There is nothing better than curling up with your beloved pet after a long, hard day and enjoying a good snuggle. But, when you lean in close and your dog reaches out to plant a sloppy kiss on your cheek, do you recoil in disgust? What is that terrible odor? Could your dog have eaten something dead to have such an atrocious stench in her mouth, despite her regular toothbrushing every eight weeks? 

When the odor has not faded after several days, and you cannot bear the smell any longer, you schedule an appointment to see our Dr. Humphrey, who examines your pooch and shows you the cause of the odor—an abscessed tooth. Eager to remove the source of infection and odor from your furry friend so you can enjoy her cuddles again, you schedule a comprehensive dental cleaning and treatment, and only a couple of days after the procedure, your pet is feeling well, eating great, and delivering fresh kisses.  

What are dental disease signs in pets?

Although many pet owners consider doggy breath a normal trait, bad breath is often one of the first signs of underlying periodontal disease, and should not be ignored. As well as bad breath, keep an eye out for the following signs that your pet may be suffering from dental disease:

  • Red or irritated gums
  • A buildup of plaque or tartar that appears as a yellow or brown layer on the teeth
  • Decreased appetite
  • Pawing at the face
  • Excessive salivation, which may be tinged pink
  • Reluctance to have her head touched
  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Chewing on one side of the mouth
  • Lumps or bumps on the muzzle beneath the eyes
  • Sneezing or nasal discharge

At the first sign of dental disease, schedule an appointment at our hospital to return your pet’s oral health to tip-top shape. 

How our hospital keeps your pet’s teeth healthy

Our team understands the importance of good dental health, and how it contributes to your pet’s overall health and well-being. We offer the following dental care services to help keep your pet in the best possible health:

  • Dental cleanings — Professional cleanings are vital for maintaining your pet’s healthy mouth, as up to 85% of all pets have some level of dental disease by age 3. Despite a proper home-care regimen, your pet’s teeth can still accumulate plaque and tartar, leading to gingivitis and infection. Cats are prone to developing feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions, in which the body mounts an immune response against tooth enamel, attacking the teeth and creating excruciatingly painful enamel lesions. A thorough dental cleaning removes destructive tartar, preventing future infections, abscesses, and systemic disease.
  • Dental X-rays — X-rays offer the most complete picture of your pet’s oral health. Up to 60% of each tooth is hidden beneath the gumline, making X-rays necessary for finding signs of dental diseases, such as tooth-root abscesses, bone loss, fractured teeth, and retained teeth and roots, and then developing a treatment plan to return your pet to health.
  • Tooth extractions — Teeth occasionally can be a source of pain and infection and need to be removed. If your pet needs an extraction, we ensure she feels no discomfort with our multi-modal protocols designed to alleviate pain. Your pet will quickly feel better once the cause of her oral pain is gone and the extraction site has healed. 

How you can keep your pet’s teeth healthy at home

Once your pet has a clean dental slate, keep her mouth in tip-top shape with at-home prevention. The following methods can help you preserve your pet’s dental health at home, which will in turn reduce the frequency of dental cleanings and eliminate the need for extractions, while keeping your furry pet’s mouth fresh and clean:

  • Toothbrushing
  • Dental prescription diets
  • Chews
  • Treats
  • Water additives
  • Food additives
  • Oral gels and wipes

Choose Veterinary Oral Health Council-approved dental products, which have been proven to reduce the accumulation of plaque and tartar in pets. 

Unsure about the health status of your pet’s mouth? Schedule an appointment for a thorough oral exam, and we can recommend the dental care your furry friend needs.