Vet Blog

What Are the Symptoms of Dental Disease in My Pet?

February 14, 2019

Pet dental disease is a term that refers to the condition of periodontal disease.

Many pet dentists in Richmond, VA interchange both names, but they both refer to a progressive inflammatory condition that could have serious consequences for your pet.

Dental disease occurs in several stages. During the first, an accumulation of plaque and tartar on the teeth can begin to irritate your pet's gums. Then infection can set into the soft tissue of the gums, triggering worsening symptoms until eventually, the gums may recede, and your pet's teeth may come loose or fall out. The bone in the jaw may also deteriorate. At this point, the infection may have spread from the gums into the bloodstream and traveled around the body, depositing bacteria into her major organs. This can cause major health problems to develop. Pets with severe dental disease are considered to be at high risk of being diagnosed with diabetes, heart problems, kidney and liver disorders, and even cancer.

Symptoms of Dental Disease in Pets

It is easy to overlook the signs of dental disease as pets are naturally inclined to try and mask any vulnerabilities that are affecting them. The earliest symptoms of the condition also tend to be very subtle, making them even harder to spot. However, there are things that you can look out for that would indicate that your pet may be suffering from dental disease and requires veterinary intervention. These include:

  • Loss of interest in food
  • Loss of interest in chew toys
  • Producing excess saliva
  • Pawing or rubbing at her mouth
  • Dropping food when trying to eat
  • Noticing blood in her food or water bowels caused by her gums bleeding
  • Gums that seem very red and inflamed
  • Bad breath
  • Teeth that look yellow or brown
  • Obvious pain when using her mouth or when you try and look at or clean her teeth

If you notice any of the symptoms above, it is recommended that you arrange an appointment with your pet dentistry team or veterinarian in Richmond, VA as soon as possible. The earlier treatment is sought, the more likely you are to be able to avoid irreversible damage to her teeth and overall health.

Can Pet Dental Disease Be Prevented?

Although there is no guarantee that your pet won't develop the dental disease at some point during her lifetime, by paying close attention to taking care of her teeth, you can reduce the likelihood of it occurring. The most effective way of doing this is to brush her teeth on a daily basis. This isn't as difficult as it sounds, and your pet dentistry team will be delighted to explain the technique and give you a demonstration as to the best way to tackle the brushing process. Bear in mind that human toothpaste is toxic to animals and so you will need to invest in pet toothpaste. However, it is fine to use a small, round-headed human toothbrush with soft bristles to do the actual brushing.

You can also ensure you give your pet plenty of chew toys. Chewing causes her body to produce saliva which helps to neutralize plaque acids and wash away debris from the teeth. Dental chews also contain an ingredient that promotes healthy teeth.

If you are concerned that your pet may be suffering from dental disease, prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential. Please contact our pet dentistry team at our animal clinic in Richmond, VA today at (804) 288-7387 to schedule a consultation for your beloved furbaby.