Does my pet have a dental problem?

Dr. Chris Visser with veterinary dental patientMost pets with painful dental conditions do not show clinical signs that are obvious to the owner, but this does not mean that they are not feeling pain. They cannot tell you about the pain. In the wild, animals tend to hide signs of illness or weakness - dogs and cats posses this instinct.

Many painful dental conditions develop gradually, and are more common in middle-aged and older pets. As a result, behavior that the owner interprets as “acting grumpy” may be the result of dental pain. Owners often observe that their pet acts “years younger” following dental treatment.

Signs of oral and dental diseases in dogs and cats:

  • Bad breath.
  • Loose teeth or teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar.
  • Your pet shies away from you when you touch the mouth area.
  • Drooling or dropping food from the mouth.
  • Bleeding from the mouth.
  • Loss of appetite or loss of weight (this combination can result from diseases of many organs, and early veterinary examination is important).