What are the signs of poor dental health in my pet?

What are the signs of poor dental health in my pet?

What are the signs of poor dental health in my pet?

What are the signs of poor dental health in my pet?


Many pet parents ask the question ‘what are signs of poor dental health in my pet.’ This question usually arises after they hear stories of what can happen to a pet with poor dental health. Considering four out of five dogs over the age of three suffer from some kind of dental disease, this is a question that deserves attention. To make sure your pet never has to suffer the ill consequences of bad oral health, let’s take a look at some of the early warning signs.

Bad Breath

Bad breath is a perfect example of what happens in the beginning stages of periodontal disease. Sure, pets have a natural mouth odor; but in healthy circumstances, it is not something that should offend your senses. On the other hand, if the aroma is a terrible foulness smelling of rotting sewage, there is likely a developing dental disease already well underway.

There are other reasons for bad breath, yes. Even so, unless your pet is a regular poop-eater (and this is not altogether uncommon), experiencing organ problems, or has a life-threatening illness, it’s likely that the terrible breath is due to dental disease.

Bad breath is found in nearly all cases of progressive, unchecked dental issues. It’s caused by bacteria, plaque, and tartar buildup that has formed. This buildup can lead to infection, bacterial off-gassing, and the decay of the oral cavity. When this issue is left untended for too long the odor can become unbearable (and so can the mouth pain).

Just remember, there’s doggy breath that smells relatively normal, and then there’s rotten breath that indicated an issue is underway.

Red, Swollen Gums

At every stage of dental disease, you will notice that the gums are progressively more and more red and swollen. In stage one, a thin line of redness is found along the gumline where the tooth and gum meet. This is a sign that the teeth and gums are not getting the care required to balance the oral ecosystem. The bacteria and plaque begin making a home just under the gumline that protects them from the oral assault of a licking tongue or a random scrap of food.

In late stages, this redness can become completely infected, blackened, and loose from the tooth. This is already quite far gone and is a very painful experience for your pet. There may need to be teeth removed, and full-scale dental surgery performed to address this. The idea is to be aware of the signs far before this stage ever arises. Prevention is always the best solution when it comes to dental health.

Signs of Painful Eating, Other Pain

Although typically reserved for later stages of gum disease, observing signs of pain while eating is a red flag. If your typically gregarious eater is no longer as energetic while eating, is favoring (or avoiding) and area of the mouth, dropping unusual amounts of food, or whimpering/vocalizing while eating, there is a very good chance something is going on inside.

In later stages they may also avoid playing with favorite toys, may become more lethargic, seem disinterested in co-operative play time, and display a certain social unease. Your pet may also paw the mouth area while whimpering. Some, all, or even none of these can be present depending on the stage of dental disease, so keep an eye on the most common signs – red gums and bad breath – first.

The Professional Dental Cleaning

Let’s cut to the chase. If your pet has never been in for professional dental cleaning and is approaching the three years of age mark, there is a very high chance they are already experiencing early stages of dental disease. This is not something that you want to allow to progress if your pet’s quality of life is a priority for you. Dental disease is extremely painful and dangerous. In late stages, it can lead to organ failure and is life-threatening.

Professional dental cleaning is your best line of defense against gum disease in pets. If you have not yet been in for a full wellness visit, book an appointment today, and we can make sure your pet is taken care of.

Final Thoughts

‘What are the signs of poor dental health in my pet,’ you ask? Well, bad breath and red, swollen gums are your first telltale signs. Once the problem advances to later stages, observable signs of pain are a certain indicator. The good news is that none of these symptoms ever have to arise, to begin with. These issues can be avoided with a simple dental care routine that involves both professional and personal care. Reach out to us today, and we can make sure you have everything you need to give your pet the best oral care you can. Chat soon!