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How Do I Know If My Dog or Cat Has Dental Problems?

Just like humans, regular dental care is vital to the health of your pet.

September 3, 2020 4 min read
How Do I Know If My Dog or Cat Has Dental Problems?

If your pet is not eating as he usually does, it may be the first indication that he has decayed teeth. He may display some or most of these symptoms below, and if so, it is probably time to look into dental care for your pet. Just be careful when trying to open his mouth to check because if he has a painful, sensitive mouth, he may try to bite you. Look for these signs and symptoms to decide if it’s time to call the vet.

  • Bad Breath
  • Broken or Loose Teeth
  • Missing Teeth
  • Discoloration of teeth
  • Drooling, dropping food from the mouth
  • Abnormal chewing
  • Weight Loss
  • Reduced appetite, refusal to eat
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Sensitive, painful mouth
  • Swelling in or around the mouth
  • Behavior changes such as irritability

Simple Dental Care Alleviates Future Problems

Yearly dental care for pets includes cleaning, scaling, filing and polishing the teeth, extraction of a decayed tooth if needed, and adjustment.

Just like humans, regular dental care is vital to the health of your pet. A human who does not have regular dental checkups and cleanings can develop secondary health problems such as heart conditions. Did you know that not keeping up with your pet’s dental care can lead to similar health problems for your pet as well? Examples include gum disease, heart and kidney conditions or periodontal disease. Teeth in poor condition also put your pet at risk for severe and painful infections, tooth decay, and bad breath. 

Dental Care for your Pet Includes Shopping for Dental Products

There are pet dental products in the marketplace, such as dog dental chews, Dentisticks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and dental solution. While doggie dental chews and feline Greenies Dental Treats are safe for pets, and help with controlling tarter, they don’t remove excess plaque buildup. 

Stores also have specific toys and treats for sale to help reduce the bacteria in your pet's mouth. Additionally, you can add Oxygene and zinc acetate, or Oxyfresh Water Additive to your pet's 

Canine and feline toothpaste is not the same as a human toothpaste. This product, formulated explicitly as safe for pets, comes in flavors such as poultry and vanilla mint.

Home Remedy Dental Treatment

Other dental care home remedies for dogs and cats include wrapping your finger with a piece of wet gauze dipped in water and baking soda or dog toothpaste. Whether you do one area or the whole mouth, gently rub the gauze over the dog's teeth. It is OK to do one section at a time.

Cat owners can try this with a cat; however, a cat will not likely cooperate as most cats don’t like fingers in their mouths and are likely to bite in this situation.

Another solution you can use at home is mixing one part of hydrogen peroxide with one part aloe Vera juice.

Consider changing the dry food you buy for your dog or cat as well. There are excellent dry foods on the market that help to keep teeth clean. The following are examples:

  • Royal Canin Canine Dental Dry Food
  • Pro Plan Purina Veterinary Diets DH Dental Health Canine Formula,
  • Hills Healthy Advantage Oral, or Hills Healthy Advantage Oral diet

What Do Veterinarians Say About Dental Care for Pets?

Most vets recommend at least one yearly dental exam and cleaning under anesthesia. The vet can do a more thorough and deep cleaning of the teeth and under the gum line when your dog or cat is asleep. 

The vet may take some x-rays while your pet is asleep to look for signs of problems that may arise in the near future. To stay on top of these issues, vets recommend pet owners begin getting their furry friends’ comprehensive dental exams and cleanings at six months old.

While some pet owners have legitimate concerns about putting their pets, especially an older pet, under anesthesia for a dental cleaning and scaling, a veterinarian will likely do a routine blood panel that tells him if it’s safe to use anesthesia on your aged dog or cat. Talk with your veterinarian if you have any concerns. Dental anesthesia is usually safe and necessary for the pet to get the vital dental care they need. Call your veterinarian today and make an appointment for an extensive oral examination for your dog or cat.

Summary: Pet owners should know the importance of getting the proper professional dental care for their pets as well as learn about the home products that help keep teeth clean.

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