By Adam Lee-Smith
Published: 02/16/2021, edited: 10/25/2022
It's just as important for pet parents to take care of their fur-baby's teeth as it is their own. While you may think a dog's teeth don't require the same care as a human's, you should regularly brush your barking buddy's gnashers and take them to see a vet immediately if they seem to be having dental issues. Dental issues in dogs can not only cause discomfort and pain, but may also lead to life-threatening problems down the road.
As February is National Pet Dental Health Month, now is the PERFECT time to check if Fido's pearly whites are shining bright! But how do you tell if your doggo needs a dentist appointment? Here are 5 tell-tale signs.
The number one sign that your woofer needs a trip to the dentist is bad breath. Now, your dog's breath may not smell great in general, but it's a myth that your dog's breath should smell bad. If your dog's breath smells something like a sewer or rotten eggs, it could be a sign of gingivitis or periodontal disease. Even if your dog's breath doesn't reek, any bad breath could be a sign of bacteria trapped in the gums.
If your woofer starts turning their snout up at their favorite food, it might be time for a dental appointment. A loss of appetite or change of eating habits is a clear sign something is wrong, and it could be linked with gum disease or toothache. Be especially watchful if your pup avoids hard foods, as this behavior is almost certainly related to a dental issue. Contact your vet or check their symptoms with a 24/7 online veterinarian through Wag!.
Some dog breeds drool more than others; however, if your Chihuahua starts drooling excessively out of the blue, it might be time to visit a vet. Excess drooling and pawing at the mouth can result from an abscess on your pupper's premolars or carnassial teeth. Your hound's vet will likely remove the affected tooth, drain the abscess, and give your dog antibiotics to clear up any infection.
Next time you're brushing Bella's chompers, look at their gums to ensure they aren't inflamed, red, or bleeding. Inflamed gums are a surefire sign that your dog needs a dental check-up. Fixing inflamed gums can be as straightforward as a professional cleaning but may require a tooth extraction.
One of the most obvious signs your mutt needs a dental appointment is if they have a loose or missing tooth. If your dog is young or getting older, you might think it's normal for your dog to lose teeth, but this isn't generally the case. Bacteria may have eaten away at the tooth, possibly caused by periodontal disease. If you ever find a tooth around your home, regardless of your dog's age, check with a vet.
There are lots of things pet parents can do to avoid unwanted trips to the doggy dentist. For example, you should brush your dog's teeth a minimum of three times a week, and ideally at least once a day. Use toothpaste formulated for dogs. You can even find toothbrushes designed especially for different breeds at many big-box pet stores.
You should also feed your dog high-quality pet food, which can help with dental hygiene. Many high-quality dry foods can help remove plaque from your dog's teeth and keep them healthy. If you're unsure about the best food or toothpaste for your dog, check with your vet.
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