Periodontal disease, or gum disease, affects a large majority of all dogs. As with humans, gum disease is caused by the build up of bacteria in the warm and moist environs of the mouth. Following the consumption of food, bacteria lingers on the teeth’s surface and develops into plaque. The development of plaque on the tooth and its build up damages its stability in the gum, causing it to become loose. As plaque builds, and is not removed, it causes increasingly extensive damage to the gum in which it is held. This leads to loose teeth and eventually tooth loss. The alkalinity of dogs’ mouths is higher than that of humans, which makes them far more fertile breeding grounds for bacteria and the development of plaque. Dogs are, thus, five times more likely to suffer from periodontal disease than humans. Compounding the problem for dogs further is that, compared to humans, dogs’ teeth are at best brushed fairly infrequently and at worst hardly brushed at all.

When it comes to pugs, they are more likely to suffer periodontal disease than other breeds of dogs. In fact, statistics show that up to 80% of pugs above the age of three are likely to suffer periodontal disease. The suffering that periodontal disease entails causes inflammation of the gum, persistent pain, tooth loosening and tooth loss. Even worse, the bacteria from the gums can penetrate the bloodstream and cause serious harm to your dog’s vital organs, such as the lungs, kidney and the heart. For dogs, and pugs especially, periodontal disease can be lethal.

Despite its lethality, the first symptom of periodontal disease in dogs is that there is no symptom. Combined with its broader health implications, periodontal disease is a mortal threat to your beloved dog and its best cure is prevention.