For pet owners, pets are an important part of a family dynamic. In fact, surveys suggest that 9 out of every 10 pet owners think of their pet as a member of the family in the same way they think of children, spouses and siblings. This means that they will likely be very diligent about making sure their pets stay healthy and live long, happy lives. While you may think that this refers to medical care at a pet hospital, that is only a portion of how to keep your pet healthy. One of the other ways to make sure your pet is healthy is by prioritizing pet dental care. The benefit of pet dental care is that it can be a predictor for other types of illnesses or infections, making your overall pet wellness plan more successful.
Since animals cannot talk, however, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out when a pet needs dental attention. Here are a few ways of figuring out if you need to take your pet in for pet dental care:
- Your pet is not eating: While this may be a sign of something more serious, often times a pet will refuse to eat simply because they are having pain in their mouths. If you notice that your pet is refusing food or even attempting to eat but then stopping, this indicates a good time to take your pet in for a dental examination.
- Odd mouth behaviors: This might present itself as increased slobbering, drooling or strange jaw movements. As mentioned above, it may also result in different chewing, or favoring a certain side of the mouth. This also indicates tooth pain and suggests that pet dental care would be timely.
- Bleeding from the mouth or gums: This one is much more obvious because it provides an easily noticeable non-verbal cue that a pet needs dental attention. If you notice any bleeding or rawness in and around your pet’s mouth, you should take them to an animal hospital for a dental checkup.
- Halitosis: Halitosis, or bad breath, is another easy way to determine if your pet could benefit from a trip to the dentist. Noticeably bad breath indicates that there could be a build-up of bacteria or possibly some decay that needs attention.
- Discolored teeth: If you notice that your pet’s teeth seem yellowed or discolored, this is another sign that they may need some dental attention. Often times tartar build-up and bacteria can yellow the teeth, causing tooth decay or other issues.
- Loss of teeth: If your pet is losing adult teeth, especially before they are much older, it is an important cue to visit a dental specialist. Loss of teeth can point to poor gum health, decay or periodontal disease.
There many different signs that your pet might be in need of dental care. Remember to brush their teeth regularly and use this time to examine their mouths for any abnormalities. Also remember to be careful when examining a pet that is presenting signs of oral pain because pets who are uncomfortable, particularly dogs, may bite.