With over 80% of pets aged 3 and older having some form of periodontal disease, it is the most common disease that afflicts household pets year after year. In severe cases, poor oral hygiene can affect your pet’s kidneys, liver, heart and brain. Be sure to watch for these signs that your pet might be one of them!
1. Bad Breath
“Dog breath” seems to imply that all dogs have bad breath. That actually should not be the case! While you shouldn’t expect your dog or cat’s breath to smell like roses, particularly foul smelling breath is an early sign of periodontal disease in pets.
2. Excessive Drooling
If your pet is drooling more than usual, it could be triggered by dental disease. A build-up of tartar will rub against your pet’s lips and the sides of their mouth, encouraging increased drooling.
3. Pawing at their Face
Just like you might instinctively touch your jaw if you have a tooth ache, pets will paw at their face and mouths if they are experiencing discomfort. A pet who frequently paws at their mouth is likely experiencing some sort of oral pain as a result of gingivitis or periodontitis.
4. Poor Appetite
Eating can be a painful experience for a pet with inflamed gums or sore teeth. As a result of the discomfort they experience while chewing, your pet might become reluctant to eat to avoid dealing with the pain and lose their appetite.
If you notice any of these signs in your pet, make an appointment with your veterinarian for a full dental exam. They will be able to professionally remove of plaque and identify any issues. The best defense against dental disease is a proactive approach to your pet’s oral health. Incorporate brushing their teeth and providing dental chews into your pet’s daily routine. Don’t forget to also schedule appointments with your pet’s veterinarian for an annual oral checkup.