8 Signs Your Pet May Need Dental Care

Taking care of your pet is a big responsibility, and part of that is keeping an eye on their dental health. Just like humans, pets can experience dental problems that, if not treated, can lead to more serious conditions that leave lasting effects. This blog will walk you through the signs that may indicate your pet needs dental care. At Providence Veterinary Hospital and Clinic in Alameda, California, we’re equipped to help your pet stay healthy and happy. If you see any of these signs, please call us at (510) 521-6608 or (510) 521-5775 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

signs your pet may need dental care in alameda, ca

1. Bad Breath

It’s not unusual for pets to have breath that’s a bit off-putting, but it isn’t a sign of good health. And if you’re greeted by an especially foul odor from your pet’s mouth, they should see their vet as soon as possible! Bad breath is often the first sign of dental disease. It indicates the presence of bacteria and plaque, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. If you see your vet for regular dental checkups for your pet, they can help you catch these (and other) issues early and keep your pet’s mouth healthy.

2. Difficulty Eating

If your pet seems to have lost their appetite or is having trouble eating, it could be due to dental pain. You might notice them being picky with their food, taking longer to eat, dropping food while eating, or showing a preference for softer foods. This change in eating habits is a clear signal that your pet could be suffering from a dental issue that makes chewing painful.

3. Visible Tartar or Plaque

A peek inside your pet’s mouth could reveal the buildup of plaque or tartar, especially along the gum line. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria on the teeth, can harden into tartar if it isn’t removed in time. This tartar can cause gum irritation and lead to periodontal disease. A professional dental cleaning can remove these buildups and prevent further dental problems.

4. Swollen or Bleeding Gums

Healthy gums are vital for good dental health. If you notice that your pet’s gums are swollen, red, or bleeding, this is a strong indicator of gum disease. Inflammation of the gums, or gingivitis, can lead to more serious conditions like periodontitis, which can affect the bones and tissues supporting the teeth. Early detection and treatment can help your pet avoid these problems.

5. Loose or Missing Teeth

Over time, dental disease can lead to loose or even missing teeth. This is more common in older pets but can happen at any age if dental issues are not addressed. Loose teeth can cause pain and make eating difficult, leading to nutritional problems and weight loss. Regular dental care can help preserve your pet’s teeth and keep their mouth healthy.

6. Pawing at the Mouth or Face

If your pet is frequently pawing at their mouth or rubbing their face against surfaces, it’s likely a sign they’re trying to relieve discomfort or pain in their mouth. This behavior is a clear indication that something is not right, and a dental checkup is in order. 

7. Drooling More Than Usual

While some pets naturally drool more than others, a sudden increase in drooling can be a sign of dental problems. This is especially true if the drool is tinged with blood or if there’s an odor associated with it. Excessive drooling can indicate dental pain or an infection that needs immediate attention.

8. Changes in Behavior

Changes in your pet’s behavior can be a subtle sign of dental discomfort. If your pet is suddenly less interested in playing, is more irritable, or seems to be sleeping more than usual, dental pain could be the cause. Pets often hide pain, so these behavioral changes can be an important indicator that something is wrong.

Talk to Our Veterinary Team About Your Pet’s Dental Needs

Noticing any of these signs in your pet is a cue to take action. Dental problems can significantly impact your pet’s health and quality of life. At Providence Veterinary Hospital and Clinic, we understand how important your pet’s health is to you. We’re here to provide the dental care your pet needs to stay healthy and happy. Call us today at (510) 521-6608 or (510) 521-5775 to schedule an appointment or to find out more about our dental services. 

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Providence Veterinary Hospital & Clinic serve Alameda, CA as well as Oakland, San Leandro, and the surrounding areas with superb veterinary medicine and gentle, compassionate care. We’ve been a part of this community since 1947 when a veterinarian started seeing pets in his home after the end of World War II. He built an animal hospital right under his house, and that’s where we remain to this day (with modern remodeling in 2016, to outfit the hospital with the latest medical technology and equipment, of course!).

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