February Is Dental Health Month

Submitted by Veterinary Wellness Partners on Sat, 02/02/2019 - 7:30am

February is Dental Health Month

Common Signs of Dental Disease

February has been designated as dental health month for animals.  Dental health is often an easily neglected aspect of caring for our pets.  It is not until we smell their bad breath that we realize that there may be a problem.  This article will identify some of the common signs that dental disease may be occurring in an animal.

One of the first signs that you may notice in your pet is a change in eating pattern.  This may show up as not eating as fast as before.  It could also show up as picking up kibble and taking it to another room to eat.  It could also manifest as not wanting to eat all together.  If there is a sudden change in your pet's eating habits, it is probably time to check their teeth, or have them examined.  

Another sign of dental problems in animals is weight loss.  This is often due to the fact that your pet is either decreasing the amount of food that he/ she is eating or from loss of nutrient uptake.  When animals develop dental problems, they tend to decrease the time that they spend masticating (chewing).  The decreased amount of chewing keeps the food particles larger, which makes digestion harder.  If a pet is unable to chew well and experiences less efficient digestion, fewer nutrients are absorbed.

A third common sign of dental disease is a preference for soft food over kibble and hard food.  Most pets will prefer canned food at all times; but a sudden decrease in willingness to eat dry food, combined with a strong appetite for softened/ canned food is a strong indication that there could be trouble brewing in your pet's mouth.  One way to test your pet's mouth pain is to take the normal dry food and soak it in warm water.  If your pet eats this softened food a lot more readily than the same food in its dry form, there may be dental disease.

Perhaps the most common complaint from owners is a sudden increase in a soul odor to the breath.  This has a very strong, distinct odor.  Oftentimes, it is described as a rotten smell.  This is probably due to the likelihood that there is some stage of gingivitis.  The odor is also caused from the high levels of bacteria that have accumulated in the tartar and plaque build up.

An obvious sign of dental disease is bleeding from the mouth.  If you notice blood from your pet's mouth, it is likely that there is some form of dental disease.