to a professional like Brian E Hall to learn more.