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Many dog owners are surprised to learn that their beloved pets are suffering from severe dental issues. It isn’t because they aren’t paying attention to the health of their dogs; rather, the dogs rarely show that they are experiencing dental pain.
If your dog:
- refuses to accept a treat
- is having trouble eating his food
- doesn’t want to play with his or her favorite toys
- is only eating with one side of his mouth
then there is a good chance that they are suffering from some dental problems. And you should certainly take them to the vet to be checked out.
Additionally, here are three very urgent signs you need to take your dog to a vet.
1. Foul breath
Dogs aren’t necessarily known for having the best breath, especially as they get older. However, especially foul breath (as in, if it smells like an open sewer) could be a sign of gum disease and an indicator that bacteria and plaque have mounted in their mouths.
There is a wide range of reasons why your dog can have bad breath, but the most common is periodontal disease.
Bad breath can be an indication of an urgent problem as gum disease places their teeth at risk of decay and is one of the major causes of tooth loss. Infections produced by gum disease can also cause complications of the heart, liver and kidneys, so it is imperative to have it looked at by a vet dentist.
2. Bleeding gums
Another clear warning sign that your dog is suffering from gum disease or some other form of infection is if his or her gums are bleeding. If you see swollen or bleeding gums, immediately take your dog to the vet as he or she probably is experiencing an immense amount of discomfort and pain in the teeth and jaw.
Only the vet will be able to correctly diagnose the root of the issue and prescribe a treatment, which could involve cleaning the teeth to eliminate plaque and bacteria. Your dog may also require having a tooth or teeth extracted.
3. Broken teeth
While there is no doubt that teeth — in both humans and animals — wear gradually, it happens a lot faster in dogs. (Although, you can slow this process down by not allowing them to munch on sticks and stones!)
As they have “crowns” on their teeth (the enamel on the top of the tooth that forms the biting or chewing surface), your dog’s teeth can stand some wear. However, if the enamel fades, then the delicate pulp cavity is revealed, producing not only pain but also easy access for mouth bacteria to move to the tip of the root and create an abscess.
While all of your dog’s teeth can break, it is very common for them to fracture their canine (fang) teeth and one of their premolars in the back of their mouth.
But, there is no sign of pain?
Unlike humans, dogs have evolved to be able to hide any oral discomfort. Even if an infection is destroying their bone, they are skilled in concealing their pain.
For this reason, you can’t solely rely on visual cues from your pet to alert you to a dental problem. Even these three outward signs are usually only visible when the issue has become quite severe.
If you think something might be wrong with your pet’s mouth or teeth, it is best not to delay getting it cared for. Immediately take them to a veterinary specialist offering outstanding pet dental services; otherwise, the issue will only become more severe.
Every dog deserves to have a healthy mouth without discomfort, infection and other conditions that negatively impact their quality of life. Make regular appointments at your vet to ensure that your dog can live a healthy and happy life for as long as possible.
Author Bio: Dr. Max Spicer is the Managing Partner and Senior Veterinary Surgeon at The Veterinary Hospital in Dubai. He has taken strides towards providing comprehensive service by hiring veterinarians that are flexible, approachable, and highly specialized in their respective fields.