Dental Health is important for your pet’s overall health, but just like any other issue they may have, your pet can not tell you verbally they’re having a problem. Don’t worry; there are signs you can watch for even if your pet doesn’t let you take a look in their mouth.
Bad breath – If you have a dog, you’re more likely to notice this one as they always seem to breathe their hot, stinky breath right in your face. If you just notice bad breath randomly, it may be caused by an upset stomach. Constant bad breath is most commonly associated with dental issues but can have other causes, so always consult your veterinarian. As plaque and tartar build-up on your pets’ teeth, the bacteria are thriving. Just think of tartar as condos for bacteria. They move in and invite all their friends to move in too! Brushing your pets’ teeth or using dental products help evict those bacteria. These products keep the bacteria numbers down and help prevent tartar from building up in the first place. Bad breath can also be from an infection in a tooth. When a tooth becomes loose, the bacteria can get down below the gum line and cause some major damage. The smell from a tooth root infection can be quite strong and cause your pet quite a lot of pain.
A decrease in appetite – Nothing will stop some pets from eating no matter how bad the pain! Most Labrador retriever owners will agree with this, but for other owners, this can be the first sign that something is wrong. Since loose, fractured, or infected teeth can be quite painful, some animals will stop eating or become very picky as to what they will eat. If your pet is refusing to eat their kibble but still seems very hungry and is stealing anything soft, they can get their paws on. They may have a sore mouth. They will tend to go for canned food over kibble, and if they can only get kibble, they may only eat it when their stomach can’t hold out any longer. For anyone that has had a cavity, you know how painful tooth issues can be. Now imagine that pain without being able to complain to anyone!
Drooling and/or Dropping food – We’ve all heard that dogs drool and cats rule, and while this is true, Cats drool too! A dog drooling when there is food around, or they’re really hot, is not something to worry about, but if they are constantly drooling, then there might be a tooth issue or two. Excessive drooling can also mean other issues, such as something stuck in their mouth/throat. Either way, these issues should be addressed promptly. Occasionally there will be a cat that drools when it’s purring cuddled up with you, and although it’s unwanted, it is normal. If your feline friend is drooling, a visit to the veterinary clinic is in order. If they are dropping food while eating can also be a sign of dental issues if you notice a big mess around your pet’s bowl they may be dropping food. If they bite down on a sore tooth, they will open their mouth in response and out drops the food. You may also notice that your pet starts favouring one side of their mouth to chew, trying to avoid the painful side.
If your pet lets you take a peek in their mouth, regular checks are ideal. This way, you can monitor how much tartar is building up and watch for any issues. Pets can get gingivitis just like us, so if you are noticing their gums become red and inflamed, Dental disease is in full force. Large amounts of tartar can also be building up along the gum line irritates the gums, causing them to become red and to recess back. Gum recession can advance so bad that the roots of the teeth become exposed and cause quite a lot of pain and inevitably the need for extractions. If we use dental products and have dental cleanings with the veterinarian, we decrease the chance of extractions and your pet being in pain.
If you have any questions, give us a call at 780.432.7297.
Written by: Nicki Payne, RAHT