Pets use body language and other cues to let their owners know how they are feeling. While certain actions, such as a vigorously wagging tail signaling that a dog is quite happy, are easy to read, it’s not always so easy to determine how a pet is feeling.
Pet parents who are trying to provide the best care possible recognize that pets may make them aware of certain health issues. Diseases of the mouth may cause issues elsewhere in the body if left untreated. Fortunately for pet owners, dental issues are often easily recognized.
Bad breath is a strong indicator of a dental problem. Halitosis may stem from tooth decay and gum issues, as well as gastrointestinal problems. In either case, it’s best to address a pet’s bad breath with a veterinarian.
2. Visible problems
Take a peek inside of the pet’s mouth. Animal Wellness magazine says that if there’s a significant accumulation of tartar (yellow or brown patches on the tops of teeth along the gum line), or if the gums are inflamed and red, periodontal disease may be to blame. Traces of blood in the mouth also can indicate that there is a problem. Pets don’t always like their mouths touched, so if your pet is being difficult, have a vet conduct a comprehensive oral health and treatment appointment (COHAT).
3. Refusing to eat
There are many reasons a pet may not want to eat, and a dental problem may be one of them. Painful teeth and gums can make eating challenging, so the animal may avoid food. Refusing to eat can lead to weight loss and malnutrition, so it’s best to nip this issue in the bud.
4. Sensitive mouth
Your pet may yelp, bite or scratch if you touch around the mouth area when there is a dental problem at play. Drooling excessively or dropping food from the mouth also are signs that things are awry.
5. Less grooming
Cats spend around 10 to 15 percent of their days grooming. Dental pain can make grooming challenging. Therefore, if your cat is grooming less or looks unkempt, it may be due to dental problems. Great Vet says 85 percent of cats over the age of three have some form of dental disease.
Rodents’ incisors (front, gnawing teeth) grow continuously throughout their lives. Typically the incisors receive continuous wear as the upper and lower incisors contact each other. However, if incisors are misaligned, they may not wear down effectively. Some incisors can grow out of control, piercing the roof of the mouth and into the nasal cavity. If a rodent’s teeth look long, that could warrant a vet check.
Pets can experience periodontal disease and other dental conditions. Staying aware of signs of dental issues can keep pets healthy.
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