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How to Tell if Your Pet’s Teeth Need Cleaning

Did you know your pet is five times more likely to have periodontal disease (also called gum disease), than you are?

How to Tell if Your Pet’s Teeth Need Cleaning

Did you know your pet is five times more likely to have periodontal disease (also called gum disease), than you are?

Over 80% of dogs over 3 years of age have periodontal disease.

How to Tell if Your Pet’s Teeth Need Cleaning

Periodontal disease can be painful and has been shown to contribute to the development of other disease problems internally. The gums have a rich blood supply and as infection in the gums enters the bloodstream, it spreads throughout the body, and infections of the kidneys, liver and heart can occur. These problems may take years to develop, and maintaining proper dental health can delay or prevent their onset.

Animals can be in great pain from periodontal disease but will not necessarily show it. Our pets have evolved to hide chronic pain as their base instincts push them to never show a sign of weakness.

How to Tell if Your Pet’s Teeth Need Cleaning
Toothache in the dog

Even with bleeding gums or abscessed teeth your dog or cat may continue to eat normally. That’s why it is critical for you to keep a close watch on their oral health and be consistent about prevention.

  1. Sniff test – bad breath is the most obvious sign that something is amiss in the mouth.
  2. Examine ALL the teeth – pull up the lips toward the ears so you can see the back teeth better rather than trying to pry their mouth open.
  3. Teeth should be white and smooth. Brown discoloration and or a gritty coating means a cleaning is in order.
  4. Any teeth that are broken or cracked need to be seen by a veterinarian.
  5. Gum tissue should be pink and form a smooth line at the base of the teeth. If gums are red or inflamed, or if you notice any blood or puss at the base of the tooth – call and make an appointment right away.

Very unhealthy teeth will need extraction – they will not get better on their own. Proper dental care can add years to your pets life.

How to Tell if Your Pet’s Teeth Need Cleaning

Other possible signs of gum disease or tooth decay:

  • Unwillingness to eat
  • Avoiding hard food or treats
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the face
  • Blood on toys

Very unhealthy teeth will need extraction – they will not get better on their own. When your veterinarian urges a teeth cleaning, it is wise to listen. Proper dental care can add years to your pets life.

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