It’s easy to forget about your pet’s teeth and gums until an unfortunate odor starts emanating from their mouth. Of course, doggie or kitty breath is nothing new, but by the time this tell-tale funk is obvious, damage to the teeth and gums has already begun. In other words, pet dental disease isn’t one of those conditions where you should just “wait and see” if something develops. The following common signs of poor dental health are all a call to action.

Before We Get Started…

Oral bacteria combined with food particles create a film on the teeth called plaque. When it hardens, tarter will form. Plaque is fairly easy to brush off, but tartar removal is more serious. When plaque is ignored, tartar creeps between the gums and teeth where bacteria can flourish, causing bad breath.

Unfortunately, in the grand scheme of pet dental disease, it can get much worse from there. Oral infection, bone loss, and missing teeth are the inevitable next step, but the implications of pet dental disease are far more grave. Bacterial infection in the mouth can actually spread throughout the body. Through tarter-damaged tissue, oral bacteria will enter the bloodstream and travel to the lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys. Significant damage and even organ failure can occur.

A Little Bit of Brushing

Without a doubt, a little bit of tooth brushing every day will positively impact your pet’s health. However, if tarter has attached to the teeth, it’s quite difficult to remove at home. Also, since the majority of damage from pet dental disease lies beneath the gum line, it’s important to schedule an appointment for a fully anesthetized procedure that includes a cleaning, examination, and digital x-rays.

Pet Dental Disease

There’s a battle going on in every pet’s mouth, but with daily care and attention, your pet can live a long, healthy life.

Being aware of the signs of dental problems goes a long way to achieving a quick diagnosis and effective treatment plan. Always be on the lookout for the following 10 most common signs of pet dental disease:

  1. Bad breath
  2. Swollen, red, and/or bleeding gums
  3. Drooling
  4. Problems picking up food and difficulty chewing
  5. Lack of appetite and subsequent weight loss
  6. Pawing at the face
  7. Facial swelling
  8. Nasal discharge (sometimes bloody)
  9. Lost, missing, or broken teeth
  10. Inability or disinterest in self-grooming

You’ll likely notice heightened sensitivity and/or pain when touched. Please don’t wait to see if your pet will recover from these symptoms on their own. We encourage you to contact us with additional questions about pet dental disease. Our veterinarians and staff members are always here for you and your pet!