Keeping clear from dental health concerns is an essential part of maintaining your much older Pembroke Welsh Corgi's quality of life. Akin to all dog breeds, particularly among senior pooches, ideal dental wellness is closely linked with improved well-being, and a much stronger immune system and can even help promote a longer lifespan.
And unlike what a lot of people mistakenly believe, giving your aging Pembroke Welsh Corgi the dental health he deserves is not as complicated as you think. Make sure you read on because we will be walking you through everything you need to know to pull the whole thing off in this comprehensive yet simple-to-follow blog post.
Why Ideal Dental Health Matters for a Senior Pembroke Welsh Corgi
For starters, Pembroke Welsh Corgis are considered one of the most energetic and inquisitive purebred dogs. It's not uncommon that these attributes persist until these cuddly canine half-pints reach their golden years.
However, due to their curious nature, these small herding dogs often find themselves in situations that might have a negative effect on their dental health. Apart from biting on almost everything that takes their fancy, these fur babies can also get carried away when engaged in games and activities like fetch, frisbee and tug-of-war.
Even "minor" issues need to be monitored and addressed
While these "incidents" usually end up in nicked gums and small lesions in and around the mouth, it is also possible that a senior Pembroke Welsh Corgi can also be vulnerable to more serious dental health concerns like a chipped or broken tooth in the process.
It is crucial to remember that neglecting even a minor or temporary problem like scratched gums or a chipped tooth can potentially lead to periodontal disease, metabolic and digestive disorders as well as bacterial and viral infections. What's even more alarming is that they can have fatal consequences for your aging Pembroke Welsh Corgi if not immediately taken care of the right way.
Common Oral Health Problems in Aging Pembroke and Cardigan Welsh Corgis
Just like all purebred dogs, Pembroke Welsh Corgis (as well as their Cardigan Welsh Corgi cousins) generally tend to be vulnerable to a number of oral health conditions when they reach their senior years. Aside from commonly inherited diseases like hip and elbow dysplasia, health concerns specific to the oral and dental region also get in the picture during this time.
While these oral and dental health conditions will already be quite uncomfortable for your much older pet, they can also lead to so many other diseases (which we will tackle later) if not properly dealt with. We've made a list of the most common of these issues for your guidance:
If you're anything like most golden-aged Pembroke Welsh Corgi parents, chances are you've noticed that your pet's breath can be a bit stinky at times. Although this can be triggered by the mere consumption of certain types of dog food—especially canned varieties—and having something stuck between his teeth, bad breath can also be an indicator of a more serious disease like diabetes as well as kidney and bladder stones.
Accumulation of plaque and tartar
When you don't clean and brush your aging dog's teeth regularly, bits of food debris can build up inside his mouth and turn into plaque. This can eventually harden into tartar if not removed. While the accumulation of plaque and tartar is not considered a significant health problem by itself, this can trigger irritation in the gums, which can lead to gingivitis sooner or later.
Oral injuries and infections
As we've highlighted earlier, the typical Pembroke Welsh Corgi personality is inclined to stay energetic and curious even up to his golden years. And a dog of the same breed usually has the habit of biting anything that gets his attention, be it a herding ball, frisbee or a twig.
This is the reason why it's not uncommon for these pets to sustain nicks and lesions in and around their oral region, which can result in inflammation and infection if not taken care of. Alternatively, the lack of mental stimulation can also encourage unruly behavior even in much older dogs which leads to these issues.
Gum disease is not just a very common problem among all senior Pembroke Welsh Corgis, but also in other dogs like the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and different pedigrees. Affected dogs usually experience sore and tender gums that eventually progress to bleeding and the possible onset of periodontal disease.
In extreme cases, gum health issues may have as dramatic an impact as poor nerve function and cardiopulmonary complications. It may also cause tooth loss and even bone loss in very serious instances. Some pet experts even theorize that if neglected, gum disease may have an indirect link with reproductive difficulties—breeds like the Pembroke Welsh Corgi can be affected, too.
Deemed one of the most common causes of oral and dental infections, Pembroke Welsh Corgis—particularly the ones in their golden years—become more vulnerable to serious disease if they have tooth decay. Besides disrupting their overall diet, even a single bad tooth can lead to potentially fatal health concerns like a blood clotting disorder and heart failure.
As a quick reminder, we'd just like to stress that it is crucial to treat dental disease as soon as possible regardless of your Pembroke Welsh Corgi's age. Whether you've got to have a puppy tooth extracted or get rid of a significant buildup of plaque and tartar from an older dog's mouth, it must be done straight away to avoid even more problems.
Don't hesitate to reach out to an animal homeopathy expert or a pet emergency hospital when the need arises. Apart from providing the necessary first aid measures, your vet or animal health professional can also recommend preventive medication that can help keep disease and illness at bay.
Health Problems a Golden-Aged Pembroke Welsh Corgi Can Have Due to Dental Disease
While the presence of dental disease in much older Pembroke Welsh Corgis is already serious enough, things can get even more critical if these health problems are not attended to as they should. Below are just some of the possible scenarios your aging pooch is going to be in if this is the case:
Chronic pain and discomfort
Pain and discomfort are unpleasant sensations that your aging Pembroke Welsh Corgi (and his Cardigan Welsh Corgi counterparts) will almost always be subjected to when he is suffering from dental health problems. And the whole thing is going to feel rather overwhelming, too, like having broken teeth, itchy skin and anxiety all at once.
What's really alarming about these sensations is that they usually pop up without a warning and can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. This can put your senior pooch in a lot of distress and will significantly affect his overall quality of life. Moreover, pain and discomfort will also intensify the aches and soreness caused by inherited disease, especially among other dogs who develop arthritis years earlier.
Reduced absorption of essential nutrients
Oral and dental health problems will primarily target the mouth, gums, teeth and tongue, which your dog uses to not just consume foods, but also enjoy them. Regardless if your senior Pembroke Welsh Corgi is taking in high-quality dog food or the top-shelf variety, chances are he won't be able to eat, chew and swallow it properly when these health issues are present. Your pet may avoid even his favorite foods and treats altogether, too!
Apart from preventing your aging pooch to absorb as much beneficial nutrients from his food, you may also have a tricky time having ideal weight control since he may unnecessarily shed off pounds in the process. A normal risk in this situation is losing a lot of lean muscle mass. Moreover, a senior Cardigan Welsh Corgi is also vulnerable to these issues.
It's not uncommon that aging Pembroke Welsh Corgis generally have an unpleasant breath after they eat certain foods or when they inadvertently get in contact with stinky stuff here and there. While this can be easily remedied by a simple cleaning and brushing, it's quite the opposite when a senior dog is suffering from oral and dental health concerns.
Problems like tooth decay and gum disease often disrupt your pet's ability to produce ideal amounts of saliva, which plays a key role in flushing out food particles stuck between the teeth and under the tongue. When there isn't enough saliva, getting rid of this debris can take a little longer than usual and will result in bad breath.
Additionally, tooth decay can give rise to the creation of "pockets" inside the affected areas of the teeth where food particles can get stuck. When the bacteria inside the mouth get to them, a chemical reaction takes place where stinky gases are released. The diseased bone and gum tissues also have a bad smell to them, which only becomes more prominent as time goes on.
Increased levels of stress and anxiety
Did you know that one of the biggest factors of stress and anxiety in senior dogs is starvation? They also become rather anxious if they feel that they're not being fed enough or if their feeding schedules are erratic. Other dogs their age may even develop anxiety if they miss their regular meal times by a few minutes!
In the case of a dog with gum disease or a decaying tooth, how can he properly feed if he can't even chew and swallow his food properly? What's even scarier is that gum disease and tooth decay can eventually spread to the jaw bone and cause fractures. This can make your pet's unique medical needs even more complicated in the long run.
Although the teeth of your aging Pembroke Welsh Corgi is naturally strong and durable, they are not as indestructible as you may think. Chewing or biting on things that are much too hard for his teeth to handle can easily damage or even break them. It's not uncommon that a chipped or broken tooth can progressively worsen if not properly taken care of straight away.
In extreme cases, the damage to the tooth can extend beyond the enamel and dentin, and go all the way to the jawbone itself. The development of abscesses in and around the affected tooth is an abnormal symptom to take note of when this happens. Other dogs may not even be able to open or close their mouths properly due to the pain at this stage.
Vulnerability to even more serious health problems
We've saved this one for last because it's the really alarming part of unattended oral and dental health problems in much older Pembroke Welsh Corgis...
According to the American Kennel Club and veterinary health institutions like the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), neglected oral and dental issues in golden-aged dogs drastically increases their vulnerability to cardiovascular disease in dogs.
These cardiovascular ailments can cover anything from endocarditis to congestive heart failure. Additionally, these diseases may not easily show up in a regular blood test. Other dogs may even require repeated routine blood testing prior to invasive procedures to avoid making them an anesthetic or surgical risk.
Mind you, this can be potentially deadly to overweight dogs or those that have low blood sugar. They can also be at risk of manifesting the health issues highlighted in the canine inherited disorders database. Interestingly, this is one of the biggest reasons why canine oral/dental health has a specific classification when it comes to pet health insurance.
Signs That Your Senior Pembroke Welsh Corgi Is Suffering From An Oral Health Problem
There are tell-tale signs that your golden-aged Pembroke Welsh Corgi will display when he is going through a dental or oral health issue. These indicators are also the same for other dogs in their senior years. It is important to deal with the underlying problem immediately as soon as you notice the following:
Pawing or scratching at the mouth and cheeks
When your much older dog starts scratching or pawing on certain areas of his body, it is almost always a sign that he is either feeling discomfort or a moderate amount of pain. And the more frequently this behavior takes place, the more painful the sensation is.
Additionally, this is often associated with prominent groaning and vocalization. Some canine genetic researchers stress that this behavior can be also an indicator of most commonly inherited diseases (like intervertebral disc disease, degenerative myelopathy and Von Willebrand's disease), so make sure you don't ignore it.
Sudden drooling and bad breath
The pain and discomfort caused by gum disease and similar oral health concerns can lead to a condition called hyper-salivation, where a senior Pembroke Welsh Corgi's mouth produces an excessive amount of saliva.
While the exact reason for hyper-salivation still isn't clear, it is theorized that this may be a much older dog's body's way of flushing out the bad bacteria that may be in his mouth, tongue, teeth and gums. Another proposition is that the excessive amount of saliva directs the bacteria to the stomach to be disposed of by the digestive acids.
Drastic changes in feeding habits
If your aging Pembroke Welsh Corgi is usually a good eater and then suddenly becomes picky (or not eating at all), it's highly likely that he is suffering from an oral or dental health problem. And just to emphasize, the whole experience is becoming a bit overwhelming for your pet at this stage since it's already disrupting his eating habits.
The same indicator can also be noticed in much older Cardigan Welsh Corgis as well as other dogs with different or mixed pedigrees. If you make it a point to keep your dog's diet consistent and then this happens, seek the help of a vet or a pet health expert right away.
Visible soreness and tenderness of the gums
There are some very significant visual cues that you need to take note of with respect to oral and dental health problems in senior Welsh Corgis. These include red and tender gums, which can also be bleeding in some cases. The tongue and insides of the cheeks may be affected, too. You can easily spot these since they tend to be swollen.
Please remember not to touch the affected areas even the slightest since you won't know how much pain or discomfort your older pooch will feel when you do. You may also inadvertently cause bleeding in the process, too. A smart strategy to keep in mind when this gets in the picture is introducing a much softer diet for your pet.
Note: We, along with other canine institutions like the National Breed Club and the American Kennel Club, recommend having your dog undergo health care DNA testing as well as being checked for inherited disease when instances of bleeding happen without a warning. He could be prone to Von Willebrand's disease and similar wellness problems.
Swelling or distortion of facial features
The swelling that we've touched on earlier won't just affect the gums, tongue and the inner part of the cheeks. It can also cause an unnatural distortion of the facial features of your golden-aged dog, especially when there is already an infection happening.
A very common example of this is when there's a tooth abscess present. In some cases, albeit very few, additional indicators can also manifest due to irregularities in the immune system passed genetically. These include chronic eye pain and ear discharge—inability to blink completely as well as the onset of progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) can be noticed in some much older dogs, too.
Sudden changes in behavior and mood
Akin to other dogs, a senior Pembroke Welsh Corgi's health can be partly assessed based on his usual mood and behavior. Should your golden-aged pooch suddenly display behavior that isn't quite like him at all, chances are he's going through some health or wellness concern.
Here's a quick example: Suppose your usually playful and curious Welsh Corgi suddenly becomes moody and snobbish. And you can't even entice him to play a game or do an activity, particularly one that involves mental stimulation. Take this as a hint of illness or some other health problem.
Another example would be a drastic change in the socialization of your golden-aged pooch. While Welsh Corgis are normally playful and friendly, one suffering from oral and dental health problems can be rather snippy and even hostile not just to other pets, but also to humans. It's not uncommon for these dogs to hide and skulk under the furniture as well.
Loose or bleeding teeth
Sure this may sound simplistic, but a lot of dog parents simply ignore bleeding and even falling teeth from their much older pets. They dismiss it as something totally natural given the age of their canine wards and should not be a cause for concern—which usually leads to more problems before you know it.
While nicks and scrapes inside the mouth can cause a bit of bleeding, it is crucial that you immediately reach out to a veterinarian or a pet wellness expert if your much older Welsh Corgi becomes constantly prone to this issue. It is possible that he may be on the verge of losing a tooth or developing serious gum disease in this scenario, too. The best strategy in this situation is to seek veterinary assistance as soon as you can.
Maintaining Oral Health in Aging Pembroke Welsh Corgis
Before we go over the tips on naturally maintaining and supporting your senior Pembroke Welsh Corgi's oral and dental health, we'd just like to emphasize one very important factor. The secret to making the whole thing as successful as can be is by looking at it as a series of fun activities and notas a chore.
If your mindset is positive, this will carry over to your actions, which your aging dog will also feel. Having a strategy like combining oral and dental healthcare with activities and games involving mental stimulation is one way to pull this off.
On the other hand, if your mindset is negative, it's highly like that your pooch will also feel the same way. And it won't help you and your aging pet even the slightest. Remember, your mindset plays a very important role when dealing with this situation.
Essential Tips on Dental Care for Aging Pembroke Welsh Corgis
Helping ensure that your golden-aged Pembroke Welsh Corgi will have ideal oral and dental health is not as intricate as you think. There are just some very important guidelines that you need to take note of. The ones below should definitely be on your home pet care checklist:
#1. Have a thorough visual checkup of your senior dog's mouth.
The most straightforward way to have a general overview of your aging pet's dental and oral wellness is through an ocular inspection. You simply open your senior Welsh Corgi's mouth in a gentle manner and you're already on the right track. Doing this also helps to make him get used to having his mouth and teeth checked.
Visual examination of your dog's mouth makes it easy for you to spot any possible signs of disease as well as other issues like a chipped tooth. While you don't have to do this every single day, we recommend scheduling a visual checkup at least once a week.
#2. Schedule regular teeth cleaning and brushing for your pet.
Teeth cleaning and brushing are crucial components of your much older Pembroke Welsh Corgi's dental and oral hygiene. Just remember to do it as softly and patiently as you can since these activities might seem alien to your senior pet, especially if his teeth don't get brushed or cleaned on a regular basis.
While the ideal frequency for teeth brushing is two (2) times a day, your aging pooch will still be safe from sudden and excessive buildup of plaque and tartar if his pearly whites get cleaned at least thrice a week. Additionally, always remember never to use toothpaste specifically formulated for humans on your dog.
#3. Incorporate foods that encourage salivation in your aging dog's diet.
Adequate salivation in senior Pembroke Welsh Corgis can be stimulated by making use of natural foods that encourage constant chewing. Getting your hands on an apple or a carrot and serving it to your pet is perhaps the simplest way to do this. On the other hand, utilizing dental chews and hard kibble can also be viable options.
We'd just like to stress that using raw bones for this application can be rather dangerous to your much older Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Apart from being potential choking hazards, bone splinters can also injure your dog's gums, inner cheeks and throat.
#4. Closely monitor any issues no matter how small they may be.
When it comes to your senior Welsh Corgi's oral and dental health, never underestimate even the smallest issues that you encounter. Let's say you discovered a tiny lesion on your dog's gums or a welt-like formation on his tongue.
The best course of action is to give him the necessary first aid straight away or else the problem will just progress into something much worse sooner or later. Given how unpredictable a Pembroke or Cardigan Welsh Corgi is, he could be unknowingly aggravating the problem before you know it.
#5. Always provide sufficient hydration and essential dietary nutrients.
Ideal hydration and nutrition are a must when oral and dental health in dogs is concerned. Apart from nourishing your senior pet, the right diet also provides the necessary vitamins, minerals and beneficial nutrients to repair and rejuvenate damaged cells. This also includes any damage that his oral and dental region may have incurred.
Moreover, giving your much older dog an improper diet can make him more prone to illnesses and other wellness issues. Besides oral and dental health problems, his susceptibility to intervertebral disc disease, a weakened spinal cord, kidney stones, degenerative myelopathy as well as the risks of any dormant inherited disease will also increase.
#6. Don't hesitate to ask for expert help.
If we're being honest, there will be times when the oral or dental health problem of your senior Pembroke Welsh Corgi is a bit technical in nature and can't be taken care of at home—this also applies to his Cardigan Welsh Corgi cousins.
Common examples of these instances are wobbly or broken teeth as well as abscesses in and around the mouth. Make sure you get in touch with your vet immediately when this happens. Even the slightest delay can already have a very big impact on your aging dog's life in situations like these.
#7. Make this a regular part of your senior dog's lifestyle
When it comes to maintaining the ideal oral and dental wellness of your senior Pembroke Welsh Corgi, it has to be a consistent process and not just a one-time thing. If we're being honest, some dog parents even put the whole thing off until there is already an issue or when some major health concern is taking place.
What's really scary about neglecting your much older dog's overall oral and dental health is that it can potentially make the body form abnormal lymphocytes. Besides increasing his risk to cardiovascular disease and chronic inflammation, this may even lead to cancer in dogs in some cases. If your pet health insurance has oral/dental coverage, make sure you maximize it.
A Premium Natural Oral Health Support You Should Check Out
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Join Our Senior Pembroke Welsh Corgi Club on Natural Wellness
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HOMEOPATH & CO-FOUNDER OF ZUMALKA
Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.
Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.
Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.