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5 Causes of Periodontal Disease in Dogs and Cats

Periodontal disease in dogs and cats begins with bacterial buildup in their mouths and can lead to tooth loss. It is a severe disease that has more repercussions than tooth loss. It can cause loss of appetite, resulting in your pet’s weight loss. The bacteria and plaque can move to other body organs through the blood and cause damage. Studies show that it affects over 87 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats.

To safeguard your pet against periodontal disease, educate yourself on its causes. Here are five causes of periodontal disease to start you off.


Genetic Predisposition

Some cats and dogs have a predisposition for periodontal disease. Their genetics makes them susceptible to the disease. Thus, it is good to know your pet’s medical history. Genetic predisposition can present in different ways, including tooth retention and congenital abnormalities.

Some cats retain their milk teeth after the permanent ones erupt. It causes the adult tooth to grow at an angle, resulting in misalignment. Congenital abnormalities can also cause misalignment and crowding of teeth. It makes it easy for food particles to remain in the mouth after eating.

Bacteria and plaque feed on these food particles, releasing acid and toxins that cause gum inflammation. Without proper care, it flares into periodontal disease. Take your cat or dog to see a veterinarian at Greenwood Village Veterinary Clinic if you notice overcrowding and misalignment of teeth.



Some breeds of cats and dogs are susceptible to periodontal disease because of their short nose. It affects the positioning of their teeth since their jaws are too small to accommodate them. The result is overcrowding, leading to teeth misalignment. These breeds include Chinchillas, Persians, and Exotic Shorthairs. 

The overcrowding and misalignment of teeth make it easy for bacteria and plaque to build up. They feed on food particles left behind and held by the teeth. Thus, it is crucial to brush your pet’s teeth daily. Use products that are friendly to them. Also, take them to the veterinarian for regular dental assessments.



Feeding your pet soft and wet foods also leads to periodontal disease due to the lack of abrasive action. The action against the teeth prevents the buildup of bacteria and plaque. Dry foods encourage chewing and are more abrasive. However, there is more to it, and the structure of the food chunks also matters.

There are special diets designed for cat or dog foods. They provide the abrasive action your pet needs to prevent plaque and tartar accumulation.



Accidents can cause your pet's jaw to develop an abnormal shape as it heals. It may also affect the teeth, making them grow out of alignment or crowding. Thus, you should work with your veterinarian to ensure their jaw heals properly after your pet experiences trauma as a kitten or puppy. After the jaw heals, continue taking them for regular checkups to ensure the teeth grow as they should.


Infectious Disease

Veterinarians associate some infectious diseases with gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal disease. Thus, your veterinarian may advise on a screening. These diseases cause immunosuppression in your pet as the bacteria and plaque build-up in their mouths. It causes gum inflammation, which may result in infections. Your pet’s body may not fight this infection, and it progresses into periodontal disease.

For more information on periodontal disease, visit Greenwood Village Veterinary Clinic at our Greenwood Village, Colorado office. Call (303) 771-6304 to schedule an appointment today.

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