Periodontal disease affects over 60 million dogs and can be very painful. It is also associated with bad breath and serious health problems including heart, kidney and liver disease.

Both humans and dogs get gum disease from bacteria, but these species (types of bacteria) that cause the problem are different. By kissing your dog you can receive and transmit bacteria, but it is unlikely that either you or your dog will get gum disease as a result. You may not know, but the bacteria, known as Porphyromonas gulae, may be the cause of the foul-smelling odor you experience when you and your dog are face to face. This is one of the warning signs that your dog may have a more serious oral health problem. Because of the possible effect of periodontal disease on your dog’s overall health, this is something you should take very seriously.

The bacteria that cause gum disease in dogs can be detected and measured. The K9 Smiles™ test from PetDNA™ Labs is now available at vet offices, online at the Company’s website, and at selected retailers. A simple oral swab from your dog’s gumline is sent to a CLIA-certified laboratory, where powerful DNA technology is used to find and measure 3 types of harmful bacteria. The Company recommends annual use to keep your dog happy and healthy. Early detection of emerging threats allows more choices of home care and professional cleanings and examinations.

A combination of veterinary care and home care is necessary to help keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy. New technology is constantly being developed and evaluated to advance care options. For example, a vaccine prepared from inactivated Porphyromonas bacterium was once offered by Pfizer but has not been available on the market since 2011.  Although their four-year study confirmed its safety, it did not show a long-term reduction in the progression of periodontal disease. This approach to a vaccine recognizes the importance of bacteria in causing the problem. Understanding what is going on in your dog’s mouth is extremely important to their health.

Take charge of your dog’s oral health today – The first step is K9 Smiles™!