One of the most common problems I encounter daily with pets is dental disease. Most often clients are simply unaware that there are problems inside their pets’ mouth. Often dental disease is “out of sight, out of mind”. However, dental health is a vital component of keeping our pets happy and healthy. Below are the top three signs your pet NEEDS dental attention.
- Bad Breath. Normal doggy/kitty breath isn’t expected to smell like roses; but if you find yourself taken aback by your pets’ breath, there may be problems brewing. Odor-producing bacteria in the mouth signal excessive plaque and tartar. These bacteria are the foundation for more severe dental issues such as gingivitis and tooth decay.
- Dropping Food. Have you ever had a sensitive tooth and taken a drink of cold water? Animals can experience that same sensation of sharp pain with dental disease. You may notice them dropping the kibble of food from their mouth, chewing only to one side, or swallowing food with limited chewing at all.
- Pawing at Face. Obviously our pets can’t verbally tell us when their mouth is sore. But they will display signs of discomfort. You may notice them to paw at their face more frequently. Sometimes they will rub their jaw or muzzle against the floor or into the carpet. Cats may groom less frequently. All of these are subtle signs of oral discomfort and potential dental disease.
A common misconception with pets’ dental health is that if they are eating they must be fine. You will notice that “not eating” did not make the list, and, for good reason. It takes A LOT of discomfort for a pet to stop eating. They are wired for survival and will put up with tremendous dental disease to continue eating. By the time we see a pet that truly will not eat due to dental disease, we have missed many previous warning signs. The exception being acute trauma such as a fractured tooth where they suddenly become painful.
Be sure to discuss your pets’ dental health with the team at Cumberland Veterinary Clinic. We can provide many useful tips for preventive dental care as well as address any concerns you may have. An ounce of prevention is often worth a pound of treatment!
Written by: Dr. Mike Bugg D.V.M