Dental Signs That Your Pet May Need a Trip to the Dentist

Dental services for pets are as essential as they are for people. Annual dental checkups and cleanings can prevent many serious health problems and help keep your pet comfortable throughout life.

But how do you know when your pet needs to see the dentist? Read on to learn more.

What Are the Signs That My Pet May Have Dental Problems?

The following are signs that your pet may have dental problems:

  • Bad breath. Just like humans, pets can get bad breath from time to time. However, if your pet’s breath is consistently bad, it may be a sign of dental diseases, such as gingivitis or periodontal disease.
  • Changes in eating or chewing habits. If your pet is having trouble eating or chewing, it may be due to pain from dental disease. You may also notice that they are dropping food more often than usual.
  • Excessive drooling. Drooling can be a sign of dental pain or infection.
  • Bleeding gums. Gum disease is a common dental problem in pets and can lead to pain, tooth loss, and other serious health problems.
  • Pawing at the mouth. If your pet paws at their mouth or face, it may be a sign that they’re in pain. An infection could cause this, a foreign body stuck in their teeth or gums, or something else. If they continue with this behavior, they can irritate their skin, so take them to the vet to find out what’s happening. In the meantime, try to rub their muzzle after eating to reduce the urge to paw.
  • Changes in behavior. If your pet is suddenly acting differently, it could be a sign that they’re in pain. They may become more withdrawn and aggressive or start chewing on things they normally wouldn’t.
  • Rubbing their face on the ground or furniture. If your pet is trying to rub their face on the ground or furniture, it may be because their teeth are bothering them.

What Should You Do If You Think Your Pet Has Dental Problems?

Here are some things you can do if you think your pet has dental problems:

  • Take them to the vet. This is the best way to find out what’s happening and get the treatment they need. In some cases, when dental disease is caught early, a cleaning may be all that’s needed. If they persistently cry, have trouble eating, or are drooling excessively, you will likely need to bring them to an emergency animal hospital.
  • Feed them softer food. If your pet has trouble eating, you can try feeding them softer food. This will help them get the nutrition they need while protecting their teeth from further damage.
  • Give them dental toys and treats. Many different kinds of dental toys and treats can help reduce tartar and plaque buildup on your pet’s teeth. This can help prevent dental disease and keep their teeth healthy.
  • Brush their teeth. Like humans, brushing your pet’s teeth is the best way to prevent dental problems. You can use special pet toothbrushes and toothpaste, or even just a soft cloth. Be sure to brush gently, so you don’t hurt their gums.
  • Keep an eye on your pet’s mouth. Take a look at their teeth and gums regularly, and be sure to report any changes to your veterinarian. If you are a pet owner who always travels, you can also request a dental cleaning from the boarding kennel or have someone else do it for you. You may see at Animal Health Clinic how this works.

The Bottom Line

Dental problems are common in pets but are often preventable with proper care. Be sure to take your pet to the veterinarian for regular checkups, brush their teeth regularly, and give them dental toys and treats. If you think your pet may have dental problems, take them to the vet for an evaluation as soon as possible.