How to Tell if Your Pet Has Dental Problems


As pet owners, we want the best for our furry companions, and one of the best things you can do for your dog or cat is to ensure that it has healthy teeth and gums.

Pets with dental problems are not only at greater risk of infections and other health issues like diabetes, but they also face an increased risk of heart disease as well. With proper care, your dog or cat will have fewer problems in its later years as well.

Here are some common signs that your furry friend has dental problems and what you can do about them.


Symptoms in dogs

The most common sign of dental disease in dogs is oral pain, which can be caused by inflammation, infection, and other factors. Dogs often lick at their mouths as a result of discomfort.

Other symptoms include inflamed gums, an increase in bad breath (which is often described as smelling like rotten eggs), bleeding when brushing teeth, and tooth loss. If your dog’s mouth smells bad and he’s not eating his food, there’s a good chance he has some sort of dental problem.

Some other signs that may indicate dental problems are changes in behavior—for example, becoming anxious or aggressive around people or refusing to eat altogether. This is a dangerous symptom that should never be ignored.

Call your vet immediately if you notice any behavioral changes accompanied by painful licks on lips and/or ears. Another thing to watch out for is a sore throat. If your dog seems like she’s having trouble swallowing her food, it could be because of a buildup of plaque or tartar between her teeth and gum line.

Take note of how much your dog eats and whether she vomits after meals. A reduction in appetite or increased vomiting can be a sign that something isn’t right with her mouth.


Symptoms in cats

Bad breath, difficulty chewing, weight loss, and lethargy. Cats may also show open sores on their gums as a result of tooth decay. Some cat breeds (Persians, Himalayans) are more susceptible to dental disease than others.

If you know your cat is prone to dental problems because of their breed, have them examined by a vet regularly—once every six months should suffice—and brush their teeth twice a week to help ensure they stay healthy.

A few simple tips can go a long way toward preventing future issues. Brush frequently, try using an enzymatic cleaner (available at pet stores), and make sure your kitty’s diet consists primarily of dry food that has been approved by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials).

A proper diet will reduce plaque buildup and tartar accumulation. It’s also important to note that cats don’t produce saliva as humans do, so it’s crucial to provide them with plenty of water.

If your cat won’t drink from a bowl, consider purchasing a drinking fountain specifically designed for pets. In addition to providing hydration, these fountains encourage self-grooming while keeping the kitty’s mouth clean.

Finally, talk to your veterinarian about how often your cat needs professional cleaning. Brushing helps, but most veterinarians recommend seeing a professional once per year to scrape away built-up tartar.


What to do if you suspect your pet has dental problems

Like humans, pets can develop dental problems due to plaque buildup, poor diet, and other factors. Visit your vet immediately if you suspect that your pet is in pain or has a tooth infection.

Here are some things you can do at home for milder cases of bad breath, bad teeth (or gums), and/or loss of teeth.

What’s Causing Bad Breath?

You may not notice it, but your dog or cat has bad breath. The same causes that cause halitosis in people—bacteria on teeth and food particles caught between them—can also lead to halitosis in dogs and cats.

Plaque from food particles hardens into tartar, which makes it difficult for bacteria to be removed from teeth by brushing. If bacteria are left unchecked, they can spread into surrounding tissue and cause gum disease.

In fact, periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases in dogs and cats. Signs of periodontal disease include swollen gums, redness around teeth, and bad breath that smells like rotting meat.

While periodontal disease isn’t painful for pets, it can eventually lead to serious health issues like heart and kidney failure as well as abscesses in other parts of their bodies. Pets with severe periodontal disease often have difficulty eating because their mouths hurt so much.

So what should you do if you think your pet might have bad breath or dental problems?

First, try these tips: Brush your pet’s teeth regularly. Use a soft-bristled brush designed specifically for pets. Be gentle when brushing; don’t use too much pressure since doing so could damage gums and enamel.


Does your pet require veterinary treatment?

Signs of dental disease vary depending on whether you’re a human or a dog. If your dog is displaying some of these symptoms, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your vet.

Signs that your pet needs dental care include gagging when eating, drooling and excessive salivation, loss of appetite, and bad breath. In addition to these physical signs, pay attention to your pet’s behavior—if he or she seems lethargic and doesn’t want to play as much as usual, there could be something wrong.

Make sure you also look out for any changes in behavior; dogs who are normally playful can become more sedentary while cats who are usually calm can start scratching at their mouths frequently.

These behaviors could indicate that your furry friend has dental problems. It’s important to note that just because a pet isn’t showing obvious signs of pain, they still might have serious issues going on inside their mouth.

It’s best to err on the side of caution and bring them in for a checkup anyway. Toothaches aren’t just reserved for humans! While many people know what toothache feels like, many don’t realize that pets experience similar discomfort.

Dogs and cats don’t complain about toothaches—instead, they display behavioral changes like not wanting to eat or sleeping more than usual.


What does dental cleaning entail?

A basic dental cleaning, including plaque and tartar removal and polishing, generally costs between $75 and $150, depending on where you live. You’ll need to get your pet at least a few teeth cleanings a year (preferably two) over their lifetime.

The most common cause of tooth loss in pets is periodontal disease, which is caused by bacteria that leads to inflammation and eventually tooth loss. A dog with periodontal disease may not be able to eat as well as one without it; he may also have bad breath and lose weight because of difficulty chewing food.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, it’s time for a trip to the vet! The best way to prevent gum disease is through daily brushing—even if your furry friend doesn’t mind it. But don’t worry, brushing takes just a few minutes every day and helps keep your pet healthy and happy for years to come.

Remember, never use human toothpaste since its ingredients are too harsh for pets! Instead, look for canine-formulated toothpaste made specifically for oral health care—and always supervise when using it so you can make sure there are no problems.


Why regular dental checkups are so important for pets

As people, we’re encouraged at a young age to take care of our teeth. We learn how sugar and cavities can affect our oral health—and that a trip to the dentist every year or two is important.

The same is true for pets. Regular dental checkups are important because early-stage dental disease isn’t always painful. Only once it progresses do symptoms appear, making it difficult for pet owners to detect problems on their own.

If left untreated, dental disease can lead to pain and infections throughout your pet’s body. But when caught in its earliest stages, dental treatment is simple and relatively inexpensive. That’s why regular visits to your veterinarian are so important!

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