Like their human companions, pets are susceptible to dental problems. Pet dental issues worsen and can cost serious money, time, and pain unless they get taken care of in a timely fashion. Below, review signs that indicate when it’s wise to seek immediate pet dental care services from your local veterinarian to keep your four-legged friend’s teeth and gums healthy.

How to Tell Your Pet Needs Dental Care Services

1. Bad Breath

Your pet shouldn’t have a strong foul breath. If they have persistent bad breath, bacteria have built up in their mouth from a lack of teeth cleaning. Rotten egg odors indicate gum disease. Rather than allowing mouth bacteria to continue working with food particles to form acids and plaque,tartar and calculus schedule pet dental care.

2. Calculus and Tartar Buildup

pet dental careAs bacteria accumulate in your pet’s mouth, it forms plaque that eventually hardens into tartar. Tartar has a light brown color.  If your pets teeth are not cleaned the tartar builds up more to form calculus.  The calculus is a visible thick brown build up like concrete.  If you notice yellow or brown tartar on your cat or dog’s teeth whenever they yawn or otherwise opens their mouth, don’t wait to schedule a dental cleaning and checkup. Excessive tartar build up leads to the calculus which irritates the gums and causes them to recede, resulting in loose teeth and infection.  Although dogs and cats do not get cavities they do develop gingivitis and periodontal disease from calculus. 

3. Bleeding Gums

Since tartar and calculus irritate and inflame the gums, the tissue can  bleed. You may see blood on your pet’s chew toys or in their bowls, or realize your pet is experiencing chewing difficulties or abstaining from food. Pain from sensitive gums can also cause your pet to paw at their mouth or pull away when you rub under their chin. Some dogs and cats decrease eating their hard food because their teeth and gums hurt.  Then they want more soft canned food because of pain when chewing hard food.

4. Loose, Broken, or Stained Teeth

Severe discoloration provides another sign of tartar buildup you can’t ignore. While loosened or broken teeth can occur from injuries, such as rough play with other animals, they also signal gum disease. As gum tissue recedes, teeth loosen because they no longer have anchors keeping them in place. The underlying jawbone will deteriorate as bacteria spreads without veterinary care. We are not only concerned about the mouth as the infection from the teeth and gums can spread to major organs causing infection and disease in the heart, kidneys, liver and lungs.  It is much easier and less expensive to treat dental disease than infection of major organs.  Just as humans need regular professional dental cleanings our pets do also. 

Don’t wait to schedule pet dental care services if your four-legged friend experiences these or any other oral health issues. Contact Cherry Hill Dog & Cat Hospital to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy. Led by Dr. Douglas Foreman and Dr. Roberta Mauro, this animal clinic provides a full suite of services for pets in Elkton, MD. Call (410) 398-1331 to make an appointment or visit them online for more about pet dental care.